This was a guest blog over at That's Just How I Roll, I've left Jess' comments in because her comments and examples further illustrate my points! :D
Excuses, excuses, excuses.... it took me a long time to realise what mine were, now I see them everywhere in a lot of other people and I get frustrated… oops, I think I’m supposed to be more compassionate! But truly you can only lead a horse to water you can't make it drink... so cliché I know but SO TRUE. A lot of people are so caught up in the next quickest fix they can find, they really don’t want to HEAR the reality of the situation, you just seriously want to shake them up and say if you put half the effort into eating well and exercising than you did in researching and trying to take a crack at the latest fad thing you'd be closer to your goal than you are ever going to be!
Why are we so full of ourselves when it comes to these things, human nature, protection, emotional safety, ignorance, I don't know for sure... I think for me it was a mixture of all of them yet I don’t think I was ignorant I had the knowledge I just didn’t use it. I just know that since I have taken responsibility for my own excuses, it annoys me to see others covered in them. Like a reformed smoker, I guess in part I’m a reformed ex–dieter. What is that thing they say when you have that feeling about a new person you meet that you don't like them, it's usually that you see something in them that you don't like about yourself.... philosophical much?
A lot of people aren’t ready to “hear” this kind of thing and really everyone has to come to their realisation in their own time. How do you know it’s an excuse when the inevitable BUT comes into play, I know I should eat healthy BUT… I know I should exercise BUT…
Let's explore some of these excuses:
I'm too busy/don't have time
We all know this one is the biggest crock of all. I’ll ask the same question Australian Motivational speaker Craig Harper asked in his blog recently, How much time do you spend watching TV? Truthfully now! If you have time to sit down and stuff your face for an hour in front of the TV, you have time to exercise! God’s honest truth ;) And for all those mums out there get the kids involved, take them out for a walk, to the park, or simply get on the floor and crawl around with them for half an hour, bet you'll be huffing and puffing by the end of it! I see a lot of women with prams down my local park, there's as much time as you are willing to give it.
It's too hard
What's too hard buying apples instead of chocolate? Making a stir-fry instead of ordering a pizza... it's all relative but even after all these years, I still surprise myself how quick a bag of frozen stir-fry vegies and some meat take to throw together! Nothing hard about it except attitude! If it’s really all too hard I’d say it’s simply down to lack of education on the topic, get out there and learn some stuff!
Eating healthy is more expensive
Here's another CROCK! Especially for me because I would buy fruit, vegies and meat and it would all go off while I then went on to buy take-aways and other crap, please tell me how many of you have rotten fruit in the bowl right now! A bag of apples does not cost more than a block of chocolate, we all know it, the chocolate you will inhale in an evening and then you need to buy more, an apple a day will last you a week. OK there will be the occasional thing, like say buying Burgen bread over tip top, but on an overall scale, you should be spending less. Really!! I'm always shocked to discover how much fruit and veg I can get for $30, that previously I'd be lucky if that $30 lasted me two days on lunch and dinner take-out. I don't agree that eating well costs more. I know some people may disagree, but I say look again at your meals and your portions. Buy less of a more expensive leaner cut of meat and bulk it out with vegetables, you are doing yourself AND your family more than one favour in doing things like this. And you know what else you don’t HAVE to buy a gym membership, walking and jogging and even dancing round your living room are all free! There’s a great quote floating about I don’t know who says it, but it goes if you think you can’t afford to be healthy then you better be able to afford being sick.
(Jess' note: Ever tried feeding a family of four at Maccas these days?? It costs in excess of $30 bucks. Seriously, head down to the supermarket, get a tray of pre-cut beef strips ($7) some frozen stir fry veggies ($6) and a tub of icecream ($4). You've just spent $17 total, you've spent half, and you're not compromising your kids/partner's health.
We've probably offended some people here, but what's a bag of potatoes cost? $4 max? Make your own chips as well if they toss up about it!! Control what you put in your mouth, it really isn't that hard when you change your lifestyle.)
I can't do it
Why not? Really I used to think sometimes how can I live having to eat an apple maybe every day.... seriously I say to myself now, because I had no problem eating chocolate every day or fried food everyday to get myself into the morbidly obese category at my highest weight. Learn to love a variety of foods, so right now, mango and rockmelon are at the top of my favourites list, and soon mango will be out of season, but that's what I'm liking right now so if I have some everyday good for me I say. Eat well every day and YOU CAN DO IT! Again mind and attitude are quite the key.
