We all have made an excuse at some point or another in our life (chance are, we’ve made MULTIPLE ones). Often times, they are said to other people to avoid disappointing them, to ask for pity for ourselves, or because we’re too ashamed to own up to whatever it is that we fell short of. Sure, “the dog ate my homework” seemed innocent enough when you forgot to do your homework one night, but excuses are becoming more and more widespread in a different area of our lives: health. And the worst part? We’re saying them to ourselves. We’re trying so hard to convince ourselves that we can’t even start so why even try.
Here are the 6 worst excuses I’ve heard RECENTLY, and why I think we need to get out of our own heads for each one and ignore our victimizing attitudes. (To be honest, I had more but this post was getting long). I’m not going to lie, I struggle with excuses everyday. I’m a busy bee (and yup, that one’s on the list). What’s your excuse and what are you going to do to change it?
1. It’s too expensive to be healthy, so I’m a victim of circumstance…
I’m not going to lie, this mentality gets to me too sometimes– especially since I was first a budget shopper/cooker and now have been focusing on healthy eating. But the truth is– it doesn’t have to be this way. One of my favorite blogs, 100 Days of Real Food, even did another 100 day challenge for herself where she limited her food budget to an amount that readers voted on. I believe she ended up feeding her family of four for about $5-6 per person, per day. AND she still was able to afford her special local milk her family loves– which is $30 a week. She’s living proof that with some dedication and planning, it can be done. But you don’t have to be super mom to have a healthy lifestyle on a budget.
Think of it this way: how much do you spend eating out or eating fast food? Sometimes we trick ourselves by not including our eating out budget with our food budget– but $5+ at Wendy’s per person sure adds up when really, cooking for your family can often yield meals that are mere dollars per serving. LOVE this picture below.
2. I wish I could, but I just don’t have the time…
So you read the above and are like “Well, cooking is fine and dandy if you have the time,” or even that you don’t have time or energy to exercise. Yes, that drive-thru is very enticing during a rushing moment, but actually “fast food” isn’t as “fast” as you thought it would be.
Jamie Oliver from Food Revolution proved this point in one of his episodes where he had a single dad of two boys run out and pick up their typical dinner. While the father was gone, the boys (with the help of Jamie, of course), cooked a very wholesome and delicious meal. The dad’s mind was blown when he got back to see the table already set with a meal he never dreamed of being so easy. (I wish I had a clip. If I can find it, I’ll post it).
The truth is, it only takes about 20-30 minutes to make a good, healthy, decent meal. You don’t have to make crazy fancy things that take over an hour for you to do something worthwhile for yourself. And as for exercise, sometimes 20 minutes is all you need to get a good sweat. How long did you get lost on Facebook or Pinterest the other day? Longer than 20 minutes? Heck, 20 minutes is shorter than an episode of a sitcom on Hulu (with the ads in between). Why not do jumping jacks or jog in place while watching? Apparently the average American watches 4 hours of TV a DAY. Do you really lack the time to make an effort for healthy choices, or are you really just not seizing the opportunity?
Yes, we’re all busy, but we can make small changes that take hardly any time. And planning ahead helps. Laying out your workout clothes the night before or putting together a crock pot meal to put on before you leave in the morning could be the difference that changes your life.
3. I can’t work out because of XYZ…
We all have our limitations. But recently I’ve learned that the phrase “if there’s a will, there’s a way” is VERY accurate, especially in the area of health. I heard of an obese woman who had terrible knees, but bought mobile, stationary bike pedals. She used them just for her arms (while also working on her diet habits) and eventually lost enough weight off her joints to start pedaling. Now she rides a real bike!
Jackson from this season’s Biggest Loser is also a testament to this. Apparently he was acidotic and so after very vigorous workouts (which is what the Biggest Loser is all about), he’d seriously get nauseated and often puke. Yeah… not fun. Probably very unappealing and uncomfortable. But now, he’s lost over 90 lbs and will be at the Biggest Loser Finale!
There are usually options for most situations, and if there aren’t, then your determination can carry you through them. It’s the “CAN’T” mentality that will keep you from achieving your goals, not necessarily your ailment or excuse.
And before you think I’m crazy about viewing pukey-Mcgee as a workout role model (And I say that with love, because I adore Jackson), please note that he was heavily supervised by medical physicians. If you do have an ailment or physical issue that prevents you from do a lot of things that could help toward your health goals, definitely talk to your physician and come up with a plan of action together. Doing things on your own when you have health issues can create bigger issues, so make sure you do it right and consult a doctor.
