Take obesity. There are plenty of medical explanations for why someone is obese and can’t lose weight: over-active thyroid, low bone density, slow metabolism, poor nutrition, previous injury, diabetes, psychological distress…the list goes on. One or all of these could be absolutely true in any given situation and I sympathize with the person fighting to overcome them. But the harsh, impartial truth is that finding a reason for your obesity doesn’t make you any less fat. I promise you, gravity isn’t going to feel sorry for your plight and decide to stop pulling. Yet so often this seems to be what people expect. They resign themselves to the status quo and deem it acceptable because some white coat wrote them a prescription. Their explanation becomes a psychological crutch that cannot be scrapped.
I used to wonder how many people could use busy-ness as an excuse for not exercising. No joke, I heard it at least 6 times a week during personal training sessions and every time it was the sincerest plea. “I’ve been swamped at work,” or “Things have just been crazy lately.” You mean people have to work for a living and sometimes that makes them tired and tight on time? Never heard of such a thing. Things are always about to “calm down” or “lighten up.” Such excuses are the purest form of psychological masturbation. They do absolutely nothing to break the barriers between you and your goals, but, rather, serve only to make you feel better about not reaching them.
I love fitness because it’s a results-based pursuit, the purest form of meritocracy. You set goals and you reach them. Or you don’t. No list of excuses will ever change the fact that you didn’t make the time, lose the weight, or prevent the heart attack. SO STOP MAKING THEM. Some people have it harder than others, I grant you. Tough shit. The mirror doesn’t care and neither do I. If the individual reaps the benefit, then so too must he shoulder the burden. Whatever the challenge, just get it done.
Originally published to anywherefit on 18 August 2010.