Finding the Time to Exercise

by Bill Phillips

When it comes to the excuses people give for not eating healthily and exercising regularly, bestselling US author and motivational speaker Bill Phillips has heard them all.

But the one he hears over and over again is: “I don’t have time.”

People say they don’t have time to exercise. They don’t have time to grocery shop and cook healthy meals. They don’t have time to think about their weight.

“It doesn’t matter who they are, they are convinced they don’t have time,” says Phillips, 45, author of the 1999 bestseller Body-for-Life and his new book, Transformation.

Phillips has been helping people lose weight and shape up for 20 years.

“What I teach people,” he says, “is that one great reason for getting healthy overrides a dozen excuses.”

The motivation for giving up your excuses is often right in front of your nose. For many people, it’s as obvious as wanting to stay healthy for their spouse, kids, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and themselves, Phillips says.

Some may have medical fears, such as diabetes or heart disease, or they may be approaching a landmark birthday such as their 50th.

The people who are most successful at changing their lives don’t want to be the victim of their own excuses any more and decide to take immediate action – even simple things, such as drinking water instead of soft drinks, getting up earlier to walk and using the nutrition information from their favourite restaurants.

Phillips says that when you give up your excuses, you take responsibility for your own life.

“Most every transformation I’ve witnessed over the years was preceded by a dramatic increase of self-responsibility. People have to accept the fact that they need to `pilot’ their own lives,” he says.

Instead of using lack of time as an excuse, people have to schedule the time they need to exercise and cook healthy meals, just as they schedule a doctor’s appointment, business meeting or lunch with a friend, he says. “There’s always an opportunity to make time.”

Blatner says excuses can be overcome by thinking about them in a new way.

For instance, take the excuse that you don’t have time to exercise.

Think instead: It’s possible to walk 10 minutes several times a day.

Or take the excuse that you don’t have time to cook.

Think instead: It doesn’t take that much skill, fancy recipes or a lot of time to put together a quick, healthy meal such as barbecue chicken, a whole-grain bun and a simple salad, Blatner says.

“You just have to get back to basics with real food.”

Transform your life, step by step

1. Write down three goals.

Bill Phillips suggests beginning by coming up with three goals in areas you’d like to have more control over. They might be:

-Your health.

-Your time.

-Your mindset.

2. Identify action plans.

Then decide on an action that you can take in each one of those areas:

-Your health: You’re no longer going to eat junk food; instead, you’re going to make the conscious decision to eat healthy foods.

-Your time: You’re going to plan your days in advance and choose to set firm boundaries around the time you need to take care of yourself, to exercise and eat right.

-Your mindset: You are going to choose to see setbacks and adversity as opportunities to learn, grow and improve.

3. Get specific.

When it comes to your health, you might vow to do these things between now and the end of the day tomorrow:

Your health:

-Eat six small nutritious meals that are low in kilojoules.

-Eat a low-fat yogurt and piece of fruit instead of junk food as a late-day snack.

-Eat a nutritious, high-fibre breakfast such as low-fat cottage cheese and fruit.

-Buy fruits and vegetables instead of thinking about them.

-Walk briskly or do another type of exercise for 30 to 40 minutes during your lunch hour or while your children are at sports practice.

-Have a 10-minute daily health conference with yourself to plan the next day’s menu and the time you’re going to do physical activity.

4. Accept responsibility.

You also have to realise that there are things you have no control over, such as the food environment at work or how much junk food your significant other eats.

In the end, you can only control your own behaviour.

Featured in USA Today