Fitness

Enough with the Excuses…

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We all have this vision of the “perfect” version of ourselves. We also all have our own definition of perfection. I think that the saying “You are your own worst critic,” couldn’t be any more accurate. It doesn’t matter what it applies to (school, work, athletic ability, appearance, etc…) We are all on a journey to better ourselves, whether we realize it or not. So ask yourself this. If you’re truly being honest with yourself, is the effort you’re putting in, equal to the outcome you’re expecting? Whatever the “perfect” version of yourself goes to school for, does for a living, accomplishes in the gym or looks like, can you honestly tell yourself that you are doing everything in your power to reach him or her? Personally speaking, there is one major reason that comes to mind when I think about why I’m not progressing as quickly as I would like. That reason is EXCUSES. They’re like little gremlins that just looove to get in my way; but excuses don’t make themselves, any more than guns kill people. I MAKE EXCUSES; PEOPLE kill PEOPLE. I KNOW I could give more effort and get more results, so why do I keep making excuses?

Rehashing the choices that I have made in the past is not going to help me. There’s no rewind button. Life has ups and downs and I believe that to a certain extent, we have some ability to control them by simply making better choices. My goal is relatively simple. I have a vision in my mind of what I’d like to look like. If excuses weren’t a thing, if they never even existed, I bet I’d be there already. Unfortunately, excuses are VERY MUCH a real thing and all too common in today’s world.. (UGH. SUCKS, amirite?!) I acknowledge that I don’t give it 100%, 24/7. I’m noticeably happier on the days that I do. I KNOW what I want, I know what I need to do to get it, so why in the world am I not doing it consistently? That’s the thought that eats at me.

I’ve heard things like, “You’re crazy Erin, you look great. I don’t know what you’re complaining about, I’d love to look like you”. Someone will tell me that I’m looking “buff” or “strong”, and for a fleeting moment, I feel joy. I think to myself, “Okay, well, maybe I really do look different.” Unfortunately, that feeling is quickly replaced by self judgement because in my mind, the “perfect” version of Erin is still way the hell out in the distance. The truth is, people can compliment me all day long (LOL.), but regardless of what they say, I’m ALWAYS going to find something to beat myself up about because again, I am my own worst critic.. I’m never going to reach my definition of perfection. Even bikini and physique competitors will tell you that they’re never satisfied. Once they reach what they originally thought would be “perfect”, they realized they can do more and more and ALWAYS keep improving. You know what they don’t do though? They don’t make excuses, at least, not nearly as much or as often as I do.

See, we tend to want things but we aren’t willing to put in the work required to get them. In today’s society, the “quick and easy” way sells.  The best things in life are the things that you earn, not the things that are handed to you. I know that I’m not alone in my goal. There are LOTS and LOTS of people that would like to look different. I’ve put in effort, but I’m capable of MORE. I think you would probably agree that you can do more too. We can lie to ourselves all we want, it’s not going to fix the problem. We can tell ourselves that we’re doing everything we can to reach a certain goal, but are we really? What is that saying? “Don’t be upset by the results you didn’t get with the work you didn’t do.” Ouch, hits ya right in the gut, don’t it?

I’ve always been critical of the way that I look and I have a bad habit of comparing myself to others. What good is that going to do me? (Oh, yeah, that’s right, IT’s NOT) Sooo the question becomes, am I too hard on myself? OR do I go too easy? I’d say I’ve been giving it about 75% for the majority of the last 3 years. I slack on a workout every now and then because “I’m not feeling it”. I skip cardio because “I’m tired”, or because “I. Just. Don’t. Like it”. (The voice of reason in my head is screaming, “YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIKE IT, ERIN! YOU’VE JUST GOT TO DO IT” but my excuses muffle her words). I’ve eaten unplanned cheat meals, countless times and the feeling of guilt I feel afterwards is suffocating. One “bad” meal is not going to destroy your “diet” but how many times a week do you tell yourself that? Like “they” say, “you can’t out exercise a bad diet”. The Macro diet is fantastic because you don’t feel as cheated as you do on a traditional diet, but it definitely can still be difficult. It’s not failproof. You still have to count EVERYTHING. It still takes effort. There are a bajillion and one different choices I could have made over the past few years, but I’ve made excuses instead. Yeah, I’ve made progress. I’m not trying to discredit what I have accomplished. Slow progress is STILL PROGRESS, but we have to take responsibility for our decisions. ENOUGH with the excuses. They stop NOW.

