Do you ever just get to feeling contrary when it comes to working out and being healthy? I know I do. For the past week I’ve been swimming around in a sea of stupid excuses, so I thought I’d share a few highlights.
I can’t work out because I’m tired.
I can’t work out because I have to work.
I can’t work out because I want to watch my new favorite telenovela.
My hip hurts and hasn’t recovered yet.
I ate too much and I feel bloated.
I smoked cigarettes and now I feel too wheezy to work out.
I worked out last week real hard so I deserve a break.
I just have too much going on to make it to the gym.
My weekends are rarely free and I need days off.
I don’t wanna. Oh, that one is very strong.
The gym (or the track, or the trail, or my living room, where I do home workouts) is too far away.
It’s too late already.
It’s too early. (Okay, I made that one up. When I work out early I always love it. Always.)
I have company coming over later.
I brought work home to do, and I have to do it.
I already fell off my track—I might as well be a slacker and eat cake and ice cream.
I’m afraid I’ll injure myself if I work out when my hip is hurting. (There is actually a real grain of truth in this one.)
Over the past few years of making lifestyle changes that will need to last the rest of my life, I instituted one very large change, which seemed almost insignificant at the time. That is my rule about not beating myself up.
The tricky bit is that most of those excuses have some tiny bit of truth in them. So the way that would play out in years past would be something like this:
I don’t wanna.
Yeah, but you should want to. You want to die young?
Meh. I just don’t want to work out.
You’re at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and who knows what else. Do it. Do it do it do it do it do it do it!
I don’t wanna.
Take every excuse outlined above and I can provide a two-hour-long self-berating rant on the subject. After about 40 years of talking to myself that way, I decided I had finally had enough, and I knocked it off. It has been a blessed sigh of relief in my life, like freedom from a bad marriage. And it never worked anyway, in terms of motivation.
Still, there is a middle ground somewhere—except that finding a middle ground has never been my strong suit.
What I hate about “fitness articles” is that they oversimplify along the lines of Nike’s famous ad campaign: “Just do it.”
There is a lot of truth in that slogan. But it also feeds into things like fat-shaming, because the implication is that if someone is overweight, it’s because they are just too damn lazy to get off the couch. That’s part of it, but it ignores things like a lifetime of bad habits, along with downright dysfunctional relationships with food and self-care. It ain’t so easy.
Still, what’s the alternative? So I persevere, going back to the plan and looking for fun ways to get some exercise. And if I didn’t do it perfectly this week, so be it.