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THE DIET DETECTIVE, A COLUMN BY CHARLES STUART PLATKIN

Diet Detective: Recognize any Famous Last Words?

How to fix these excuses to avoid healthy living.

Saturday, September 28, 2013 - 12:01 am

Following are some of the “Famous Last Words” we use to avoid living a healthy life, and the fix for each excuse.

Famous Last Words: “I'm on vacation; we all need to take a break from life.”

The Fix: When you're on vacation and you don't eat right or exercise, you're bound to have a worse time. Eating poorly and lack of exercise create poor sleeping habits, increase gastrointestinal issues and lead to overall malaise. Get out there and walk every morning; do some bike riding (if you're in a warm climate); basically, move more. Also, try eating healthy meals with just a few carefully chosen indulgences.

Famous Last Words: “I'll do it tomorrow ...”

The Fix: Start right now. Do not put this off. You don't need to overhaul your entire life. Just put down the doughnut and go for a walk. Seriously, I'm not saying that it's easy, but at the very least, you can begin immediately. Saying, “I'll start my diet tomorrow” shows that you have the wrong attitude. Your diet-and-fitness program needs to be something you can live with forever, not something you put off because it doesn't happen to be convenient.

Famous Last Words: “I travel all the time.”

The Fix: If you travel often, you need to weave healthy eating and physical activity into your lifestyle. First, try the following:

•Find healthy restaurants. Try calling the concierge or hotel manager at a few local hotels (even if you're not staying there) to get recommendations.

•Get moving. Ask if there are nearby hiking or walking trails, local fitness facilities or other interesting activities that require you to move.

•Hire a personal trainer or take a lesson when on the road. Once you make an appointment, there is a high likelihood you'll show up (especially if you're committed to pay).

Famous Last Words: “I'm injured.”

The Fix: Certainly don't exercise the injured part of the body. But there are always some exercises that will not affect the injury, and there are some that actually will help. For instance, if you have a running injury, what about biking? Or swimming if you have a pool available? The key message here is you can still do something.

Famous Last Words: “I was so bored on the treadmill, I just couldn't do it.”

The Fix: Use your tablet or smartphone to watch movies or your favorite TV show. You can get a subscription to Amazon.com, Netflix.com or Hulu.com, all of which have some great programming. The idea is that you watch your favorite show (or movies) only when you're on the treadmill. That way you will look forward to getting on the treadmill. You also can read a magazine or newspaper or make phone calls, as long as you keep your energy level high. Another trick is to mix it up. Do 20 minutes on the treadmill, 20 minutes on the bike and then 20 minutes on the elliptical. It makes your workout far less boring. Or go with a friend and chat the entire time.

Famous Last Words: “I'm not a morning person.”

The Fix: You don't have to be up at the crack of dawn to be physically active. All you have to do is increase your physical activity at some point during the day. There's also lunchtime, after work or evening – plenty of time to work out. Also, keep in mind that even doing an additional 10 minutes of physical activity at a time can have health benefits, so move whenever you can.

Famous Last Words: “It's useless; my genetics are working against me.”

The Fix: You can still lose weight. It's very rare that a person can't lose weight and get in reasonable shape for his or her body type. Yes, genetics can work against you; however, research shows that with the right amount of physical activity and a decent (non-starvation) diet you can lose weight even if you are predisposed to being overweight.

Famous Last Words: “Do I really want to work out? Or is going home to my family more important? I haven't seen them all day. I really should spend more time with them.”

The Fix: You can have it all; it's all about time management. We make room for the things that are most important in our life, so make activity important. Why not organize activities with the entire family? Go for a bike ride or take a walk. Sign up for tennis lessons or go on a hike.

Famous Last Words: “I can't make it to the gym because I have to work late to finish this project.”

The Fix: You need to get your priorities straight and pay closer attention to your work schedule. Make sure you're not slacking off just to avoid exercising. Also, try to take a break from your work to work out. You will probably end up doing a better job. What about working out in the morning?

Famous Last Words: “Why bother? I'm never going to look like a supermodel.”

The Fix: That's probably true. There are very few supermodels. But you can still look and feel much better than you do now. Even a 10 percent loss in body weight can significantly reduce your risk of many diseases and improve your quality of life. Also, you should recognize that you can only look as good as you feel.

Famous Last Words: “I only live once, so I might as well enjoy myself just this once. It's not such a big deal.”

The Fix: You're right: You do only live once, so why not make it the best life you can? And those “one-time” events add up. I once took the time to add up my own “special occasions,” and they came out to more than 60 per year. That's a lot of “one times.” Looking at it in terms of calories, if those one times cost me 500 calories each, multiplied by 60, that's 30,000 calories, or about 8.5 pounds per year.

Charles Stuart Platkin is a nutrition and public health advocate and founder of DietDetective.com.