By Lisa Rhea
Standing in line to buy a kiddie pool at Walmart last week, I overheard the cashier talking to the woman in front of me. The woman was buying a coke and a box of donuts (in the garden section – quite strange, but that’s beside the point).
The cashier was going on about the type of donuts she was buying, and how she found herself grabbing some every night when she got off work, either that or something from the Little Debbie display.
When I got to the register to buy my son’s plastic pool, the chatty cashier turned the subject to kids and how they will say anything. She started telling me how her grandson had told her she was getting fat. It so happens, she explained, that she had switched medications around the new year and had gained 25 pounds from the meds. I just replied that luckily my son wasn’t talking yet, smiled and took my receipt.
This mentality – playing the blame game, acting a victim, finding a reason beyond yourself – is exactly why most people struggle to lose weight. Of course it was the medication that caused the weight gain, not the nightly routine of eating high calorie snacks. It’s always something else. And for that reason, most people will never feel in control of their health and in charge of their fitness level.
Now I’m not saying that there aren’t outside factors at play, but ultimately YOU control YOU. And once you accept this responsibility, it’s a whole lot easier to wrap your mind around what you need to do to meet your goals.
And you know what – maybe you’ll realize your goals aren’t worth the effort it’s going to take to get there, and that’s okay too.
I had a woman tell me that weight loss had become so frustrating, she had just come to terms with being the “fat mom.” That it was easier than constantly struggling and being upset. I respect this a whole lot more than hearing excuses. She knew she wasn’t working out. She knew she could eat better. She wasn’t blaming the kids or other factors in life. And once she decides to make herself a priority, she will find success because she’s made one important realization. She’s not a victim. She is the one in charge.
This concept carries over to everything in life. We all know the people on Facebook who put up all their “woe is me” and cryptic-attention-seeking posts to garner sympathy. It’s not just concerning fitness and weight. We hear about when their car breaks down. When they lose their keys. When they order the wrong sandwich. And it’s NEVER their fault.
I like to watch Shark Tank and on the last episode, one of the investors said that the difference she saw in successful entrepreneurs was how long they felt sorry for themselves when bad things happened. This goes for business, fitness, for life in general.
I’ve had plenty of bumps on the road, but you won’t hear me whining about them, because when I see a problem, I fix it. I don’t want sympathy, I want my lot to change, and that only comes by taking responsibility, making decisions and acting.
I couldn’t afford college – I worked hard and got a scholarship. I was in a toxic relationship – I got out. I lost my job – I got a new one. I had loved ones repeatedly treat me like crap – I cut ties. I was overweight – I got healthy.
It isn’t always easy. Some decisions are hard to make. Some actions come with a lot of self-doubt. But it has to be done to move forward. Had I not made some hard choices, I wouldn’t have the life that I love today. I have had some good fortune, yes and I’m incredibly grateful for every bit of it, but I’ve also put in a lot of work.
And I’ve also made mistakes, but I took responsibility, learned and moved on. And it’s all due to having the right mindset. You have to stop playing the victim.
It’s not just what you tell others, it’s what you tell yourself. If you’re always looking for excuses and passing blame, you’re not looking for how to improve your life. Even if you’re not making changes, just knowing you can is important.
For example, the other day I was talking about my pregnancy weight gain thus far. Sure, I’m pregnant, but there’s a good reason my butt is growing along with my belly – I’ve been eating a lot more treats. I acknowledge this and I’m okay with it. I’ll get the weight off after the baby comes. But it’s my decisions, my actions and my response to my current condition that caused the extra fluff, not the pregnancy.
So if you’re unhappy with how you look or your level of health, how are YOU going to change that?
Let’s address some of those “reasons” you’re unable to lose weight.
You have a bad back, knee, shoulder, etc.
Welcome to the club. If you’re over 30 and something doesn’t hurt, you’re in the minority. So your knee, back, whatever hurts. First – have you been to the doctor? If you haven’t tried to figure out why something hurts, that’s the obvious first step. Second, have you actually done the work to try to repair it? Rehab isn’t fun, but it’s necessary. And lastly, what else can you do instead? Unless your doctor has told you to sit your butt on the couch, there’s something you could be doing.
Need some inspiration? Watch the Invictus Games. There are disabled service men and women out there training harder that you, so tell me again why you can’t work out?
You don’t have time.
We are all busy, but like Jaime said in her last post, you have to make yourself a priority. You may not have an hour a day to hit the gym, but you can do something. Here’s a test. Keep track of every time you go on social media. Every time you check your Facebook feed or Instagram. Add up the time you spend surfing the internet or watching TV. My guess is you could find plenty of time to be active.
Start thinking outside the box. Instead of worrying about getting to the gym, find ways to increase your activity. Every couple of hours, walk the steps in your office building. Go for a walk on your lunch break. Check your Facebook while riding a spin bike. You can do something to increase your activity. If you’re someone who likes more intense workouts, we have a ton of at-home, quick circuits on this blog. Get up 15-20 minutes earlier and knock one out before you start your day. There’s something you can do.
You have tried every diet and nothing works.
I do believe we can destroy our metabolisms through certain fad diets, but that just means we need to patiently eat properly to restore them. And that only applies to a small minority of people.
I am guessing that you’re not truly watching what you eat day-in and day-out for an extended period of time before determining nothing works. More likely, you hopped on some fad diet and saw some initial results, then either plateaued or lost the gusto and gained back the weight.
Stop looking for the next great thing. You don’t need a pill, an expensive daily shake or any magic eating plan to lose weight. You just need to consistently eat healthy foods in moderation. Chances are you’re eating far more calories that you think.
Are you still drinking sugary juices, coffees, adult beverages and sodas? If you really want to lose weight, stop. Are you adding unnecessary fats to your meals – pats of butter, a slice of cheese, condiments etc.? We easily underestimate the calories these little extras. Track your food for awhile before you decide that nothing works.
It doesn’t always require a complete overhaul. Sometimes small changes make a big impact. Or you may realize you’re not willing to make the changes needed to lose the extra pounds, and that’s okay too. But it’s there is a big difference between saying you can’t lose weight and you don’t want to make the sacrifices necessary to lose those pounds.
You don’t know where to start.
Okay, I can understand this. There is a lot of conflicting information out there. The good news is, you are on our blog! And there is a ton of free information here – from how to eat, how to train and what to do to stay on track. Check out these great articles to get started.
Again, stop looking for a supplement, detox or a three-week fix. If you really want to take charge, educate yourself and take action.
This post isn’t mean to insult you or make you feel bad about yourself, and I’m certainly not trying to say I’m better than anyone else. It’s meant to empower you, to motivate you to take the reigns and start making your life what you want it to be. That’s my point – if I can do it, so can you.
Stop giving the daily ups and downs in life control. Don’t seek sympathy, instead revel in your ability to beat the odds, to handle whatever life throws at you with ease, to persevere and be resilient.
If you want to make a change, you can.