I do not accept your excuse

What is the definition of an excuse?
Excuse = something that is offered as an explanation in order to obtain forgiveness or justify action we know is unacceptable.
    What is the key point in my definition of an excuse? It is the fact that we know that our action (or inaction) is unacceptable. Lets be honest and upfront for a moment (alright, I always am).
    Everyone knows that doing little to no physical activity is not good for them. We all know that eating processed and deep fried foods is not good for us. But we continue to do it anyway and make excuses for it. Becasue that is what an excuse is, asking for others (or ourselves) to forgive us for our actions that we KNOW we should not be partaking in.
     What are some of the most common excuses I am innundated by? By far the most common one I hear is that people do not have the time to fit in activity. This is simply not possible. Everyone I know is caught up on at least one TV show or regularly watches or reads a news source. My rule is this: if you can find the time for that you can find the time to fit in some kind of fitness activity.
    Yes, taking care of your body is more important than watching a half hour show and takes the same amount of time. Usually, however, people get up in arms if you suggest this course of action. Because TV is a reward and exercise is a torment for most. If thats your opinion then there is nothing I can do to help you. You can keep being lazy instead.
How about simple things like taking the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator? Sure, these little things are not going to give you a rippling six-pack next month, but they will add up over the course of the rest of your life! And why do people opt for the elevator? They will give you lots of excuses; they have to carry things, someone else was going on the elevator, or they were in a rush. The simple fact of the matter is that if you choose the easier route, you are LAZY. If you find being called lazy insulting, I make no apology, it is the truth and I promised to always tell the truth.
    Another common excuse is that people do not know what kind of exercise they should be doing. There is this amazing new information source out there that is widely available. It has often been referred to as the ‘Internet’, some call it the information super highway. You don’t know how to exercise? Try a Google search. Head to a book store and pick up a couple of books on the subject. With all of these sources of information you need to sift through to sort the good from the bad. Feel free to ask me or consult another health professional for advice. Its what we do.
    If you hate research and reading why not hire a professional to teach the basics to you? Or maybe try going to a yoga, martial arts, or fitness studio? I am not even going to get into the list of potential avenues that exist, which can teach you how to take care of your body.
My favorite excuse, however, is the following one:I just don’t like exercising.
    Seriously? I am trying not to smirk and laugh while I write this one. Could that sound any more adolescent? Most kids just don’t like eating broccoli but I don’t know many parents that accept that excuse from them. Yet it is okay for an adult to use this with relation to their fitness.
    If your reason for being fat, lazy, and out of shape is because you just don’t like exercise then you are on my list of people that make me really, really, angry. I don’t care if you ‘like’ it or not. It is your responsibility to take care of yourself for your sake and for the sake of the community around you. If you don’t think your laziness affects the rest of us check out the primary contributor of type II diabetes, heart attacks, and a host of other medical conditions that rack up our health care costs. You will find obesity and inactivity at the top of the list.
    Maybe you just don’t like going to work, walking the dog, taking care of your kids, or cleaning your toilet. Too bad, they all have to get done and you just have to get to them. While my philosophy is that exercise should be enjoyable, if you stick to this negative ‘I don’t like it”, whining, annoying, adolescent excuse then your only alternative to suck it up and do it because I don’t want to pay for your insulin when you get diabetes or your beta blokcers after your heart attack.
    Yes, there are lots of excuses out there. They are all just excuses. It is time that North Americans grew up and took responsibility for themselves. You can blame food producers, marketing, work, the government, injuries, time, or anything else you want to. The fact, yes the FACT, is this: YOU are the one responsible for you. Not anyone else. Your physical shape and health is 100% determined by you, your determination and your dedication.
There are many like me who have devoted our lives to helping people better their lives. If you can not do it for yourself then seek us out and ask for help. But first you must recognize that it is YOU who must take on the responsibility.
When you have made the decision, myself and the rest of my profession will be there for you. We will devote our time, effort, and life to improving the quality of your life. All you have to do is ask and commit to yourself.
If you do not take responsibility for your health it will be diabetes or a heart attack that will finally motivate you to take care of yourself. Hopefully its not too late at that point. We can’t help you when your dead.

  1. Deeber71 says:

    Wow – another great post. You really do tell it like it is! We all make excuses for sure. I have friends who do it all the time and it frustrates me, but I know that I do it myself from time to time. There should be no excuses though for not prioritizing health and taking care of your body.
    I love that you highlighted the link between being overweight or obese and escalating health care costs due to diseases like diabetes, stroke and heart disease. I think that many people think that being inactive only affects THEM because it is their body, but they don’t think about or realize the impact this actually has on society.
    There are alot of things in life we ‘don’t like to do’ (laundry – ugh!), but have to do. But having strong social support networks, and fitness professionals like you who know their stuff go a long way to supporting and motivating people to make the right decisions in regards to physical activity and healthy eating.

  2. Taylor says:

    Thanks Deeber71, I appreciate the kind words and I am glad the posts are making an impression!
    One of the things that often surprises people is that I wont take on any client that approaches me. There are those who are dedicated and ready to make the changes in their lives that they should be making, and there are people who are not ready to do it.
    Until people are ready to make that commitment there is not a lot a trainer, fitness instructor, nutritionist or any other health care professional can really accomplish.
    It is those people who are reasy to take responsibility for themselves that we can have an impact on and who we should focus all of our energies on.
    Those who are not ready to take responsibilty for themselves often frustrate me. I dont pretend that living a healthy lifestyle is easy, I know its not. I work for it everyday. I have dedicated my lie to helping those who make the same decision and dedication.
    To those who do not take care of themselves, who eat poorly and find any excuse they can to not exercise, I have no sympathy for. And the hard part is their laziness and lack of consideration for the rest of us directly affects my health, well being and livlihood.

  3. Deeber71 says:

    Yes, people need to be ready to change and make that committment. It always goes back to Prochaska’s “Stages of Change” and what step the person is at.
    For me, I’m in the Action phase – really ready to embrace change and make things happen! Healthy living is not always easy, but we only have one body so we’d better take care of it! I’m reminded of that more and more these days, hence a conscious decision to eat ‘cleaner’ and up the anty on my work-outs!

  4. shannon says:

    This is a great post. Do you have any suggestions on how to help people understand this and move into a stage where they are committed to improving their health? I have several family members and friends with very serious health and fitness problems. They probably are close to having that heart attack and some of them already have diabetes. I try to help them out with tips on how to improve their health and eat better but their excuses are unbelievable and they are forever searching for the gimmick that will instantly do it all for them. I’m struggling with finding a way to make them see that they need to take responsibility for their problems and change without angering them into never wanting to speak to me again because I called them lazy although I’m close to doing just that and hoping for the best.

    • Taylor says:

      Hi Shannon!
      So sorry for the long reply.
      The thing with family is that it is almost impossible to help them on your own. Especially when you are trying to initiate a lifestyle change, family typically make very poor training partners and motivators! (yes there are always exceptions to this).
      The best thing you can do is take care of your health and fitness, change your lifestyle and make sure they see you do it. Do not try and push it on to them, do it for yourself. Eventually it will start to rub off. If you try and pressure people before they are ready all you will do is push them further away from making the changes they need to make.
      Do some research into local professionals (read my blog about what to look for with a personal trainer) and make your own commitment to fitness. After that it is all up to them.
      You should also explore getting them professional help. A few months with a good personal trainer or other exercise specialist that focuses on lifestyle change will have a better chance of breaking through that initial barrier.

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