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Monday, January 23, 2012

What's your excuse???

Right about now the new has worn off those resolutions. It's a little harder.  Maybe you're going a little longer between workouts. Maybe you're eating a little more than you were at first. I know how it goes. Two years ago I never worked out. Two years ago I was 75 pounds heavier. I can't tell you what made me do it, but I can tell you I just decided.  It's not like I didn't know what to do. I just never did it. I had ALL sorts of excuses for why I couldn't eat right and exercise.

Over the last 2 years the thing that surprised me most is how much I really do enjoy exercise now that I do it consistently. These days I'm working out 5-6 days a week, sometimes twice a day.  I have 3 kids and a full time career.  I have a very busy life, but I made the decision that my health was worth the sacrifice. I get up early for a cardio workout most days. I have a stationary bike and some weights at home. I also have videos and a treadmill. In fact I have a WHOLE collection of exercise do-dads collected over the years as I made resolutions year after year. All of them were gathering dust, but not anymore.

On top of that I started Taekwondo classes.  I go to class a minimum of twice a week. I am now half way to black belt. I don't know how long it will take me to get there, but I am absolutely determined to do it. That's going to take comittment and healthy eating and more weight loss. I have to be in better shape than I am now. That's OK. I'm not planning on going anywhere. I plan to be around working toward my goals for a VERY long time. And now.....there's a much better chance I'll make it.

I know what you're thinking. "Yeah, but...." I've used every excuse in the book to talk myself out of exercise. I didn't realize it at the time, but now I recognize it. Even now working out is sometimes a drag. I don't bound out of bed everyday and hop to it. No.....I STILL have to fight myself some days to get the workouts done. Even though I know how much better I feel. Even though I know if I don't do it I won't lose weight. AND even though I KNOW that once I get going I'll enjoy it.

I've complied a list of excuses I've used. Maybe you'll recognize a few of your own here. I can say this: Do.Not.Wait.  There will always be something standing in your way. ALWAYS. That's life. If you let it, it will rob you of your chance to have a longer healthier one. Make a commitment. SCHEDULE your work outs and stick to the schedule.

Here's a few of things I've used to justify NOT exercising:
I'm too fat. People will look at me. I might hurt myself. I don't have time. I'm too tired. Exercise is just not my thing. I'll never be skinny anyway. I have too much to do. I should be spending time with my family. I just need some alone time for me.

It's too hot. It's too cold. It's too windy. I can't find my shoes. I forgot my shoes. I need new shoes. My friend said she'd go with me and then backed out. If only I had an "accountability partner".  I'll lose a little weight first, then it will be easier and I can really focus on exercise.(huh?) It's too late at night. It's too early. I'm not sure what to do. I don't know HOW to do it. I don't have a gym membership. I have a gym membership but I'm too embarrassed to go.

My work out clothes are too tight. My work out clothes are too loose. My workout clothes aren't fashionable enough. My workout clothes are too nice and I might get them too sweaty. (No, really I actually had this thought once)

  I'm sick. I'm getting sick. I MIGHT get sick. I might get hurt. My back/ neck/knee/ankle/leg/elbow/3rd finger/ left big toe hurts. I have a migraine. I MIGHT get a migraine. It's too noisy in the gym. It's too crowded at the gym. There's not enough people there and the trainers will all be looking at me.  I'll have to take the kids to the childcare center and I'm already a working Mom, so I should spend more time with my kids. I should be spending time with my husband/pet/mom/cousin/neighbor.

My closet is a mess. Laundry. Dishes. Kids homework. My homework. I deserve a break. I've lost so much weight and am achieving my goals so I deserve a day off. (pretty twisted one, right?)  I'll start on Monday. I'll start on the weekend. I'll start after this semester/project at work/the busy season at work.  I'll start after the holiday/birthday/kid's birthday/trip/summer break/spring break/cruise/vacation/doctor's appointment. I'm depressed. I'm just in too good of a mood. (really??) I'm too hungry and I won't have time to workout AND eat (oh my!).

I'm on my feet all day at work and I never sit down so I'm REALLY active. I "ran late" at work. I have a meeting. I'm just too darned busy. By the end of the day, I work so hard I just don't have the energy to do it.

I've got my period. I'll be getting my period soon. I'm bloated. I'm dehydrated.  I don't want to have to change clothes and shower again. I forgot clean underwear/socks/my makeup/shampoo/pony tail holder/gym membership card.  I might be over training. I might get big muscles. I might not be building enough muscles anyway. EVERYONE needs a rest day.

I'll do it later. I'll catch up on my workouts over the weekend. I overslept. I slept too much. I didn't sleep enough. I forgot to track my food anyway today(how this relates to me working out, I don't know) I just can't face another workout. I screwed up my training schedule so I might as well wait until tomorrow and get back on track.  I'm really hungry. I just ate. I forgot my water bottle and I have no money. (Umm...can you say water fountain?)

My cell phone battery is really low so I can't listen to my music. I don't have my headphones. My headphones are broken. I never have time to make me a good playlist for working out. I forgot the book I was reading when working out.  I just want time to read my book.

