The original post was published on Tuesday, 26 June 2012 on RxGirl.com. It is difficult to read on the site, so I have copied and pasted the article here for you to read.
As a physician and fitness professional I constantly encounter people who suffer from something I like to call “excusitis”. It is not uncommon for a patient to lament over her excess weight, using the fact that she has had children as an excuse for refusing to take charge over her life. Another common scenario is the man who is just entering middle age and is despondent over his growing belly, yet has no intention of giving up his preference for daily treks to fast food establishments. The list goes on and on, but every rationalization I have heard has been based on skewed logic and entrenched in a basic refusal to take ownership in a person’s own responsibility for not being in shape.
I understand that making a decision to be healthy and fit can be very challenging because it requires a person to be held accountable for unhealthy patterns and behaviors. This is complicated by the fact that the American diet is so heavily reliant on processed foods that most people have trained their brains and bodies to hold onto fat and function at a suboptimal level. To be truly fit, a mental shift must occur which motivates oneself to obliterate the old patterns which have served as a blockade to attaining better health. Initially these lifestyle changes can be daunting since they are in opposition to how the person has become accustomed to living. However, if one persists in adopting healthy behaviors, cravings for unhealthy foods will dissipate and a transformation of mind will occur, with the body soon following along.
Excuses are an easy way out and are reflective of the pervasive message which society sends out. What do I mean by this? If you think about all the fad diets, diet pills, and other weight loss gimmicks which are on the market, it is no surprise that many individuals are threatened by the idea of being proactive about their own health and fitness. Without sugar-coating it, lifelong fitness and wellness rely on a foundation which takes time to establish and which require commitment on the part of the individual.
I find that by sharing before and after photos and transformation stories of individuals who have lost a tremendous amount of weight or battled cancer only to stand later as a beacon of optimal health and fitness, I can often impact patients and clients in a very powerful way. The stories I share are of ordinary people who were often in horrific shape prior to deciding to take a proactive stance on their own health, many of whom are now fitness professionals who serve as incredible inspiration for others. Once I share transformation stories with a patient or client, I set specific goals and monitor their progress within a program. For those who cannot afford to see a physician, dietitian, trainer or coach, there are a multitude of resources available now, from online training and food logs to online support groups which will help a person to stay on track.
If you have been vacillating between taking charge of your life and wallowing in self-pity, it is time to stop making excuses and choose the former. You will be rewarded with better health, greater vitality, a more fit body and a boost in self-confidence. It’s a win-win situation.