Every one of us knows something we should be doing to be healthier, but we make some excuse not to do it.

The excuse I hear most from my patients is, “I don’t have time.” I hear this excuse most frequently when it comes to being more active and eating healthier. My response to this is that we often find time to do the things we want to do.

If this excuse is true for you, is it really because you hate the thought of exercise? If so, don’t think of it as exercise. Use a different term, such as moving more, physical activity or just being more active. According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, you need to do two types of physical activity each week to improve your health: aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. This consists of 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderately intensive aerobic activity every week, such as a brisk walk and muscle strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms) two or more days per week.

Don’t let the amount of time scare you. This means 30 minutes, five days per week for the aerobic activity. This can even be broken down to 10 minutes, three times per day to get the same benefit. Here are a few ideas to get you started: rather than sit while talking on the phone or watching a program, get up and move during the call or the show. If you’re not active at all, start by making the decision that you will not ask anyone to get anything for you. Get up and get it yourself!

I also hear the “I don’t have time” excuse when it comes to eating healthy. I wonder about this one, because we all need to take some time to eat. Why should eating healthy take more time than not eating healthy? Is it because you think that you have to cook or be a good cook to eat healthy? Or, do you think it takes longer to order healthy food than to order unhealthy food?

As for cooking, you don’t have to be a great cook or even cook at all to eat healthy. For example, think of Greek yogurt, nuts, cheese, cans of salmon or tuna, rotisserie chicken, fresh or frozen vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grain breads or crackers and nuts or nut butters. These don’t entail much or any cooking at all. When ordering out, order grilled, baked or broiled rather than fried foods. And don’t forget your vegetables. One step in the right direction is to just make the decision to eat real food rather than processed food.

Here’s a novel idea for activity and healthy eating. If you order out a lot, rather than having your food delivered, go pick it up yourself.

Becoming healthier starts with thinking about it. Think about why you want to be healthier, what you think it will take and what you are willing to do. You don’t have to do everything at once.

Just take the extra step to stop and think before you choose what foods to buy and eat. You’ll find that it doesn’t really take as much extra time as you thought.

Think about it. What’s your excuse now? There really are no good excuses.

If you have any health issues that you would like WestView News to address, please let us know.


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