5 Common Diet Excuses Too Many People Make

By JC Deen



Many people feel they don’t have time to eat right because of their busy lives.

“I don’t have time” is a common phrase these days. When it comes time to work out, or eat better, or make dinner (or breakfast or lunch), or track calories, it’s easily to write yourself off as having too much going on.

The truth is we do have time. Our problem lies within our priorities. The saying “where there’s a will, there’s a way” holds a lot of truth. The people who want to make something happen, typically do.

But instead of me giving you an ear-full of existential reasoning as to why you’re not cutting the mustard, and choosing to not have the time, I’m going to show you how to buy some time back, and make your fat loss diet much easier on yourself.

To address all these concerns, we’ll look at each excuse individually.

Excuse #1: “I don’t have time to cook every day.”

Easy. Plan ahead by cooking enough for the next day, or cook for the entire week. One of the best ways to ensure you hit your macro targets is to have a plan.

When I used to work at the call center, I would cook my dinner at night, and then make some extra for lunch the next day. In the mornings, I would make a smoothie with protein powder, milk, and bananas to cover my breakfast. This way, breakfast, lunch, and dinner was always covered. Dinner most always served as my post workout meal.

Make sure each meal has protein, carbs, and fat in it. How much protein do I need is a good place to start for determining protein intake needs.

Excuse #2: “I don’t know how to cook.”

Learn. Teach yourself. YouTube has tons of easy tutorials on how to cook various dishes. I always recommend starting with scrambled eggs. The next best place is to get a great cookbook.

One of my favorites is the Practical Paleo Cookbook. NOTE: I am not a Paleo zealot, but this is a great cookbook for cooking great meals with whole food ingredients. Don’t pay attention to all the Paleo diet ideas, and for the love of your physique, don’t buy into their low carb dogma.

Alternatively, take a local cooking class. There are many happening all over the country all the time. Heck, even when I was living in Thailand, we had plenty of cooking class options if we wanted to participate A quick internet search will do the trick. Here are some in Nashville.

Excuse #3: “There’s too much social pressure to eat and drink heavily.”

There is a lot of pressure, especially in America, to go celebrate with lots of food and drinks. I’m not going to tell you to cut that out completely, but if you’re serious about your fat loss, and physique goals, then something has to give.

At first, learning to set some limits for nights out is a good idea. For instance, if you declare you’ll stop at 3 drinks, then stop at 3. If you know you have a big party with lots of finger foods, and craft tequila to binge on, make sure you skimp on the food earlier in the day and make room for the calorie bomb later. You could even plan to work out earlier to create somewhat of a sink.

Now please do not get this confused with punishing yourself with exercise because you couldn’t control your appetite, or you decided to throw some back with your boys.

Oh – one thing to ponder… Food is typically bad entertainment.

Excuse #4: “I don’t have time to track calories.”

Ahhh. I get this one a lot. And I have to say my response is “what else are you gonna do?” Most people don’t have an answer. They typically expect me to say ‘that’s okay, we’ll make it much easier by [insert whatever they had in mind here].’

When it comes down to it, you can use simplified rules for portion sizes are we laid out here, but tracking calories is mostly necessary for those who want to lose fat, and do it steadily. Without a plan of attack, you’re left guessing. When you guess, you usually get frustrated. When you’re frustrated, you’re stressed, and when you’re stressed, your body fights back.

Excuse #5: “I never know what to eat on a daily basis.”

Oh this is easy.

First, determine 3-4 healthy meals and 3-4 snacks you can have consistently.

Second, have them very, very often. Do it uniformly. When you already know your diet ahead of time, it’s really hard to mess it up. We cover uniform eating in the meal plan article.


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10 thoughts on “5 Common Diet Excuses Too Many People Make”

  1. Great post!! I have to agree with all 5 they are common excuses. Another excuse is “I don’t have time to work out” because like you said in number 3 about social events, if you know you are going out with friends try and fit a workout in so you don’t feel guilty and that’s where the excuse for I don’t have time kicks in. Aswell when going out with friends or to social events, check the menu before you go so you can see options on the menu so you have an idea on any healthy foods. I think point 5 is a fair enough excuse sometimes it is hard to know what to eat on a daily basis, you don’t want to over indulge on foods but still keep it moderate.

  2. Great advice, but I wonder how much of a difference it makes. It seems people who make these kinds of excuses generally aren’t that committed, and the real excuse is “I don’t want to put in the effort.”

  3. “I don’t have time” is the most common excuse not to do pretty much anything that involves improving yourself, it seems. “I don’t have time to go to the gym, to read, to learn a new skill. I’m just so busy!”

    And then they spend several hours a day browsing Facebook…

  4. Great stuff JC.

    People always seem to hate tracking calories and only want to be told what foods they should or shouldn’t eat.

    What’s crazy is, if you’re not tracking how the hell do you know how much you’re eating? The numbers don’t lie.

  5. Funny how it always comes down to time. The irony is that if we don’t make the time to slow down, learn some new habits, and improve our health profile, we won’t have as much time to enjoy our super busy life anyway.

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JC Deen is a nationally published fitness coach and writer from Nashville, TN. Currently living in the blistering Northeast. Follow me on X/Twitter