I have diarrhea. I'm constipated. I have a rash. I might get a rash. I need gas (for the car, silly).  I have a flat tire.(OK so that one should probably be acceptable). I really wanted to DRIVE THROUGH the car wash (while sitting on my butt of course).

I don't want to make my husband feel guilty since he's NOT working out. (seriously!?!)  I don't want my BFF to be jealous if I work out MORE than her. (good lord) My BFF is so much BETTER at working out that me. I'll never be an athlete anyway.  Once I start I'll have to keep going or I won't STAY in shape (most twisted one EVER!!)

I SWEAR!  If I'd spent half the amount of time working out as I have spent finding reasons why I couldn't or shouldn't work out, I'd be at my goal weight by now.

Learn to recognize an excuse when you "hear" yourself make one. Spend more time thinking of ways to make getting in a workout easier and removing obstacles. Spend a little time planning workouts into your schedule and then treat it like you would a business meeting or doctor's appointment. That time should be committed  to exercise and if anyone or anything tries to interfere with it, make sure it's important enough that you'd cancel a meeting with your boss/lawyer/doctor/dentist.  Because it's THAT important. Because YOU are THAT important.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


The alarm went off at 6:35am and by 6:44am I was finally opening my eyes and beginning to stretch when I hear it.  Crying. I looked at the clock again and decided that I would indeed be facing this day whether I wanted to or not. Sitting up in bed, I looked up to see my youngest child sniffling and crying. Ready to comfort her from a bad dream or mediate some sort of sibling dispute, I began to ask her what happened when out of her mouth came the statement, " I WANT A DOUGHNUT!"

Shocked and confused as to why the pursuit of a tasty sugared breakfast pastry would make a 6 year old sob, I asked calmly for her to repeat her statement. " I SAID....I WANT A DOUGHNUT."

OK. This is a new one. I have not in 14 years of being a parent ever been roused from bed by a crying child demanding pastry. I have no idea where she got the idea that I had a doughnut to give her in my bed. Perhaps she thought I have a secret stash under my pillow?  After explaining that I do NOT, in fact, posess such a treasure and that if I did I certainly would not deny anyone in such a state of distress, I asked her why in the world she wanted a doughnut.

Apparently 6:47am is not the time for a 6 year old to articulate the rationale for anything as the question made her bawl harder and frankly she became down right angry.  "Because they are GOOD! And I REALLY WANT ONE."'s hard to argue with such logic and I certainly wasn't going to win any debates without coffee. I tried the old standby....distraction.  "Why don't you go watch some TV? I'm so glad you are up early and you even got all dressed. OH I like your new sweater. Isn't it nice? The one Nana got you for Christmas.  Since you were so good at getting dressed, I'll let you watch TV while I shower."

This seemed to confuse her a bit. Mission accomplished. She was only sniffling now and cast a glance at me that said, I  KNOW what you're doing. But....I really want to watch my show. (generally TV in the morning is NOT allowed in my house)  Somewhat reluctantly, she headed off to the living room.  Another parental crisis averted.

Feeling quite impressed with myself and my incredibly intelligent and skilled parenting expertise, I headed off to shower and dress. Fifteen minutes later I emerged clean and dressed and mostly just ready for coffee.  She was sitting on the sofa happily watching some cartoon on PBS, still red eyed from crying, but calm.  My middle daughter had now joined her and was pleased to see the TV on.  I asked the question thinking that it was now safe. "What do you guys want for breakfast?"

Suddenly it was clear to me that my expertise in parenting was not nearly as refined as I had thought. If I had thought that moment through, I would have just quietly gone to the kitchen and prepared her favorite oatmeal. It probably would have done the trick. But, the question.......that question was at once a trigger for what I can only describe as a meltdown.

She looked at me as if I'd lost my mind. Obviuosly she'd been quite clear in her requests for breakfast foods that morning. What the heck was wrong with mom anyway? Had she forgotten English? Did she not KNOW what a doughnut was? WHY is it so hard to understand?  Doughnuts are good. I like them. I want one. And I want it NOW.

Of course none of the above was articulated, but CLEARLY it was implied by the crying and sobbing and chanting of "I want a doughnut. PLEASE I want a doughnut, Mommy."

I calmly sat down next to her on the sofa. I looked lovingly into her eyes and took her into my arms. I told her how much I understood that doughnuts are yummy. I also explained that they are not good for our bodies and they are for special occasions. Today was a Wednesday like any other and did not warrant such recognition.  To this she responded that to HER it was a special day because for HER it was ART day and ART day is SPECIAL!

Alright. Right about now, I've had just about enough of the logical parent tactic. Didn't seem to be working anyway. Time for phase 2: The because I said so.

I told her she was NOT getting a doughnut.  I reminded her that we do NOT eat doughnuts regularly in this house. I can count on one hand the number of times in the last year this child had doughnuts for breakfast. I explained that there is no such thing as a pastry deficiency and that nobody NEEDS a doughnut. Our body needs healthy nutritious food and by God, she was going to have a HEALTHY breakfast before school.

I am happy to say that she seemed to recognize her defeat. She was contemplating all of this and seemed to accept it. We decided  on oatmeal and orange juice. Mission accomplished.  And then.....

"Mommy.  Can I have hot chocolate?"