4. I’m comfortable in my own skin and am very happy with how I look…
Body image is an important issue to get a handle on no matter what size you are. But the truth is, health isn’t necessarily about vanity. Sure, it seems like our society links the two pretty closely together, but it’s not the end all be all. There are skinny people who have high cholesterol. They still need to get healthy just as much as someone who is obviously overweight. Don’t let your confidence in your beauty (which is great!) deter you from making good choices that could save your life.
Beauty is only skin deep. I’m the first one to say I think full-figured women are beautiful and you don’t need to be stick thin. But what’s beyond the skin? Sure, that saying is meant to be more geared toward personality, attitude, etc. But what about what’s even deeper? Heart health. Blood Sugar. Cholesterol. Kidneys.
This is the best example of this idea I’ve ever seen, which first opened my eyes to this concept. I worked at a Christian healthcare sharing ministry right out of college, and if members didn’t meet a certain criteria, they were put on a program with a health coach (the same coaches who turned me on to Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead). Anywho, you have to watch this video just for this lady’s story. She’s skinny, loves to exercise, but had high cholesterol because of family genetics. In 8 weeks, her life was completely changed, just by making some changes to her lifestyle.
5. I’m trying, but I have to keep the junk food (or whatever certain item) in the house for my kids or husband…
Please answer me this: if you’re not willing to put something into your body because you know it’s going to harm it, whether it’s overly greased up food or processed poison chock full of chemicals and hormones, why would you give that to the people you love most? Sure, you don’t want to be obnoxious and force some drastic way of living on your family when you’re trying to get healthy, but small healthy changes go a long way. There are people who make themselves healthy salads, but then run their kids by the drive-thru and then even pick off some of their fries…basically sabotaging themselves and enabling their kids at the same time. WHAT?
Yes, healthy changes can be hard for everyone, but we have a responsibility to the ones we love to help each other be the best we can be. Not only does keeping tons of bad food around you set you up for failure, but you’re basically saying you don’t care about the health of your family. There’s a happy medium everywhere. But you don’t need to keep boxes of Hostess cakes (RIP) and bags of chips for you children’s lunches everyday when you’re all trying to live healthier lives. Find a way to make healthy choices for the entire family– not just you. You’ll have better success personally, and your family will be better for it.
6. The good Lord will take me home whenever he sees fit, regardless of what I eat…
This one hurts me the most, and in the past couple of months, I’ve heard it said multiple times. Yes, it’s true we don’t know when we’re going to die. Yes, even the healthiest of people can have issues or die young. But that is no excuse to disrespect your own body. If God is really in your excuse for the way you’re treating yourself, then it should serve as the opposite because the Bible says our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. I’ve had that verse drilled into my head as a kid in regards to premarital sex and drugs. But why don’t people add on the way we treat our bodies with everyday things— like cheeseburgers. I’m pretty sure the Holy Spirit doesn’t appreciate swimming around in your grease bath.
All kidding aside, it’s a real issue in the Christian community. We celebrate with potlucks of fried and mayonnaise ridden food and then commence to over eat at said potluck. But have you ever thought that the way you eat could be a disrespect to God?
If you’re eating whatever you want to be “happy” despite the fact that you’re well on your way to diabetes or a heart attack, you’re basically acting like an 8-year-old kid who took his brand new bike and threw it on the driveway after playing with it once, and then watched it get hit by the car when his dad backed out to go to work that day. If you were that kid, chances are your parents would run outside and say, “Look how you treated this gift we’ve given you! Don’t disrespect your father’s hard earned money like that. This is why we can’t have nice things!”
Does God want us to be happy and enjoy food? Of course. But he wants us to respect ourselves and be healthy. After all, say God decided you’re supposed to live 80 years so you can do some awesome work for him. However, you ate like crap, didn’t exercise and are now 350 lbs and can’t even walk on your own.You won’t be able to live out the purpose put out before you because you sabotaged yourself.
In the parable of the talents where a boss entrusts some of his workers with money and saw how some of them squandered, buried or invested it, the point is driven home that if you can’t be trusted with a little, why would you be trusted with a lot? Taking care of your body is a basic task that we all need to take responsibility for. If you can’t be trusted to honor your body in a healthy way, what makes you think God will use you for some incredible purpose that could change lives?
That being said, just don’t use God as an excuse for anything. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t appreciate it, no matter how you try to rationalize it.
Let’s just all do ourselves a favor and chuck our excuses. Mine was the time and money one. It’s a struggle, but I’ve learned to make it work and am learning new things everyday. Am I perfect at it? Definitely not. But I’m trying and sometimes, that’s better than nothing.
What excuse do you have that you’re trying to chuck?