You know I spent a long time saying this about myself, "Oh I'm fundamentally lazy" it is what I'd say to people, usually throwing in the, it’s too hard comment with it. You know what they say, mind over matter, if you tell yourself something enough, you come to believe it, it so comes to pass. So I stopped saying it, and guess what not only did I stop being it, I stopped believing it and I STOPPED using it as an excuse!
I'm too embarrassed
This is a good one isn't it, I can't go to the gym everyone will look at me.... seriously if you think this is the case, you haven't been to the gym in a long time, folks here's the reality of gym life, the men are too busy checking themselves out (openly) in the mirrors, and the women are too busy, sneaking peaks at themselves and worrying about everyone else looking at them.... so who do you think is looking at you? Gyms are for exercise, health and wellbeing, is this explicit only to thin people? NO.... but gyms aren't the only form of exercise, just get out and get walking, take a walk down your local park or local business centre, do it first thing in the morning and also try a lunch time, you would be surprised to see the amount of people doing something but also the shapes and sizes! This excuse is all in your head! And if someone does say something well imagine how bad they must be feeling about themselves to have to resort to making fun of you to make themselves feel better. What a sad life they must live!
I have a slow metabolism
Well go to the doctors and get it checked out, if you've been a chronic yo-yo dieter you may have done this to yourself, but the reality is most people's metabolism is just fine, it's another... that's right excuse it often goes hand in hand with our next one....
But I eat healthy
My sister use to pull this one out, yet she clocked her highest weight at 104kg. Many people who think they eat healthy blame it on.... you are getting it aren't you! Yep a slow metabolism... but guess what comes into play here folks.... PORTION SIZE! When my sister finally woke up to her excuses, despite her love of vegies, her day went, no breakfast, little lunch, couple of coffees, a caramello koala for afternoon tea, and then at least two servings of dinner! I saw a show on TV a little while ago where they tested a comedian who was overweight, she claimed she ate healthily but obviously had a slow metabolism. Guess what they did the tests and her metabolism was fine. Next they made her keep a food diary, but they also made her drink this stuff that then through some kind of test measured how many cals she was ACTUALLY eating, the first week, she under-reported by over 60%, her bowl of morning fruit salad was THREE times the portion size it should have been. She thought she was eating about 1200 cals a day but was in fact eating 3000 cals a day how crazy is that! Too much of anything can result in weight gain folks, so guess what yep another excuse!
I didn't lose any weight this week so it's not worth it.
Seriously! It's not worth increased health function, feeling better about yourself, possibly loss of cm's and just general good wellbeing.... ummmm OK. We all know that all these numbers are just a guide, and the body can fluctuate, it is helpful to see those numbers go down when losing weight but they are not the be all and end all. If they affect you that much then you need to put the scales away and only hop on them once a month. Or do what I did in the beginning, I didn't want to know the actually numbers upfront, I suspected I was around 130kg but I didn't want to know about it at the time. So once a month I went to my sisters, she weighed and measured me and simply gave me the stats, what I'd lost. This way I couldn't obsess over them. When I was ready I asked for the numbers and took over doing it for myself, but your focus should be on health and wellbeing, it doesn't happen overnight, so give yourself and the scales a break, because seriously throwing it in over that is just a pitiful excuse! By all means use the figures as a gauge to look into your exercise and eating habits, but be honest with yourself, you didn't lose weight because you didn't lose weight or you didn't lose weight because well you ate 3 blocks of chocolate and drank 2 bottles of wine....?
I’m not motivated or I need someone else to motivate me
Yeah this one is hard for a lot of people because they just don’t get that the only person who can motivate them is THEMSELVES. You can be inspired by others, helped by others, take on advice from others, but only you can put it into practice and do it for yourself. By all means create a support group of people to talk to, but remember when it comes to the crunch you are the only one who can actually do it.