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Now that I’m working on my NASM certification, I’ve been approached more about dieting and exercise questions. *(I LOVE getting questions and WELCOME them because… well, PRACTICE makes PERFECT!)* There was one instance where a girl came to me on the brink of tears. She was talking about how unhappy she is with the way she looks. She said she’s always been on the heavier side but just recently realized that something needs to change. She asked me if I would help her with an exercise routine. We started talking about what my favorite exercises are and what I eat. I felt happy and excited for her. Making that decision is a huge step and I was and still am ready to help her whenever she says the word. I’m telling you this to get to the point that not even an hour later, I was being invited out for a greasy burger and fries, BY THE SAME GIRL. In another instance, a friend was telling me that she’s really struggling with her diet and doesn’t know why she’s not losing weight– I KID YOU NOT– as she pulled out a KING size bag of skittles from her purse and began to eat it.  I was floored. After my initial shock, I realized that I kind of do the same thing. As women, I believe we tend to attach emotions to our food more than men do. You’re tired? Oh, let’s get something quick. You’re sad? Have some ice cream. You’re stressed? HERE. Drink some wine. You’re angry? Hand over the fork and no one gets hurt. Last Saturday night, after I finished writing the Dieting? These might help! post, I went out to dinner. I knew the brisket tacos I ate fit into my macros, however, the nacho appetizer and 2 big glasses of sangria I drank at Bar Louie later that night definitely DID NOT. I made the excuse that I hardly ever drink, I deserved it. In reality, I shouldn’t have drank it (even though it was OH so delicious) because it’s not going to help me reach my goal. My main goal right now is to lose body fat. Drinking superfluous amounts of calories from sangria, unfortunately, does not aid fat loss. Personally, when I drink alcohol, it puts me into junk food binge mode so I try to avoid it as much as possible.

We make exceptions for instant gratification and how we want to feel NOW as opposed to LATER. We broadcast our excuses as if justifying it to everyone in the room is somehow going to make it go away. My skin crawls when someone feels the need to list everything they’ve eaten “or have hardly eaten” throughout the day to justify that 2500 calorie meal they just consumed. Telling me is not going to change anything. The only opinion that matters is your own. If it fit into your diet, great, why are you still explaining? If it didn’t, what good is explaining going to do? Don’t hold on to it, don’t make excuses, just move on and make better choices next time. I drank the sangria because I simply told myself that “I deserved it.” You know what I really deserve? To be genuinely happy with myself. YOU deserve to be happy with yourself. Make choices that will make you happy in the long run, not just for the next 5 minutes until all the ice cream is gone. One of my favorite fitness quotes is “Don’t give up what you want most, for what you want now.” In other words, don’t sacrifice all the work you’ve put into yourself for that chocolate cake that will put you at a surplus and only last 10 minutes. Everytime I’m about to eat something I shouldn’t, I do 2 things. One, I try to remind myself of how crappy I felt after the last time I gave in to a temptation or a binge. Two, I also remind myself of how proud and great I felt after I withheld from that last temptation. Do your best to focus on the positive feelings.

My reason for this post is not to bum you out. I’m not trying to make you focus on the negative things in your own life or the bad choices that may have been made. What I am trying to do is get you to consider if you’re half-assing it or giving it all you’ve got, no matter what your end goal is. How bad do you want it, whatever it may be? Are you making excuses? Are you giving it 75% or 100%? I don’t know what’s standing in the way of YOUR goals, but I guarantee you that you can conquer it, you just have to TRY. I mean really and truly TRY. If you keep making excuses, you’re only hurting yourself. Perfection is unattainable, but the satisfaction of hard work and going to bed at night knowing that I’ve given it all I’ve got is close enough for me.  Find the one person that you consider to be “perfect”. Ask them if they believe they are perfect? Chances are, they’ll be able to give you a laundry list of things they’d like to change about themselves. Life is short, there’s no time for excuses. My challenge to you is to be honest with yourself. You can’t rewind, you can only move forward. Let go of the past and focus on TODAY. Next time you’re about to make an excuse, bite your tongue, think about what you REALLY want, put in the effort and DO THE WORK. If you can replace just 100 excuses with smart choices, think of HOW MUCH CLOSER you will be to reaching your goal. THAT is when your progress will go from a crawl to full speed ahead.

Until next time…

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I'm an NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist. I worked in a gym setting back in Florida for over 2 years, training one-on-one clients and leading group fitness classes. I absolutely loved it, but once we moved across the country to Colorado, I decided to take the opportunity to pursue a slightly different career! My obsession with exercise and love for writing collided, which is how I became a fitness lifestyle writer.

4 Comments

  1. Dave

    March 7, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    As usual,an excellent post! Keep it up Erin, I am and always have been very proud of you! Everyone on earth has taken time to find their path in life…this blog and personal training are yours!!

  2. Linda

    March 9, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    Awesome thoughts! I may need to read this through out the year to keep me motivated!!!

  3. Stacey Franklin

    April 27, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    I’ve got to tell you, your blog is seriously motivational. I just had a baby and have been really struggling with my self image. This post helped me put things into perspective. Thank you for being so honest about your opinions and personal struggles. Very relatable.

    • Chinups_and_Cupcakes

      April 27, 2015 at 6:45 pm

      Thank you so much Stacey! Congratulations on the new baby! That’s awesome 🙂 I’m glad my thoughts have helped you out! Enjoy being a mommy, I hear it’s one of the greatest jobs in the world 🙂 Thanks again!

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