Healthy Diet Excuses and Solutions

by in Ask the Experts, Diets & Weight Loss, January 17, 2012
feet on scale
Do you need help keeping your new year's resolution?

If your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, it’s time to prepare yourself. Once times get tough, the excuses start coming. We asked top nutrition experts from around the country some of the most popular or outlandish excuses they’ve heard over the years. Do any of them sound familiar?

Excuse #1: “I end up eating my kid’s sweet snacks.”
D. Milton Stokes, MPH RD CDN, a Connecticut-based dietitian in private practice says “This is truly outlandish because the child doesn’t have to have those snacks (not that the snacks are forbidden, but unhealthy snacks aren’t manditory), but the parent seems to be using the child as a vehicle for dietary sabotage.”

Solution: Be mindful of the snacks coming into your home. Choose sweet snacks sparingly or for special occasions.

Excuse #2: “As I get older, weight gain is unavoidable.”
Creator of the F-Factor diet, Tanya Zuckerbrot MS RD says “People tend to gain weight as they get older, but weight gain is not inevitable. The best way to keep weight off through the years is to preserve and builds lean muscle. We lose about 5 percent of our muscle mass every 10 years after the age of 35.  That means that we naturally burn fewer calories unless we replace or increase our lean muscle mass.”

Solution: Tanya suggests combining strength training (like a simple dumbbell home routine) with balanced diet rich in high fiber carbohydrates and lean proteins.

Excuse #3: “I can’t eat beans or veggies because of the gas.”
Tracy Wilczek, MS RD LD dietitian at the Pritkin Longevity Center in Miami, Florida explained how a client did not want to eat more beans or vegetables because he didn’t want to deal with the gas. He said he had to be around people all day and couldn’t be excusing himself every few minutes.

Solution: Two thumbs up for Tracy’s response: “Well, I’m around people all day long, and no one seems to mind.” If things get really noxious there’s also Beano, a tablet that contains enzymes that help prevent gas and bloating.

Excuse #4: “I skip meals to “save” calories for later.”
Sarah Shanahan MS, RD, Nutrition Manager at LA PALESTRA Center for Preventative Medicine in New York City says “I often work with clients who want to lose weight but don’t eat regular meals and snacks during the day because they want to save calories for evening commitments that they feel require (or will involve) excessive caloric intake from food and alcohol.  These clients are often not willing, or genuinely feel like they can’t, make the lifestyle changes that will allow them to eat smaller evening meals.

Solution: Sarah explains to her clients that they should “Start fueling for your day in the morning, when you need the energy.  I work with my clients to begin their day with a solid breakfast and then to continue to eat at regular intervals during the day to keep hunger levels in check and blood glucose levels steady. When you feel more satisfied and satiated during the day, you will be more confident and comfortable making wholesome choices in the evening hours, no matter what the occasion may be.

Excuse #5: “I can’t give up my cravings.”
Lisa Eaton Wright MS RD LDN, dietitian for a Chicago urological practice and spokesperson for the Illinois Dietetic Association tells this eye-opening story:

“A gentleman came to me determined to lose weight.  He had already started watching what he was eating, but he just couldn’t seem to lose weight.

I asked him to journal his intake and bring it with him.  As he told me about his disciplined eating habits over the past couple of weeks, I thumbed through his food diary.  Every day for 7 straight days he ate cookies — Chips Ahoy! 6 to 7 of them at a time.

I mentioned the cookies after I had circled them all with my pen.  And he said he couldn’t give them up because he craved them. Then he continues to explain that they only have “like 2 calories”.  After Googling the calories of the cookies, they found the following:

  • 3 cookies = 160 calories.
  • If he eats 6, that’s 320 calories X 7 days = 2240 calories.
  • If he eats 7, that’s about 370 calories x 7 days = 2590 calories.

The client was shocked.  And he quickly agreed to limit his cookie fix to 2 days a week. He had lost 6 pounds when I saw him a couple weeks later.”

Solution: Read food labels carefully. Feeding your cravings are okay, as long as you do so in moderation.

TELL US: Can you relate to any of these excuses?

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