Convenience is all about accessibility. What can
we do for ourselves to make healthy choices easier?
We spend money on smart phones and top of the line technology to make
communication easier. Most would admit to spending 20 minutes looking
for a lost remote, most likely because we truly cant channel surf
without the clicker. The click of a mouse the push of a button
the swipe of a debit card.
We live in a world filled with convenient choices. Why do we make healthy
choices so difficult? Mostly likely because it takes effort. We search
for the easy way out and are not always willing to make the sacrifices
necessary to improve our health.
I recently asked my husband, Mike, a daily exerciser, health
club manager and 20-year college coach, what comes to mind when he thinks
about making healthy choices convenient? His quick, but clever
response, Its not convenient it takes work and dedication.
The sad after thought is hes right. It takes sacrifice like saying
no on most days to a second helping of potatoes or getting
up before sunrise to commit to an hour of exercise. Healthy choices take
dedication like pledging to drink a glass of water before eating a snack
or giving up that Polar Pop a day to have money for a gym membership.
Theres no magic answer. We all find excuses why we dont make
healthy choices. Justifications or reasons why we choose to have one more
cigarette, eat one more doughnut, or why we didnt take that power
For years, I have convinced myself that my body only needs five hours
of sleep. Ive been guilty of telling others, Im just
not a big sleeper. I tell myself that I can function just fine on
less than the suggested eight hours of sleep.
Who am I kidding? Its a personal mind game to make me feel better
about making excuses why I dont make time for sleep.
If I truly analyze, the solution is simple. Prioritize, become organized
and stop making excuses. Quit wasting an extra hour in front of the TV
and realize that getting the sleep I need will make me more productive
for tomorrows to-do list.
I recently gave a presentation to a group of eager women ready for motivation
to make healthy choices. My presentation, titled Eliminating Exercise
Excuses, listed every excuse in the book. After a month of research
(and years of person excuse-making experience), I compiled a list of excuses
as long as a kids Christmas list. Most likely when you hear excuses,
you squirm in your seat knowing that you have made the same excuse on
The key must be to find the will-power necessary to avoid temptation and
move beyond excuse making. There must be successful How-To Tips
to move you one step closer toward your goal.
If a basic goal is to take a power walk during your work lunch break,
what are the simple steps that can be taken to move you toward accomplishing
this goal? Put your power walk on your calendar just like you would schedule
a meeting with your boss. Be prepared to bring a healthy lunch and avoid
the time it takes to make a fast food run.
What about your excuse for not walking because you forgot shoes? Put your
shoes in the car the night before. Post a reminder to bring your shoes
the next morning. Or better yet, buy a second pair of sneakers to keep
at the office.
When it comes to unhealthy eating excuses, it often boils down to temptation.
For many, if you can see it, smell it, touch it its a temptation.
Everyone has his weakness. If there is a bag of chips in my pantry, I
have absolutely no desire to open it, nor am I tempted to eat one chip,
let alone the entire bag. But put a half gallon of ice cream in my freezer,
and it calls my name daily begging for me to grab a spoon (and
extra chocolate sauce) and dig it.
To resist the temptation, do I need to discover the will power inside
of me to say no? Or should I just be wise and simply not keep
it in the freezer?
The answer: It might take a combination of enhanced will power and not
making the temptation accessible.
The example is comparable to the research done on the see through
office candy bowl. The calorie and candy-consumed count is higher when
we can SEE the candy. Do you know its there, and is it within arms
Think about the convenience tips given to those who are trying to quit
smoking. Put away or better yet throw away every
ash tray in the house. Get rid of the lighters and dont keep an
emergency cigarette just in case.
Make a pledge not to go the same gas station where you always bought your
smokes. Every cessation expert will advise to change your routine to help
you avoid those automatic smokes the times when you
look down and there is one in your hand, even though you dont remember
Taking care of our health must rank high on the priority list. Too many
excuses for too many years will truly bury you. The lucky are the few.
Plain and simple Most people cant eat fried chicken every
day, visit buffets frequently and avoid exercise at every cost
and expect to be healthy. Finding the belief deep within is a key to success.
Other can inspire you, but no one can make the choices for you.
If you believe you can, or if you believe you cant
youre right. Henry Ford.
Heather Foy is a 20-year coach and group exercise instructor
in Madison, Ind., who has been in the Wellness field for nearly 20 years. Email
her at firstname.lastname@example.org.