“The relationship I form with my clients tends to be much more revealing than the relationship a client forms with their personal trainer,” says Nutritionist Elita Massaroti. “My role is to advise you on what you need to do once you leave our session, so I become very familiar with your day-to-day life… and unfortunately, sometimes this involves listening to a long list of excuses for not eating well and not exercising!”
Elita’s not afraid to dish up a dose of tough love to anyone resisting positive change by hiding behind a barrage of excuses. We asked her for the most common excuses she hears – and what you can do to overcome them.
1. I can’t go for a run, it’s raining
We agree; running in the rain isn’t all it’s cracked up to be in the movies. (Except if it’s tropical rain – bring on that refreshing spray!) But that doesn’t mean you can’t bust out a body-weight circuit on your living room floor.
What’s that you say? You don’t like circuit training? “I don’t like washing dishes, but I do it anyway. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t like for the greater good,” Elita says.
2. I can’t work out, my child is sick
Ditto above. “Yes, you can’t leave the house if your 3-year old is running a soaring temperature, but you can use your child’s bedroom floor to do a few sit-ups and push-ups,” she says.
3. I can’t eat all the food on the meal plan – there is too much!
“If this is your excuse, you need to be really honest with yourself and look at the habits that have contributed to your weight gain in the first place. I know lots of women who don’t eat during the day, and then gorge on chocolate at night. This is not going to get you results. If you stick to Fernwood’s kilojoule controlled meal plans, and eat as much as you can, you will get results – it’s as simple as that. It’s those added extras – those glasses of wine at night, that secret chocolate bar – that really undermine your weight loss efforts,” Elita says.
4. It’s too hard when the kids have chips and biscuits in the house
This one really gets Elita’s temper flaring. “You shouldn’t be buying chips and biscuits for your kids! You’re just setting them up for a lifetime of bad habits!” Instead, she suggests having plenty of healthy and nutritious snacks on hand: fruit, nuts, cherry tomatoes, rice cakes with cheese and vegemite, homemade pita crisps, freshly-popped natural popcorn, pre-chopped veggies sticks with dips, and natural yoghurt sweetened with fresh berries for desserts.
5. I have to go out for dinner
A meal at a restaurant isn’t an excuse to indulge – there are always plenty of healthy options to choose from – even at Italian and French eateries! (Grilled meats and side salads sans the creamy dressings are our favourite go-to options.
“If you get to choose the cuisine, go for a Japanese or Vietnamese restaurant, where you can choose a light pho or sashimi platter,” Elita says. She also advises looking up the menu online first and choosing what you’ll order before you step foot inside the restaurant and allow temptation to get the better of you.
6. There were no healthy food choices when I was out
If you’re attending a function at a southern American-style diner – we totally sympathise. Yes, it can be almost impossible to find something that’s not covered in a high-fat sauce or fried within an inch of its life. This is when you need to exercise portion control.
“Have the burger – skip the chips. Eat only half of what’s on your plate. Stop before you’re full,” Elita advises.
7. But I don’t like [insert food / exercise]
Really? We’re STILL going there? There are always other options!
8. I don’t have time
The busiest people still have time to exercise and prep healthy food. You may think you have no time, but you actually do. “Exercise can simply mean moving your body more. Simple things like switching the TV off and taking your kids to the park to play, waking up 30 minutes earlier to go for a refreshing morning power walk, or taking 5 minutes before your morning shower to run up and down the stairs,” You can fit these things into your day – get creative.
9. I can’t get to the gym today
“It’s raining.” “My car is being serviced so I can’t get to the gym.” “My gym pants are in the washing machine.” Etcetera, etcetera. “There is always something that makes it difficult to get to the gym. But there’s also always a solution too – at home you can use a skipping rope, do some triceps dips off the edge of a chair, or do some crunches on the floor,” Elita says. Where there’s a will there is a way.
10. But my family doesn’t eat that food
“Good habits start with you; lead by example,” Elita advises. If you’re the chef of the household, you choose what goes onto your family’s plates. And if you’re living at home and your Italian mama insists on three-courses of pasta a night, you might need to step up your contribution in the kitchen and offer to cook a couple of nights a week (and ensure you make enough for leftovers on the other nights.)
11. I can’t work out, I have an injury
In some cases injury will prevent you from working out, “But that doesn’t mean you can’t stick to a healthy diet,” Elita says. “In my consultations, I’ve had so many women say to me that, really, the injury is old and there are other things they could be doing.” You know deep down what you’re capable of, so don’t let an old injury hold you back.
“At the end of the day, weight loss is more about what you put in your mouth than how much you move, so if you get your nutrition right, you’re more than half-way there.”
12. But there are always cakes and biscuits at work
“You don’t have to eat them – no one is force feeding you,” Elita says. Touché.