Are you always running late? Do you lack motivation to go to the gym? Are you tired of having no time for things you love or even for yourself? Is it difficult for you to make a commitment and keep it? If those questions ring a bell or two, here’s another: Do you point blame at outside sources for any of them?
Almost daily, I am asked to provide a diet plan for weight loss, to recommend workouts for weight loss, or to explain what it takes to be consistent.
My go-to response is, “What have you tried in the past for losing unhealthy weight?”
Here are the 5 most common responses I hear:
1) I don’t have time.
2) I don’t like X food.
3) X diet didn’t work for me.
4) I had kids.
5) I stopped going to the gym.
Now, there are people who have legitimate constraints—those with medical limitations. If that’s your situation, please speak with your doctor prior to changing your exercise level or diet. For everyone else, here are my counter-arguments to the above excuses:
1) I don’t have time. There is a reason this is number 1—and I can so relate to it. I work 12-hour days, starting at 5 a.m. When I get home, I try to finish any projects or writing before I’m in bed by 8 p.m. Then I get up and do it again. On top of that, I have to carve out time for my own workouts, as I still compete.
Do you spend time at home scrolling through your social media accounts? I do, and it’s easy to lose track of time. Before I know it, it’s way past my bedtime, and I haven’t gotten any work done. Needless to say, that isn’t the only thing that paralyzes schedules, but if it is your reason for not following through on your fitness goals, then being fit is not your priority. If you’re going to get anywhere with your program, you must start by being honest with yourself about your priorities and your commitment to being fit and healthy.
2) I don’t like X food. Time and time again, I will design a meal plan for a client who says, “I’ll eat whatever,” only to find out afterward, “Oh, I don’t like oatmeal,” or some other basic food. Now, I’m not talking about food allergies or the inability to process certain kinds of food. I’m talking about the five-year-old that seems to seep out of adults when we don’t like a food or its texture or smell.
I get it. I hate eggs and chicken breast. I hate them both with a passion of blood-boiling fire. Even so, I have learned how to build a relationship with food and its functions. I learned to get creative with herbs and spices, and I found that the chicken tastes much better when I season it with fresh herbs before I barbecue it. If you struggle with your diet because you don’t like certain foods, you’ll definitely have to learn to improvise.
3) Diet X didn’t work for me. Of course it didn’t. You signed up for a 30-day diet challenge or found something online that some fitness model is following, or you asked for a cookie-cutter meal plan from your trainer friend. You may have completed all 30 days and seen some results and then gone off your plan to binge eat, or you stopped immediately after you woke up one morning and didn’t see the results you wanted. There is your problem in a nutshell. You quit—and you will quit again because you’re always going to be trying the next new cleanse or the next new carb-free diet or whatever promises to get you the quickest results with the least commitment time.
The only thing that’s going to get you to a comfortable, manageable body weight is consistency with your exercise and eating habits. Yes, it may be boring in the beginning, but once again, get creative! Stop being lazy and stop making excuses!
4) I have kids. I don’t like to call this an excuse, because being a good parent is about putting your children’s needs first. Also, I get a lot of pushback when I question this excuse, as I do not have children.
No, I don’t, but I do have clients who are moms, and I can see how it does or doesn’t affect their approaches to getting fit. Currently, I have two moms as clients, both of whom have three young children, and both of whom came to me wanting to get in shape. These women have very different lives. A is a full-time stay-at-home mom who has disposable income. B works two jobs as well as being part of her children’s car pool. Both moms are busy, but one has made it a priority to get to the gym and work out for one hour with me as a plan for staying sane. Which is it? Mom B. She shows up 15 minutes early and starts warming up. When it’s time for our session, she’s ready to go for a stellar workout. Mom A points out that she’s always tired and exhausted and often shows up 30 minutes late, always with the same blame game: “It was my kids.”
Now, I may not know what it is to have children, but I do understand what it is to pass the blame onto an external source. Instead of using your children as excuses, think of them as really expensive weights. You can totally squat a few times with those cute little guys on your back!
5) I stopped going to the gym. This can be also a part of the I-got-busy mantra. Again, the reality is, if this is not a priority, it’s not going to make your to-do list. I have another client who comes to the gym five days a week to get in some type of a workout. He works 15-hour days, and during his breaks he finds 25 to 45 minutes for the gym. He comes in at 6:30 a.m. and again at 1:20 p.m. He has come in dragging his ass, and he still either lifts weights or does a quick circuit to get his blood flowing. Did I mention he’s going to be 50?
We all fall victim to these excuses, but we also have the power to choose not to. Try making your changes little by little. Start by asking yourself what’s stopping you from going to the gym. Then ask yourself why. This is a scary idea for most people—you may feel that you need to change everything at once. You don’t. Try a goal of carving out 15 minutes for some stretching or even taking your dog for the walk it’s been begging you for. If you don’t have a dog, go for a walk anyway—walking is excellent for your mental health and general well-being. When that starts to become a habit, think about what else you can do. When you’re ready to commit to the gym, it won’t be so big a step.
Next time I’ll feature some of my favorite places to get exercise outdoors. Strive for consistency in meeting your fitness goals, and you’ll learn to live life to your highest potential.
And if you’re looking for some training suggestions, check out the new Training Blog right here at DigitalMuscle.com!