I began thinking about that question after fit mom Maria Kang received an onslaught of hateful comments regarding the photo she posted of herself with her three small sons under the caption that read the same: “What’s Your Excuse?” Personally, I have nothing but admiration for this woman who obviously works really hard at maintaining her fabulous physique. Besides, I’m too busy drinking haterade over women who seem like they fall out of bed skinny every day without even trying. As I suspected, Kang’s journey to weight loss and fitness is quite exceptional. Unlike most mothers, she actually credits her pregnancy as the mitigating solution to her weight problem after struggling with eating disorders that caused severe damage to her metabolism. My battle with weight loss, on the other hand, has been remarkably dull and I don’t even have any children to use as an excuse. As a child I was almost painfully thin and I remained slender throughout most of my twenties. It’s when I gradually reached over 150lbs by my mid-thirties that I started reading articles about nutrition and fitness so I could find a healthy and sensible way to lose weight. I settled on the South Beach Diet and Turbo Jam, a combination of dance, kickboxing and strength training workouts that I enjoyed enough to consistently commit 45 minutes of my day at least 3-4 times a week. However, I started my weight loss program at a point in my life when I could start my workouts at 8 or 9 am. I also had more leisure time to plan and prepare meals. The digestive problems I developed from excessive drinking and emotional stress kept me especially motivated to stay on course. In six months I dropped 3 dress sizes and I kept the weight off for about a year. I believed I would successfully sustain the lifestyle changes I made to become slimmer, but over time I gained back every pound and then some.
Some of my better eating habits I have kept intact. I acquired a taste for coffee and tea without sugar and gave up fruit juice every morning and soda altogether. I always shop for lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and high fiber foods. I rarely eat fast food and I avoid all processed foods as much as possible. What I didn’t anticipate was that adjusting my eating habits would turn me into an absolute 100% certified foodie! Hell, I’ve practically built my entire social life around Sunday Brunch, Happy Hour, Restaurant Week and Wine and Beer festivals. It’s unfortunate that my metabolism is too slow for my indulgences and I am just barely active enough to burn any excessive calories I might consume. Three times a week I aim to squeeze in a 30-45 minute Turbo Jam workout in the morning, (which in reality takes an hour or more including the time spent dragging myself out of bed, putting on my workout clothes, brushing my teeth, stretching and recovering) but depending on my work schedule or my mood I might abandon the program for the day, the week or sometimes months. If I had to go to the gym, it would never happen. Fitness just isn’t my thing. I don’t negate the health benefits: I sleep better at night, have more energy during the day, and when I’m on point my digestive issues are much easier to handle. Still, I’ve ever experience that “high” some people claim they get from working out. Even seeing results is not so much incentive for me to work harder as much as a terrific indication to start slacking off. My primary motivation for diet and exercise is vanity, pure and simple and my vanity is no match for the lure of temptation. Whoever said “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” must not have been dining at the right places.
I joke about being lazy even though I walk about 6 blocks to and from work every day, frequently take the stairs, and have been known to go on five-hour shopping excursions without so much as blinking an eye. The truth is, my physical fitness is only marginally connected to my mental or spiritual fitness. I only wish I had the kind of discipline fitness requires so I could apply it to the rest of my life. Disciplined people are never late, their homes are always clean and they are typically at the top of their game professionally. Granted, some of them are consumed by work and they tend to post excessively about their Zumba, Cross Fit or Boot Camp classes on Facebook, but they do know how to set a goal, commit to it, and get things done. It’s the quality I most admire about people like Kang and my favorite love guru, Matthew Hussey. It’s why I continue to check his blog for dating advice even if I can’t bring myself to follow through on some of it. His method of meeting men requires a resolute plan of action and it’s a lot easier to bitch about the failures of online dating than confront the reasons for my own lack of effort. Thankfully he’s coming to Philadelphia on February 16th, so even if I have another lonely Valentine’s Day, I will at least have something to keep me motivated on my quest.
Excuses, excuses. No matter how legitimate they may be, they are probably holding you back. If you are waiting until you lose more weight, have more time, feel less hopeless or afraid before seeking the love life you want, I implore you to reconsider. When I decided not to apply for tenure at my previous position one of my friends told me he wished he had an equally legitimate excuse to quit his job. I told him to stop waiting for the perfect time because it would most likely never come. My words must have inspired him because he sold his house, quit his job and moved in with his girlfriend who lived clear across the country. He is now an engaged graduate student studying green energy solutions and I don’t think he’s ever been happier. I truly believe when you are on the right path and you act with determination, no matter how unlikely your objective, your faith will provide you with solutions.
No more excuses, people. The time is now.