Yep it happens, life throws up doozies. I tend to find right about the time you start to do something for yourself is when something gets thrown right in your path… guess what shit happens, I realised these things were sent to test me, to see if I had truly learned something, how I deal with things has changed greatly, I don’t eat my emotions anymore. These things will happen in life and you need to look at what strategies will help you through the stressful time while being conducive to your goals, sitting on the lounge for months on end eating chips and chocolate…. doesn’t work, take it from someone who knows. Go for a walk, run, talk to a friend, colleague, counsellor, take up a hobby, do something that is truly helping you, not something that will feel good for 30 minutes and then makes you hate yourself again!
My family/partner/friends don’t understand or can eat whatever they like and not put on weight
The world is an interesting place some people seem to have it lucky, they seem to be able to eat whatever they want do no exercise and not put on any weight, have you seen these people once they hit middle age, trust me it’s not pretty. In fact sometimes I think it’s worse for them, because they put on some weight and they are very confused about what the heck to do, because they’ve never had to worry. Everyone is dealt their own deck of cards, focus on your own because everyone has some kind of issue in their lives they need to deal with weight related or otherwise, and the only person you can truly help is yourself. Talk to your family and friends about it, so what if it’s the 200th time you are starting, be accountable for yourself, explain your goals to them, if they won’t support you, don’t talk to them about it, find others you can talk to about it and push on, you are after all doing it for YOU.
(Jess' note: I have a killer here too… don’t just watch these people’s eating habits when you are around them. My brother is only 70kg at about 186cm… he’s skinny as. Seems to be able to eat whatever he wants!! But I have watched his eating habits very closely since starting this “journey”. Especially during a meal (sorry Andy!!). He eats slowly. VERY slowly in fact. Chews his food slowly, stops to take a drink of water. It takes him twice as long to eat a meal as it does for me. Because, let’s face it, when we’re hungry, we’re hungry!! Down the hatch it goes. But that’s not all. I see what he eats when he’s not out with other people, and he’s not CONSTANTLY snacking and picking at things. He eats his main meals. Doesn’t matter what time it is, he listens to his body’s signals. If he is genuinely hungry, he has a meal, doesn’t matter if it’s 3pm.
Ok, so this won’t work for a lot of us, but study the habits closely of the thin people around you who only appear to eat garbage. Your friend might have just demolished 5 tim tams, but chances are she went for a run this morning and will be paying for those tim tams, because they’re the only ones she’s had all year!!
Chances are, thin people work hard to stay that way. Yes, there are the minority that do whatever (like brickies who eat crap ALL the time, but let’s face it, they have a physical job, they can get away with it!) and never, ever gain weight until they slow down.
So next time you’re around one of those people, just watch them. In a non-stalker like way. See what their habits are!)
It’s too overwhelming
This kind of goes along with the too hard basket, but it’s only as hard as you make it. Small sustainable changes are SO important. So pick one thing you want to change and make that the focus for the week. Always have white bread? Switch if for brown bread. Don’t drink enough water, start with a 750ml bottle and just aim to drink that every day for a week. If you add one new thing each week you will soon find a whole lot of little changes add up to a big change. I have found this really helps smash that all or nothing mentality, I have to do everything perfectly or I won’t bother, what a shame that is, because just some small changes can really make a huge difference!
(Jess' Note: Make sure that you revisit each of these changes. Keep a log book, until they become habit. Trust me, it works!!)
I can’t say no or I’ll offend the cook/host/friend/family member/shop owner….
Really? Rubbish I say, if you’ve already spoken to your friends or family about this then there should be no issue, but so you are out to a dinner party and don’t really know the host, gosh thanks I’m so stuffed it was delicious. That’s going to offend someone? No one is forcing the food into your mouth if you truly feel you must accept something, take a bite or two and leave the rest, because otherwise this excuse falls on you shovelling the food into your own mouth! ;)
So where do you go from here??
You have to be willing to actually get honest with yourself and maybe even your friends and family if you feel that will help, if you don’t these excuses and your own bad habits will be forever sabotaging ANY attempt you make at living a healthier lifestyle. That’s not to say there won’t be times you slip up, we are human but as long as you learn from it and pick yourself up NOTHING is wasted that’s right there is no waste when a LESSON is learnt. That’s my quote for you to live by! ;)
So what about you, I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface of excuses we use, what are some of your excuses, and have you thrown them out the door? Do you still use them? Did you just realise they were an excuse? Come share your story with me and Jess, give us something to read for a while!
Have a great day.