How to Stop Making Excuses for Your Weight

Three Parts:Preparing Mentally to Lose WeightEstablishing an Excuse-Free Weight Loss RoutineMaintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

You should never have to apologize for your body. You have inherent worth and value as a person regardless of your weight. If you are beginning your weight loss plan with a sense of shame or fear, it is likely that you will regain any weight you might lose. Weight loss is a mental mission as much as it is a physical regimen; preparing for the psychological journey of losing weight will help set you up for long term success and self-acceptance.

Part 1
Preparing Mentally to Lose Weight

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    Keep a weight loss journal. Research has shown that people attempting to lose weight do so with more long-term success when they record their actions in a journal. It allows them to have a sense of accountability and control over their bodies.[1]
    • You can write in your journal before you take any physical steps to lose weight. Why do you want to lose weight? How will you combat defeatist thinking when things become difficult? How will you avoid making excuses?
    • Record what meals and snacks you have and at what times of the day you have them. This will help you see what kind of eating patterns you maintain on a daily basis. Did you try a new recipe that you really enjoyed? Did you find a healthy snack that you can bring with you to work? Take note of it here.
    • Make note of any exercise that you perform during the day. Be specific. If you went to the gym, note which machines you used (such as the rowing machine or the elliptical) and how long you used them for.
    • Discuss your fears, anxieties and celebrations in the journal, too. Be honest with yourself about the struggles you might face as you lose weight.
    • Make it a part of your nighttime ritual. You should block a regular time in the evening to think back on your day and enter this information into your journal.
    • Don't police yourself. The journal should just be a log of your daily life -- there is no wrong or right way to fill it out. Don't feel ashamed if you had pizza on Friday night. Record everything honestly and without shame.
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    Set small, achievable goals. Perhaps your overall goal is to lose 50 pounds or to get into a certain jeans size. But having large or unrealistic goals can often derail your broader efforts. Instead, focus on small, easily achievable goals to start your weight loss plan.[2]
    • If you set a very small goal, such as eating a side salad with your lunch, it can be harder to make an excuse to get out of it than if you set a large, unrealistic goal, like only eating salad for lunch all week.
    • For example, if you drink soda on a regular basis, try to eliminate it from your diet three days a week. If you gradually wean yourself off of it, you will have more success than if you attempt to quit it outright.[3]
    • If you are new to exercise, try to gradually move more each day. You can plan to walk around the block after getting home from work or simply take the stairs at your office instead of using the elevator.
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    Be kind to yourself. Weight is often not just a physical issue as it is frequently tied to feelings of shame, guilt, and a low sense of self-esteem. If these emotions characterize your thinking about weight loss, you might want to undergo cognitive behavioral therapy while you are adjusting your eating and exercise habits.[4]
    • Make positive, daily affirmations about yourself and your appearance. Look in the mirror everyday and say at least one thing you like about your appearance. You need to find peace with your body just as it is right now before you have lost a single pound.
    • Stop making negative comments about your weight to others. You should especially avoid doing this in front of your children as this can negatively impact their own sense of self-esteem and possibly lead to the development of an eating disorder.[5]
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    Talk to your doctor. If you plan to undergo a sustained diet or exercise routine, you should always consult with your doctor about this first. There might also be a chance that your reasons for weight gain are tied to other medical conditions. Some of these might include:
    • Underactive thyroid: An underactive thyroid means that your body may not produce enough thyroid hormone to effectively burn stored fat.
    • Hormonal changes: Different stages in life may produce a shift in hormones, which can lead to weight gain. Examples include menopause, pregnancy and puberty. In some cases, a course of Hormone Replacement Therapy might be prescribed in order to ease the patient's symptoms.[6]
    • Chronic stress: If you're in a constant state of stress and anxiety, your body may produce a chemical called cortisol. In these cases, your doctor might recommend methods for lowering your cortisol production in addition to a nutrition and exercise plan.[7]
    • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): More than 5 million women in the U.S. suffer from PCOS, which is a result of a hormonal imbalance.[8] Symptoms include irregular menstrual bleeding, acne, weight gain and difficulty getting pregnant. Your doctor might prescribe a course of oral contraceptives or Metformin to control your symptoms.
    • Cushing's syndrome: People who have Cushing’s syndrome have adrenal glands that produce too much cortisol, which causes your body to store excess fat.
    • Other conditions: Your doctor may identify other relevant medical conditions that are contributing to your weight gain.

