Enough With the Excuses!

We're taught from inception that excuses are OK. We've debunked the most common excuses people make to NOT take care of themselves, and now know that it's an absolute necessity to set aside time for ourselves, as well as the others in our lives.
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I can tell when someone is going to be successful. They have a clear goal, a clear vision and are UNWILLING to let life happen to them. They know what needs to be done to get to where they want to go, and they'll stop at NOTHING to get there. Sadly, most people are NOT like this. The messed up part is that they don't even know that they're lacking this necessary drive.

As a fitness, a health and a weight loss professional, I've dealt with many types of clients over the course of my career. Some have been an absolute JOY to work with -- they listened, they took action and they did NOT make excuses. If they had a setback, they acknowledged what went wrong, and insured that it didn't happen again. Unfortunately, I've also had clients over the years that were NOT willing to do what was necessary to reach their goals. Instead, they made excuses to try and validate their lack of progress. That's not something that sits kindly with me, and that's not something that should sit well with any of you, either.

We've been raised in a society that preaches mediocrity and excuse making. Our actions and our inactions are motivated by the three Cs: Capital, Comfort and Convenience. For example, what motivates us to take a job above all else? It's often not our passion for a field or for changing the world. Rather, it's our desire to make enough MONEY (capital) to earn a living! We spend years and accumulate hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans in order to climb our way up somebody else's corporate ladder. While not everyone is meant to be an entrepreneur, this is certainly not the means or the motivation to have a rewarding career. What motivates us to drink a bunch of booze and to eat junk food every Friday night after work? COMFORT! The alcohol lowers our inhibitions, while the junk food is often laden with processed sugars and other artificial ingredients that trigger dopamine release in our brains. As a result, we feel intense pleasure taking part in this weekend splurge. And lastly, what motivates us to order takeout, to shop online or to binge-watch a show on Netflix all weekend long? CONVENIENCE. We don't even have to leave our homes in order to do any of these things.

How about when it comes to both our health and to our fitness? We use these same three Cs to justify our lacking both. Think about it for a second: Why don't most people exercise regularly or eat right? In my personal experience of nearly 10 years in the industry, I've found that it's often due to one of either a lack of Capital, a lack of Comfort or a lack of Convenience. As you can see, I'm not the only person who's noticed these patterns. How do these patterns apply in the case of health, weight and fitness? From a lack of Capital perspective, folks complain about the expense of going to a gym, the rates associated with hiring a personal trainer or a nutritionist, and the cost of buying organic whole foods. If Capital isn't an issue, then it's Comfort -- people are unwilling to push themselves outside of their Comfort zones. Because they receive instant gratification from eating the wrong types of food and from sitting on the couch watching Hulu, they're not willing to work hard or to make the healthy lifestyle changes necessary to undo what their apathy has caused them. These issues mainly include being overweight, being out of shape and being unhealthy. If Comfort isn't an issue, you'll then hear that these folks simply just don't have time, and thus taking the time to do these things (even if it's for their health and for their livelihood) is an INCONVENIENCE. Their obligations with their jobs and with their kids are just too much, and as a result, they don't have the time necessary to exercise, to eat right and to take care of themselves.

I'm going to lay down some truth right now: These three-C-derived excuses are ALL BS!!! We're going to take a minute and dissect each common excuse, and then we're going to come to the realization together that if you want your health and your fitness badly enough, you WILL make it happen...

CAPITAL: Gym memberships in the United States are CHEAP in this day and age. The gym I belong to in suburbia Long Island, NY costs $20/month, and I've heard of many that are even cheaper. While these may not be as good as the upper-tier gyms like a CrossFit Box or a Bootcamp, it's more affordable than ever before to belong to a gym. NO EXCUSE! While paying out-of-pocket for a trainer or a nutritionist can be expensive, there are online programs that offer you the same information and the same accountability as any in-person service would. Or, if money's really tight, there are THOUSANDS of fitness and nutrition programs you can download online completely FREE! NO EXCUSE! From a food standpoint, think about it this way: Would you rather pay a few extra bucks each week at the grocery store for REAL, WHOLE foods, or would you rather continue to poison yourself with processed junk just because it's cheaper? The reason I ask is because if you continue with the processed junk, you will eventually be paying tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills because you gave yourself a PREVENTABLE health condition like Type-2 Diabetes. Would you rather pay now and live a happier, healthier life, or pay later and suffer until your final dying breath? The choice is yours.

COMFORT: In this day and age, it's easier than ever before to live in comfort. With an Internet connection and a cell phone, the world is at your fingertips. You can stay in to order dinner, or even to order your groceries. What a world! Unfortunately, when things are difficult for most people, they simply get intimidated and then quit. If you've not exercised for awhile and start up again, you know what I'm talking about -- the soreness and the muscle fatigue from that first workout back make getting up to do it again the next day damn near impossible. While rest is important for optimal recovery and optimal fat burning, exercise NEEDS to be a regular thing for you. The same holds true for eating clean. Yes, the Haagen Daz and the bags of chips are certainly cheaper and probably taste better to you at this point than organic meats and than organic produce. Heck, they may even help to de-stress you from a long day. Sadly, this is just a temporary fix to your stress, and these foods do a lot more harm than good in the long run. Your body should be treated like a car: Fuel it with premium, and you'll be doing your body mighty good. Fuel it with cheap brand name crap with a ton of filler, and you're in for a world of hurt and disaster.

CONVENIENCE: For some reason, there's a disconnect Americans have about making time for themselves. We make time for everyone and for everything else in our lives, but when it comes to taking care of ourselves, that can wait until tomorrow, or next week. This MUST stop if you truly want to be successful at weight loss or ANY OTHER goal you may have. Sure, we all have obligations. And sure, many of these obligations may take up anywhere from 12-16 hours of our days. That does NOT mean we shouldn't take time for ourselves. Yes, you may be tired and the LAST thing you want to do is work out. Yes, you may feel stressed, feel anxious and feel like exercising is only going to make things worse. The REALITY is that it's going to make things BETTER. Like the processed sugars and artificial ingredients so many of us love, exercise releases dopamine in our brains, and is a GREAT, HEALTHY, and NATURAL stress-reliever! So while it may be a drag to get things going, you'll be very glad you did at the end of your workout. Nutritionally, if you're on the go a lot, meal preparation is key. The misconception is that you have to make a ton of time each week to do this. Not so, my friend! Set aside an hour on Sunday and an hour on Wednesday night to prepare healthy meals and healthy snacks IN BULK for use throughout the course of the week. So all in all, TWO hours out of your week will go towards making sure you stay on point. That's two out of 168 hours in a week. Not too bad, right?

So, as you can see, we're taught from inception that excuses are OK. We've debunked the most common excuses people make to NOT take care of themselves, and now know that it's an absolute necessity to set aside time for ourselves, as well as the others in our lives. If you've been toiling with your weight, with your fitness or with your health for far too long, I hope this article can be used as motivation to help get you going in the right direction.

Until Next Time!

- Peter