I know that I tend to focus on the positive and not let people know when things are challenging for me. Well, let me just go on the record as saying that getting into shape is one of those things. It's really hard and the results come very slowly.
In weaving, particularly with the thin threads that I use, I'm used to performing many, many minute actions and seeing very little visible result. Weight loss is just like that. I work hard and track my diet and exercise every day in the hopes that maybe in three or four days the scale will read one pound less. And maybe one day far in the future I'll be the size I want and have strength, flexibility, agility, balance, and more.
And as I do the work, I step back and watch my inner excuse maker at work. Yeah, there were some truly tough days in the beginning when my body was learning to stop living on sugar and power itself with real food. I honestly did not have the energy or presence of mind to do very much.
But the rest of the time, it's just a lifetime of bad habits that do their darnedest to prevent me from making a change. The excuses come from a seemingly unending well. I have just learned to listen to the excuse maker and then use my rational mind to create an answer. I treat it like a conversation with a surly child. Below, I've collected some of the best excuses I can remember and the answers that got me past them.
Reasons Not To Try At All
- "Our family have always been sturdy working people. We're just not cut out to be 'show horses'." Answer: That might be true, but there's a wide range of realities between "average overweight guy" and "competition physique". Let's just go as far as we can and see what's possible. We'll never know unless we try.
- "I've got a bad back. Enough exercise to make a difference might make it worse." Answer: The doctors say that exercise will strengthen the muscles and make it hurt less. Let's try it and see if they're right.
- "It's going to take a ton of time to really get into shape and I'm too busy to really commit." Answer: If time really becomes an issue, we can slow down the pace. Besides, we just hired an apprentice to give a little extra time in the schedule. Maybe there really is time.
- "What will my friends think? I don't want them to feel bad about themselves." Answer: Maybe they'll be inspired. If they are good friends, then they'll support me in making positive changes in my life.
Reasons To Skip The Next Task
- "I'm tired right now. I can make it up later." Answer: Let's just get started. We can go slow at first and stop if we really need to.
- "I've got a lot of weaving to do so it should take priority." Answer: Yes, the weaving is important. If Winter comes and we're too depressed to work, though, we're going to lose even more time.
- "I could just skip a snack and balance the calories that way instead of exercising." Answer: How are you going to gain strength by eating less food? Let's just get some exercise so we can eat more!
- "Remember the jumprope injury? What if exercise causes an injury?" Answer: We'll stretch before hiking and do our best to be super-aware of what we're doing. We'll take it all very slowly and do our best to minimize the risk of injury.
Obstacles That Require Investment
- "It's hunting season. I could get shot by hiking through the woods." Answer: We'll get a bright orange shirt.
- "Hiking every day is building up my legs but my upper body is just getting skinny." Answer: Let's get some barbells and use them for a gentle, prolonged upper body workout while enjoying the woods. I'll bet the results will come naturally like they have been for the legs.
- "What if muscle gets burned instead of fat?" Answer: Let's get the tools to track body fat and lean mass and see if that's actually happening. If it does, we'll make the necessary changes at that time.
- "We can't hike in the rain. Raincoats are steamy and we'll get wet without one. Jeans are cold and heavy when they're wet." Answer: Synthetic workout clothes. They don't repel water, but they don't soak up as much as jeans, either. They also retain heat when they're wet. By the time water soaks through, the body is all heated up from exercise. And, they'll dry in time for the next hike.
- "What about your feet? Hiking boots take forever to dry." Answer: Running shoes. They make some that are all mesh and designed to dry quickly. They give the added benefit of cushioning so we can jog a little more without damaging the knees.
- "Dumbbells, workout clothes, running shoes? You look like some sort of a fitness fanatic." Answer: So what? Nobody's seeing me except the trees, the animals, and maybe my friends. If I have to look like a fool to be warm and keep going, then so be it.
- "Isn't all this investment really expensive?" Answer: Remember that stint in the Intensive Outpatient Program for Depression? THAT was expensive. And the monthly bill for medication? The insurance premium? How much will it cost if I stay addicted to sugar and develop diabetes like others in my family? I think a little fitness gear is totally reasonable if it can prevent all this other stuff. Besides, these are upfront costs that will be amortized over a lifetime of fitness.