Excuses, I need to begin this article with this statement, “It takes one to know one”. Often when am inspired to write about something, it develops out of a recent interaction I may have had with someone. If you are that someone and you read this please know this is not about you…it is about everyone. In fitness we generally run across the same people just in different bodies. Weight issues, diet issues they all seem to be fairly universal among human beings. The other thing that seems to be universal is excuses. You know those little lies we tell ourselves that allow us to reject responsibility? Some of my favorites are: I don’t have time, I can’t afford it, I don’t have time, I don’t eat that much, I don’t have time, I’m too old, I don’t have time. Rolling in at number…drum roll…I don’t have time! Fortunately this excuse is not the one I choose to write about today, I don’t have enough time…hahaha. No, I am inspired to write about this excuse: I don’t know how I gained XX pounds, I used to be skinny, I don’t eat that much. Now if you’re sensitive, you should probably just click out of this article. I tend to be a bit blunt and non-PC with this subject. The truth can be awfully harsh.
Phil, the husband, tells me he hears this a lot from his patients and I hear it a lot from random people. He tells me he uses the analogy of the victims of the concentration camps, as in did you ever see a fat person in a concentration camp? No…you don’t…because they starved those people to death. I am pretty sure they really didn’t eat that much. I have to admit, I have told this lie to myself on a few occasions. Gee…where did those 5 pounds come from, I didn’t eat that much (last week, last month, last year). You know what those extra 5 must be from? Water? No…uhhhh…muscle? No…uhm…too much wine or junk food…Bingo! I suck at fooling myself, although I do give it a good try now and then.
I happen to be a fan of Wayne Dyer, he writes books that I find inspiring and he also doesn’t cut much slack to those who refuse to acknowledge behavior patterns that are self-destructive. I have a book he wrote titled “ Excuses Begone”. The first time I read through it I was a little pissy at Wayne. Anytime I read something that forces me to accept my own self-limiting behaviors I tend to get a little defensive. He just won’t allow me to lie to myself! Anyway, there are these 7 questions that he states make up for a new set of beliefs, the ones that trample excuses. They are:
- Is it true?
- Where did the excuses come from?
- What’s the payoff?
- What would my life look like if I couldn’t use these excuses?
- Can I create a rational reason to change?
- Can I access universal cooperation in shedding old habits?
- How do I continuously reinforce this new way of being?
I can’t give away all of Wayne’s secrets here, but these are some pretty good questions to ask yourself when you say “ I don’t eat that much “. Lets start with “Is it true?”
So if that’s true you don’t eat that much, how did you gain XX pounds? Was it your medication? Your genetics? Your age? Is this #2 “ where did the excuses come from?” And so I ask you #3“what’s the payoff?” What if you (#4) couldn’t use those excuses? Would you create a good reason to change (#5)? How can you access help in changing (#6) and then how do you keep it up (#7)?
There are some good physiological reasons why some people are given the short straw, and they do gain weight more readily than others. It sucks to draw the short straw. But your stuck with it, you can reason away why you can’t fix it or you can own up to your short straw and find a way to stick it in a diet soda, or a milkshake…your call. Fortunately there are some great resources and programs that help you “ not eat so much of the wrong thing”. A really good place to start is writing down exactly what you are eating and how much of it. A serving of cereal is not 3 cups spilling out of the bowl. A serving of popcorn is not the entire bag. A serving of pasta is not the entire space on your plate. The best part of being young is that your body is running like a Porsche. The suckiest part of getting old is your body is plodding like a tired mule. You just cannot eat the same as you did in your glory days. Well, you can but the end result will be those extra XX you gained from “not eating that much”. The other thing to be aware of is the glycemic index of the foods your eating. The GI is used for classifying carbohydrate foods based on how quickly they are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream. The quicker your blood sugar rises the higher the glycemic index. Let me state this very simply. If you are chowing on white bread, white potatoes and white sugar…you will gain weight. Excess blood sugar is stored as fat. So if “your not eating that much”, maybe what your eating is crap. You know if you really “are what you eat”, then eating crap isn’t going to smell or look very pretty…is it?
So, here is the deal. Eat foods as close to their natural state, eliminate junk, reduce processed foods, and manage your portions. You will lose weight. However…you also have to incorporate some exercise that actually makes you sweat and causes you to make grunting and huffing noises. If your form of exercise is walking your neighborhood and you barely break a sweat and can recite the Declaration of Independence seamlessly, then you are in the middle of an “activity” not “exercise”. If your wading around a pool waving your arms like a fish gliding through calm seas, your engaging in an “activity” not exercise. Exercise should feel a little uncomfortable and you should be sweating a tad. And when I say uncomfortable, I don’t mean tight lycra, I mean on a effort scale of 1-10…you better be around a 8.
Excuse or the Truth…it’s your journey.