Part 2
Establishing an Excuse-Free Weight Loss Routine

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    Identify the source of your excuses. If this is not the first time you have attempted to lose weight, ask yourself why you have struggled and made excuses in the past. Have you become easily overwhelmed with all the changes you have to make? Have you struggled to find an exercise routine you enjoy?
    • Recognizing that you make excuses is the first step to not getting defeated by them again.
    • Any time you find yourself making an excuse to avoid exercising or eating healthy, record it in your weight loss journal. That way, you will know your typical pitfalls and how to avoid them.
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    Budget time for success. One of the most common excuses for failure in weight loss is lack of time. Between juggling the demands of work and home life, we can all easily turn to unhealthy foods that are fast and convenient as opposed to making healthy meals at home. Here are some tips for budgeting your time so you can stop making excuses:
    • Set a meal plan for the week. On Saturday or Sunday, establish a meal plan for the following week. Go to the grocery store and buy all the ingredients you might need for the coming week. You can even prepare some of the ingredients for these meals ahead of time, freeze them, and then reheat them on the day you plan to eat them.
    • Invest in a slow cooker. By preparing your dinner in your slow cooker in the morning, you are far less likely to stop by a fast food restaurant as your schedule gets more hectic in the day.
    • Make time for exercise. It might seem like there is no time in the day available to exercise. But you have to make time for it in order to lose weight. Get up half an hour earlier to take a walk around the neighborhood or use your lunch break to walk around your office complex.
    • If you belong to a gym, always pack your gym bag the night before you plan to go and leave it by your front door so you won't forget to take it. The unpacked or forgotten gym bag is a common excuse for not exercising.
    • Joining a group exercise activity -- like a class at your gym or meeting a walking buddy -- will often help keep you accountable to maintaining a regular exercise schedule.
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    Gradually reduce your calorie intake. Weight gain occurs when the body consumes more calories than it can burn off. Reducing the number of calories you can consume is a key step in achieving weight loss.[9]
    • You might be worried you will feel deprived if you consume fewer calories. But feeling full comes from the amount of food you eat rather than the number of calories in each serving. You can often keep the same kinds of dishes you normally eat, just alter the amount of calorie-laden ingredients in them. As the CDC suggests, you can make your favorite macaroni and cheese with non-fat milk and cream cheese rather than whole milk and a half-block of cheddar cheese).[10]
    • Make small changes. If you normally have a bowl of ice cream after dinner, try to eliminate it from your diet twice a week as opposed to completely cutting it out of your diet altogether. You will gradually stop viewing ice cream as a regular or necessary part of your routine.
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    Maintain a healthy diet. Do not eliminate entire food groups from your diet as you try to lose weight. Many popular diets require you to dramatically reduce or eliminate entire food groups from your diet, such as carbohydrates or fats. But research has shown that these dramatic diets do not offer long term success and they can even have a harmful impact on your endocrine system.[11].
    • Instead, maintain a healthy diet composed mostly of lean proteins (like chicken, pork, and fish), whole grains (like brown rice and whole wheat bread as opposed to white bread and pasta), vegetables rich in vitamins and antioxidants like spinach and broccoli, fruits such as berries and applies, and broth-based soups (as opposed to cream based soups).[12]
    • You do not have to entirely eliminate so-called "bad" foods from your diet. If you have a night where you stop by a fast food restaurant or order a pizza, that is not the end of the world. Just make sure you only eat like this rarely and less often than you eat more healthy foods.
    • Try not to obsess over your food. Fanatically counting calories is not sustainable and it could lead to an eating disorder.
    • If you are in a rut or don't know how to make healthier meals, look around the internet for popular food blogs for inspiration. Try making something new. If you think of cooking as a fun new subject you are learning as opposed to an exercise in deprivation, you are far less likely to make excuses for unhealthy eating.
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    Find exercises that you enjoy. If you generally dread the idea of working out, you should try a wide variety of activities so you can find something you do love. If you hate to run, then try swimming in a local public pool. If you despise being confined to a treadmill, then try take a hike outdoors in a nearby state park.[13]
    • There are many excellent workout DVDs and videos on YouTube you can also complete from the comfort of your own home. You can find ones that feature cardio exercise, yoga, pilates, strength training, etc.
    • If you prefer to complete quiet, meditative forms of exercise, then yoga or ballet classes might be a good alternative for you. You can often find these offered at your local gym, community center, church, or in a nearby park.
    • Exercise offers a diverse range of benefits for patients in addition to weight loss, such as reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes, increasing your bone and muscle strength, and helping prevent harmful falls as you age.[14]
    • Exercise has been shown to ease depression and anxiety because as it releases endorphins in the body.
    • Most healthcare professionals recommend 75 minutes of vigorous activity or 150 minutes of moderate activity each week in order to maintain a healthy weight. Results will vary for each individual, though. If you are just starting to exercise, aim for 30 minutes of activity 3-4 times a week. Try to build up to 50 minutes of exercise 5-6 times a week for significant weight loss.[15]
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    Do not weigh yourself on a daily basis. While you might become very interested in your progress as a you lose weight, weighing yourself every day has not been shown to be an effective self-motivator in the long term. You might also quickly become discouraged if you do not see a number you like on the scale.[16]
    • Instead, measure your success by how you feel and what you can achieve. Are you able to walk for an hour whereas a 20 minute walk previously left you winded? Are your clothes more comfortable? Do you feel happier after you work out? Are you able to sleep better?
    • While you may want to weigh yourself every couple weeks to keep a general sense of your progress, do not be discouraged if you do not see dramatic results in a few weeks or even a few months. Losing weight requires sustained changes as you make execs and healthy eating a regular habit. You should budget six months to a year if you have a particular weight loss goal in mind.[17]

