I may not make a lot of friends with this one, but this is one of the most common habits! We give lip service to wanting to eat well, but in the same breath lament how hard it is to find the time, money, and know-how to make it happen. But people do change every day despite overwhelming odds. Of the millions of us dieting and the many more who just want to eat better, about one in every five will actually make the necessary changes to maintain weight loss for good, even more make simple dietary changes that have profound benefits to their health. How do those success stories do it? They get real. Regardless of whether they were heavy as kids, how many times they dieted in the past, or how they finally lost the weight, this time something clicked. For the first time they gave up the excuses and were thoroughly committed to change their behaviors, lose weight, and be physically active.

You have to get really honest about what your excuses are. Everyone has them. For example, l;et’s take the issue of time. People often use that excuse to explain why they just don’t have time to take care of themselves. But, what if I told you I’d pay you $200 for every healthy meal you ate? Would you find the time then? If so, then time isn’t the issue, prioritizing is. Besides, it doesn’t take much time to eat well, especially with the wealth of new, healthful convenience foods. You don’t need to eat a hot meal or even cook to be healthy. With a well-stocked kitchen, it takes less time to prepare a low-fat, nutritious meal than it does for that take-out order to arrive. It does take a change in mind set and a little planning up front, such as

1. Keep nutritious foods readily available. Clean and store enough raw vegetables to supply meals and snacks for up to three days. (Or purchase vegetables, salad greens, or fresh fruit already washed and cut.) Freeze an extra loaf of whole wheat bread, stock extra cans of kidney beans, fill the cookie jar with homemade trail mix made with nuts, dried fruits, roasted soybeans, and a few chocolate chips.
2. Prepare meals in quantity. Make a big pot of soup or stew, spaghetti, lasagna, casseroles, chicken or bean wraps, or sauces that are great for lunches or dinners throughout the week, or to freeze in individual containers for later use.
3. Keep it simple. Unless you are a gourmet cook who loves to spend hours in the kitchen, avoid complicated recipes that require time, a lengthy list of ingredients, and fancy equipment.
4. Take advantage of nutritious quick-fix foods. Purchase precut vegetables and fruits, bottled minced garlic or ginger, bottled lemon juice, frozen whole wheat waffles, pre-shredded cabbage, bagged lettuce or spinach, bulk bags of frozen skinned and boned chicken breasts, canned kidney beans, and boxed or pre-made hummus.

So, give up the excuses and get to work!