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The Time Excuse

Posted Feb 06 2013 4:15am


“I just don’t have time,” is a phrase I frequently hear when it comes to weight loss and fitness.

A busy mom tells me she doesn’t have time to exercise, a man tells me his work is too demanding to prepare healthy meals, and all sorts of people give me the “time” excuse for every conceivable healthy lifestyle choice.

Frankly, I way I most often answer this excuse is with this phrase:

That’s really the truth isn’t it? With obesity increasing at a rampant rate and children struggling with their weight like never before, none of us has time not to do our best to live a healthy lifestyle.

When I was barely able to walk to my mailbox without getting winded I used every excuse in the book to not exercise. It was too tiring, I didn’t have time, childcare was an issue, I didn’t have the right clothes to wear, etc. Those excuses only held me back.

The truth was that time or childcare wasn’t the real issue. The real issue was that I did not want to exercise.

I did the same thing with other areas of healthy living. I didn’t feel as though I had time to cook a proper meal so we went to McDonald’s or a sit-down restaurant. The truth was that by the time I gathered all the paraphernalia that the kids needed, loaded them up in the car, drove to the restaurant, unloaded the kids, waited for a table, got our food, ate our food, and drove back home, I could have easily prepared a healthy meal for us. Again, the truth was that I didn’t really want to cook, so I used lack of time as an excuse.

We are all really busy, but we are not busy enough to fail to take care of ourselves and our families.

Using time as an excuse to not make the changes you need to make is like saying that you are not worth the effort it takes to make time for yourself.

For most of us, it does takes some tweaking of our schedules to make time to get in exercise or make sure we get our food plan lined up for the week. I know it did for me.

I had to ask John to leave 30 minutes later every morning when possible so I could get in my walk before my 6 year old, 3 year old, and baby got up for the day. When he couldn’t do that, I loaded them up in a stroller and went anyway. It turns out that I did have time to exercise, it just took some effort, which I had never expended before.

As far as healthy cooking goes, I had plenty of time to plan and prepare meals, I just didn’t do it. It seemed too hard. Once I committed to changing the way we ate, I found that I actually did have time. (Then I had to learn to cook healthy foods, but that’s a blog post for another day.)

I’d encourage you to examine your thoughts and feelings when it comes to time management. Are you putting less important things ahead of your health? If you have ever used the time excuse, you are not alone. I still do it sometimes and I have to stop myself and remember that I don’t have time not to.

How do you overcome the time excuse? Do you have any strategies you use to make sure you are protecting your health? Diane

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