Part 3
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

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    Establish a self-care routine. As you lose weight, be sure not to abandon your healthy habits. Instead, start to think of exercise and healthy eating as long term investments in your health and well being.
    • Take pride in your weight loss, whether you have lost just one pound or 100. The benefits of healthy eating and exercise will help reduce your general levels of stress and anxiety in your hectic life.[18]
    • Indulge in physical pleasures in addition to weight loss. You might consider an outing to a spa, a facial or massage, or buying a new pair of shoes you have been eyeing.
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    Stretch your physical goals. If you enjoy jogging, consider signing up for a 5K or 10K race and training for it. Similarly, if you enjoy biking or rowing, consider joining an intramural team and training for an upcoming event.
    • Establishing new goals can help prevent you from hitting a plateau in your fitness and keep you from becoming bored with your exercise routine.[19]
    • If you are focused on achieving a certain physical goal -- like running an 8 minute mile or adding extra laps onto your normal swimming routine -- then you will become more focused on what your body can accomplish physically than whether or not you weigh a certain amount.
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    Maintain a healthy sleeping schedule. Exercise will often help you get a better sleep, but you should still aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night. When your body is rested, it will be better equipped to burn more calories and maintain your weight loss. You will also be more likely to make healthy eating choices when you have had a good night's sleep.[20]
    • Consider reducing your alcohol and caffeine intake as these are common sleep disruptors.
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    Surround yourself with positive supporters. Weight is an emotionally complex issue for most people. If you have family members or friends who are also overweight, they might not know how to approach your own plans to lose weight or your successes.
    • If anyone is negating your success or doubting your ability to lose weight, then you should not feel compelled to discuss your weight loss goals with them. This person is most likely a toxic force in your life and you should feel free to ignore them.


  • Avoid turning to over-the-counter medications for weight loss unless prescribed by a physician. The only method that has been medically approved for losing weight (aside from bariatric surgery) is to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.

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