Debunking the myths that derail us from getting healthy

Are your fitness resolutions becoming distant memories?

With January a distant memory – along with many (maybe even all) of the resolutions we made to get fit and healthy, take control of our finances – whatever – many of us will be feeling guilty about not pursuing the promises we made to ourselves. And to appease this guilt, we’ll start feeding ourselves lies about why we are bound to fail, or why now is not the time to get started.

Because I believe that we all have the ability to reach our health and fitness goals, I’m going to try to debunk some of the lies we tell ourselves, before they become cemented in our psyches.


Don’t wait. Just do it.


  1. I need to lose some weight before I can start exercising

No. You may need to shed a few kilos before you can tackle high impact exercises, but there are low impact exercise routines you can get started with right away. Try swimming or walking, or if you have access to one, cycle on a stationary bicycle.


  1. I need to belong to a gym/have a personal trainer

While it may be useful and often helpful to join a gym or have a personal trainer, it’s not a necessity. I know of many people who waste hundreds of rands every month on gym memberships they never use because they feel intimidated about working out in a gym, or they can’t find the time to get there. Best thing to do is start with what you have. Walk to the shop, play with your children, work in the garden, use the stairs at work. Get your body moving right where you are.


  1. I’ve been exercising but not losing weight, so the exercise is “not working”

Yep, most of us get into exercise because we’d like to lose some weight, but kilos melting away is not the only indicator that the “exercise is working”. Working out has a number of other benefits that you may not immediately notice. So even if you’re not seeing a difference in the number on the scale, your fitness will be improving and there will be positive impacts on, among other things, your blood pressure and mental well-being.


  1. I don’t know how to exercise

Ask a friend. Go online. Download an app. There are endless free – and paid-for – resources online and all around you. All you have to do is start looking.


  1. I can’t afford gym wear

Okay, we all want to look good, but you know that promotional T-shirt you got in a goodie bag? Or the one you got at work when you volunteered for your company’s CSI project? Wear that to gym. Once you start getting serious about the exercise that works for you, you can start investing in gym wear made of technical fabrics, expensive shoes or tech gadgets. In the beginning, just make sure you’re comfortable.


  1. Healthy eating is too expensive

Sure, if you’re going to buy protein shakes, every supplement under the sun, foods packaged for specific dietary requirements or be pedantic about only buying free range or organic produce, you’re going to feel the pinch. Right now, do what you can with what you have. Build your meals around fresh vegetables and good protein sources, reduce your portion sizes and you’re good to go.


  1. What’s the use? I’ll never succeed.

Do I really need to indulge this? No, and neither should you indulge this kind of negative, self-sabotage. Increase your chances of success by engaging in an activity you enjoy, and finding friends who will do it with you. Join an online support group – or start your own one with like-minded acquaintances.

Chantel Erfort

I'm a yoga teacher and health advocate who runs and enjoys the outdoors. Having previously lived a sedentary, unhealthy lifestyle, nothing makes me happier than being able to share the benefits of including some movement, mindfulness and healthy eating into one's life.