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I recently had a conversation with a member about her progress at the gym. Her goal was to lose weight, which she was, but not as quickly as she had hoped. I messaged her to schedule a time to come in and talk with me so we could come up with a plan to help her succeed moving forward.

She replied that she was busy with work, stressed about her new job, and feeling overwhelmed by prepping and having too much variety with her meals. She said “I know they’re just a bunch of excuses.” I replied that these things were normal problems that everyone deals with and that they were not excuses but actual obstacles. Obstacles that we would deal with and overcome together. Your excuses are not excuses if you don’t know how to deal with them or have a plan in place to deal with them.

When we met we worked out a collaborative plan to simplify things. We took a few steps back from food preparation and came up with just a few, simple, go-to food choices to help her stay on track with nutrition. As for her work schedule, we worked through a few other strategies to help her when she was unable to make it to the gym, such as a custom workout for her to do at home without weights. We then set a time to check on her progress again in the future.

Then we talked about her progress which was more an issue of managing expectations. For someone of her body type and with her busy schedule, losing 1lb a week was in fact amazing progress. If you are struggling and don’t have the time, adjust your expectations. If you are super stressed about work or family, adding the extra stress of losing weight probably will not help. Reframing the goals to a process (e.g., workout 4 times a week for 30 min) that will help the outcome (e.g., lose 10lbs in 3 months) will help keep you focused but put less pressure on yourself.

Having realistic expectations and a plan in place will help you to not be so hard on yourself. Saying “I don’t have time”, “I can’t afford it”, or “I’m not coordinated enough”, are not excuses if you don’t know how to overcome these things or have a plan in place. However, not working to overcome these obstacles is an excuse. We all face problems and challenges daily and have to learn ways to overcome them. It’s a part of growing as a person and learning new things. If we can overcome our challenges we can become stronger because of them. Don’t let your excuses rule who you are or who you want to become - but don’t be to hard on yourself and allow yourself some slack. Work on overcoming your actual excuses and you will become unstoppable.

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