5 Dieting Excuses You Can Beat Today

By Ali Luke

Are you putting off getting started on a healthy diet? Are you forever waiting until Monday, until all the stars are aligned, or until there are five weekends in the month?

It’s always easy to come up with reasons to avoid getting going with a healthy eating or weight-loss plan. But all too often, these reasons are really just excuses. Take these five, for example…
1. I’ve got a party in two weeks, then a vacation. I’ll start dieting after that…

Beat the excuse: If you eat sensibly and healthily for two weeks, you’ll enjoy the party more (and you’ll be in a better frame of mind to make good food/drink choices there). Even if you always gain a little weight on vacation, don’t spend the weeks beforehand gaining weight too!

2. I don’t have any willpower. If there are snacks in the house, I’ll eat them.

Beat the excuse: All of us have willpower – and the “willpower muscle” gets stronger the more we exercise it. If you do find self-discipline a struggle, simply clear the snack foods out of the house, or at least put them somewhere inconvenient. This makes it much harder to succumb to impulse!

3. I can’t afford to eat healthily.

Beat the excuse: Come on, you know this one isn’t true. You needn’t pay for expensive “diet” foods – stick to sensible basics like lean meat, wholegrains and fruit and veggies. You can get your five-a-day for less than $1.50. Skip your usual Starbucks coffee, and you’ll have saved enough for your daily fruit and veggies.

4. I can’t cook (or don’t have time to cook) … so I eat out a lot, and there’s never a healthy option.

Beat the excuse: Learn to cook! Get hold of a student cookbook and teach yourself how to make some simple healthy basics, like a tomato-based pasta sauce. It’s really not difficult, and many dishes take only minutes to prepare. If time is really an issue, try making big batches that can be frozen in individual portions.

5. I’ve been overweight all my life, and I don’t think I can change.

Beat the excuse: However long you’ve been overweight, you can successfully change your habits. Take it one step at a time, and don’t chase instant results. Aim for establishing one new healthy habit each week, such as cutting your soda intake or getting your five fruit and veg portions each day.

What’s your favorite dieting excuse? How have you beaten it?


  1. Susan

    My excuse: I know counting calories would be a good strategy for me, but counting calories is too hard.

    Solution: Use a website that counts ’em for you! (My favorite is http://www.sparkpeople.com.)

  2. Eileen

    Heather, I’m just curious. What did you count as a processed food. Did you end up cooking/buying all your meals/snacks from scratch? I’ve been very indoctrinated in the a calorie is a calorie mindset, but it hasn’t been too effective for me as of late. It used to work, maybe im just getting older.

  3. Katie

    I think you took “cook” a little too literally. Preparing a salad more interesting than just romaine or iceberg lettuce falls under cooking in my book, and that hardly involves heating food.

  4. Spectra

    It’s all about your priorities. Bottom line, if you make fitness and eating healthy a priority in your life, you’ll figure out a way to do it. Good food isn’t that expensive, but I know that for me personally, I’d rather eat good food than have, say, an iPhone and a 50 inch TV and all that stuff.

    As for willpower, I do believe everyone has it and it IS a matter of using it to make it stronger. I’ve learned to ignore all kinds of “temptations”. There are always treats at work in the break room and I just shake my head when the ladies I work with come in and see the treats and say “Oooh, cookies! Those look SO GOOD! I can’t possibly turn one of those down! Don’t you want one too?” My answer to that is usually “Nah, I’m not really hungry for cookies right now. Thanks anyway”.

  5. FitJerk - Flawless Fitness Blog

    Excuses are for lameO’s!

    “All of us have willpower – and the “willpower muscle” gets stronger the more we exercise it”

    Probably the best and most accurate sentence I’ve ever read on diet-blog. Bravo. I heard fighting urges also has an effect on your brain where your neurological “pathways” are strengthened.

    Something like that… gona have to dig that study up. Never the less, resisting useless urges will not only keep you healthier but reduce dumbness. Awesome.

  6. Marie Rizzoni

    Yeah. My worst is: “Hey! This piece of chocolate is only 300 calories… That’s no big deal right? I’ll just skip dinner.”

  7. Heather

    The I can’t lose weight one is familiar… I’d tried for years and no success. I was solidly indoctrinated into Calorie counting and I did it and did it (and exercised tons) and well I never got obese I never got thin either. Finally I decided to put aside my preconceived notions on a Calorie is a Calorie and cut out all processed foods, and even though my Calorie intake is higher than it was before, I’ve lost 25 lb this year, all body fat, no lean body mass.

    The other big excuse… I’ve messed up today (this week) it’s shot… I’ll start fresh later. That one’s so stupid! Start fresh now! And that doesn’t mean starving yourself the rest of the day, that causes problems… just return to normal eating asap!

  8. Kellie

    Yep! We have all heard these excuses or told them to ourselves all before. Great post.

  9. Jody - Fit at 51

    We can always find any excuse if we don’t want to OR are not mentally ready yet. You have to clear the baggage first & just start get accountable to yourself. You can take baby steps or larger steps. The key is to find an eating & exercise program that works for you & that you can live with long term. I think that is possible for everyone.

    So, just start making small steps & long term, you get big results. Nobody said you have to do it all at once. The problem is people want immediate results & satisfaction. How long did it take to gain all that weight. AND, it always takes longer to take it off than put it on….

    So, just get started today even if it is one small thing. It is better than nothing.

  10. Judi Finneran

    Excuse number 4 is my biggest challenge. Not making the time to stock up on groceries, so nothing easy to put together…thanks

  11. PRHL

    “Learn to cook!”
    Well, not necessarily.
    Lean meat, wholegrains and fruit and veggies taste great even when they are cold. And contrary to popular belief, you *never* need warm food in your whole life.
    Sure, some food should or must be cooked before (potatoes, rice, noodles…). But for this you do not need to learn to cook.
    And from time to time, a meat in a restaurant can be afforded.

  12. Yum Yucky

    I’ve heard each one of these lame-o excuses out of someone’s mouth at one time or another. I so hate it the sound of it, like scratching nails on a chalkboard!

  13. Fat loss 4 idiots

    I tell to my girlfriend that it all starts in her mind to take action and start doing something in order to get some results. Take Action today!

  14. drh1966

    I find it all comes down to whether or not that little switch in your head goes off or not. Until then, you will make excuses and the attempts you do make won’t last. Unless you’ve decided once and for all that you are going to change your lifestyle, you won’t do it. I tried for years to lose weight with the usual results and it wasn’t until I hit a point in my life that I was ready, that I was able to finally do it for good. Yes, I struggle at times, but the few pounds I battle to this day are nothing like the 170lb I battled before. I will NEVER be fat again, not like that!

  15. Trainer Shauna

    Great stuff! It’s all about what we tell ourselves we can do! If we focus on the things we can do as opposed to what we ‘think’ we can’t do it’s amazing what we can accomplish.

  16. Rapunzel

    Excellent reminder, I have been making excuses for months now and am finally ready to stop! I’m telling myself, No excuses, quit being lazy, just DO IT!