Health is Hard: Getting Off the Excuse Train

When I decided to take control of my health again some three years ago, I decided I would do it by running.  Unsurprisingly, I came up with many excuses not to start doing it: I don’t have a gym membership, I don’t have time, I’m too exhausted, I don’t have the proper gear, I’m hungry, I’m busy, I’m this, that, blah, blah, blah.  But my favorite excuse was that I didn’t have the proper shoes.

As far as excuses went, this was one of the best, because you absolutely cannot run without proper footwear. This is a must. Proper running shoes prevents injury, and in fitness, avoiding injury is paramount. Furthermore, you need them to be the expensive kind. It is a fact that cheap running shoes will fuck you up. It’s true.  Of all the bullshit excuses you’ll have, this is almost iron tight.

Almost.  The fact is, when you want to get back to exercise, you don’t have to start with running.

While I would still recommend that you get good footwear for exercise, the good ones for working out need not be as expensive as good running shoes. There are a ton of things you can do besides running to get your fitness on.

But let’s assume you got your running shoes.  Or your workout shoes. Whatever. Which happened to me. I got my footwear and that was supposed to be the start of my fitness journey.

It wasn’t. I decided that I would have to be properly attired. Mind you, I wasn’t going to the gym. I had decided that the gym wasn’t the place for me, so I would be doing my workouts at home, or around it. I wouldn’t be caught dead dressed down in Walmart, so dressing down for a workout around my neighborhood was positively inexcusable.

It was already a couple of weeks past my decision to start working out when I just woke up one day and realized that all of my excuses were lame.  Weak sauce. Lazy.

When I finally sat down to think about it, I realized the following things:

  1. I never needed a gym membership. While I tried running around my gated condo community at first, the cold became unbearable and I knew I had to do my workout indoors, but I didn’t need a gym membership for that. DVD workout videos are so much cheaper than a gym membership, and there are dozens of workouts that don’t need more than the basic equipment: a couple of dumbells and a mini-mat. Some don’t even need equipment at all. Just you, a player, and a television;
  2. I have time: in the morning, before going to work. I don’t work late nights and I’d have a decent night’s rest even waking up at 4:30 AM if I just cut my lollygagging around the night before and turn in early (note: resting is not the same as lollygagging. Rest is good. Lollygagging is procrastination). Furthermore, there are great exercise programs that require only 30 minutes of your time. If you can get in 30 minutes of exercise a day, that will do wonders to your health;
  3. am exhausted at night, but not in the morning after a good night’s rest;
  4. have gear. T-shirt? Check. Jogging pants? Check. Do I look like a schlub? Yes, but who the hell cares? It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing, so long as you’re warm and your footwear is appropriate;
  5. I’m never really hungry in the morning, but a banana would be a nice picker-upper before the workout; and
  6. I’m busy, but not literally every minute. If I can find the time to surf on the internet and watch TV, then I can find the time to exercise 30 minutes a day.

Ultimately, I started out my regular exercise routine indoors, and when I got my exercise partner to join me (my husband), we were able to exercise after work, even through the day’s exhaustion, which I learned to stave off through proper diet. A partner to motivate does wonders. And when we did start to run, we did get the proper footwear, but the other stylish running clothes came later. We talked about it between the two of us and decided we should run first, get into the habit, and then buy the clothes.  It was our way of checking our bullshit a the Exercise Door.

When it comes to getting yourself to exercise, the only person who can call you out and make a difference is yourself, then you can start to trim the fat from your arguments and boil it down to its essence: If you really want to, you will.

Bonus excuses and how I handled them:

  1. I’m planning to have another baby – I did plan to have another baby, and I did have another baby, but even determined to have a second child, I was determined to exercise until I was told I can’t.  The thought that I would be adding even more pounds to my weight then worried me in the extreme. So I did lose weight and I did get pregnant, and while I admit that I did stop exercising then (even trying to continue it), I was glad that I kept the mindset throughout my pregnancy that exercise was beneficial to me, because it was easier to get back to exercise once my pregnancy was done.
  2. I have an injury – I did have an injury. After a 4 mile race, I strained/sprained my foot and was out of commission for a month and a half. When injured, it’s IMPERATIVE to let yourself heal completely.  Completely.  There is no way around an injury. If you’re hurt, do no further harm. If you let yourself heal, you will find that getting back to your best exercising self is so much easier and get you back on your health journey stronger.  But it’s important to recognize that your body is healed and you’re ready to get back to work.  Consult with your doctor. Confirm your wellness. When you have your confirmation, you can start telling yourself again that you need to quit the excuses and get back on that exercise trail.

Exercising is hard. Since starting to exercise again after my second pregnancy, I’ve only really lost 16 pounds, but I’m proud of that progress, however long it took me, because my mindset is that of the importance of my health. I’ve staved off my back pain. My core is stronger. I can run farther. I can endure longer.

Don’t let excuses get in the way of your health. You’re better than that.

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