By Carole Carson
Special to NurseZone
Feb. 23, 2010 - When you tell yourself you want to make changes and then don’t follow through, it’s tempting to invent an excuse. Yet when you step back and reflect, you realize that while you may save face, the best you can hope for is that others believe your story. True, some excuses are more plausible than others are. But even when excuses are believable, they still reside in the land of make-believe.
No part of our lives is more susceptible to excuses than our commitment to getting fit and losing weight. I used seven excuses for several decades with considerable success, if I do say so myself. I convinced most of my friends and family that they were true. Most dangerously, though, I nearly convinced myself my excuses were valid:
1. Genetics: I look like everyone else in my family. Biology is destiny.
2. Pregnancy: Three pregnancies gave me a waistline with a few rolls of baby fat that I’ll never be able to lose.
3. Age: I’m too old to make changes.
4. Insufficient Time: I don’t have time to exercise and prepare different food.
5. Money Problems: I can’t afford a trainer or gym membership.
6. Medical Problems: I have medical problems that keep me from exercising or undertaking an eating regimen.
7. Undisciplined Character: I’m too lazy and too undisciplined to stick with anything.
Interestingly enough, when I decided to get fit, all of these excuses magically disappeared. My body had reached size 18 because of surplus calories stored as fat. My weight had nothing to do with what other family members ate. When I ate less, my body shrunk five sizes, and my waistline returned.
Age was an asset. I knew my body well because I’d lived in it for nearly 60 years. With more energy, I found the time to exercise and learn new recipes. Because I began my exercise with a daily walk, I needed money only for a good pair of tennis shoes.
I was in the 90th percentile for risk of heart disease when I started my fitness makeover, but once I began losing weight and exercising regularly, my medical problems declined dramatically. Perhaps most importantly, I found foods I loved to eat that didn’t pack on pounds and exercises I loved to do. The necessary changes in eating and exercise did not require will power; instead, they were fueled by fun power.
The choice is ours. We can become competent at creating excuses, or we can become competent at managing our health and fitness.
Are you willing to start your journey toward fitness? When you’re ready to begin, write down your excuses (yes, even the ones you hold most dear). Then tear the list into little pieces and toss it into the trash.
Stand straight and adopt a no-excuse attitude. Begin where you are and continue.
About the Author:
Carole Carson is the author of From Fat to Fit: Turn Yourself into a Weapon of Mass Reduction and the national coach for the AARP Fat 2 Fit online community. Visit www.fromfat2fit.com for more information.