Is it an excuse, or is it a reason? Do you know the difference?
Some of you may feel butt-hurt about this post. If you do, then you need to re-read it until you recognize the behaviors you are allowing to sabotage your goals. Let it really sink in here, and have an honest conversation about what you really want out of your fitness lifestyle. Take a deep breath, here we go!
I was too tired to exercise– This one, fits into both categories. Most of the time it is an excuse. How can you tell if you are just making an excuse? First look at your history. Is this a common occurrence for you? If no, it is likely a reason. You may need a day off.
If the answer is yes, then ask yourself these questions. Am I sick? Did I sleep last night? Am I new to training and exercise? Am I stressed? Am I hungry? Is there a reason for me to be more tired than usual?
If the answer is no (and even sometimes when it’s yes), then likely it is an excuse. Unless you are sick, I tell people to suck it up, get dressed, and get to the gym. If at that point, you just aren’t feeling it then you have a legitimate reason to go home and rest.
I didn’t have any food with me- 99.99% of the time this is an excuse. Very rarely have I encountered a situation where I couldn’t stay on plan and support my goals. If you wanted a free meal, then own that. Being prepared is the key to success when executing a plan of any kind. If you happen to be in a situation where you are unprepared, then you make the best choice possible. So often I hear, “well I didn’t have my food and the meeting ran late so I had 2 slices of pizza, 1 beer and 1 cupcake”. I am sorry, but that is an excuse. If you are really worried about not staying on plan, and there are absolutely NO other choices (like waiting another hour till you get home), then you would minimize the damage by eating the pizza and skipping the beer and cupcake. I have NO problem with clients taking a free meal if they want it, but please don’t turn around and tell me you had no choice. At that point you are lying to yourself and that does nothing but set you up for unrealistic expectations of your progress.
PMS/Cravings– This has to be my most frustrating excuse. This is 100% an excuse. Never ever is eating chocolate something you can’t control. I get it, PMS makes you irritable, hungrier, bloated, tired. I can relate and empathize. I will not excuse you though. This is your journey. Your body will go into PMS mode every month for the majority of us. It can be horrendous and frustrating. Chocolate won’t cure it, alcohol won’t cure it. This is where we say suck it up buttercup! Put on your big girl panties and stick it out until its over. The more you do that, the closer you get to your goal, the less of a problem it is. Create new habits like relaxing, drinking tea, going for a walk, or getting some extra sleep. If it is extremely bad, you may need your hormones balanced. Chocolate won’t do that either.
Stress– Guess what is pretty good at relieving stress? Success! I know you thought I was going to say training, which it does, but success is bigger. Success is a two fold approach, first you can be proud of yourself for resisting the temptation to skip the gym and bury yourself in ice cream, but also doing things that you have set a specific goal NOT to do will only add to your stress. You get to skip that feeling, rather than compile it. Don’t try to fix the things you can’t control, by sabotaging the things you can. You can always choose to stay on plan in the face of a stressful situation. Face your stressor head on and recognize that it is the emotion connected to the stress that makes you crave comfort food, and it can be overcome by dealing with rather than avoiding your stress.
My family/friends/co-Workers are sabotaging me– Only if they are force feeding you, sneaking extra butter in your veggies, and locking you out of the gym; does anyone have the power to make you lose sight of your goals. Does that mean they aren’t challenging? Heck no! For whatever reason, it is extremely common for the ones you expect support from to be your biggest discourager. Offering you cupcakes is not sabotage, even if they know you don’t want them. This is where YOU make a choice. The more often you choose to support your intentions, the less often others hold power. If you make a sad face when turning it down, you invite future pestering. It becomes a game for some. If you refuse with a smile, the craving will pass and the food loses its power. Now, does that mean you can never go out with your people and enjoy an uncounted meal? No, it doesn’t. It just means that if your progress is stalling, blaming your mom won’t cut it. They aren’t sabotaging you, you are sabotaging you.
So now we have covered the excuses, lets look at a few good reasons.
You are sick, or have a medical condition– I don’t want your germs and I bet no one else does either. Skip the gym and eat as close to plan as your body will allow. If you can’t eat, don’t force it. Sleep and recover instead. If it is something else that is keeping you from the gym then of course wait until you are cleared by a physician to get back to it.
You are injured– Don’t train through pain. Again, nail your diet and train the uninjured body parts until you are healed.
Your mom is in town– If you only see your best friend, mom, etc.. once a year? Go out and enjoy a nice meal, make time with them a priority, and skip the gym guilt free!
It is a major holiday– I am talking the big holidays, I am not talking national pancake day, ok? No one should bother with dieting through Thanksgiving or Christmas unless they are stepping on stage in a several weeks.
Vacation– Watching portions is one thing, but trying to stay 100% on plan and giving up your valuable vacation time for training? No, that is a legitimate reason to skip the gym and enjoy some quality time relaxing, recovering, and experiencing new things. Does that mean go all out and eat your face off? Of course not, and if you want to check out the gym or do some active things on vacation then go for it. But, not because you feel guilty for skipping.
Tragedy– Sometimes things happen in our lives that just take priority over our fitness goals. If something really hard is going on in your life, it is perfectly acceptable to take some time to get a handle on it, feel it, or whatever needs to be done to get back to you. Just don’t allow yourself to forget about yourself permanently. It goes back to allowing things we can’t control to sabotage the things we can.
There are other small things that can get in the way of our plans. Work ran late, your child got sick, your refrigerator died and all of your food went bad, etc.. These are small set backs that can generally be a hiccup rather than an undoing. They are the exception and not the rule. I know I have missed a few, and probably will touch on a nerve here and there. I am ok with that. You know if you’re making excuses, so I don’t really have to tell you anyway. Take it for what it’s worth.
So.. are you making excuses?