Don’t debate the excuses, look for the reason behind them

You’ll see a lot of fitness memes built on the premise that other people are saying they don’t have the time. And the memist heroically, for an audience that entirely agrees with them, pointing out that’s bullshit.

The thing with excuses is that even the excuser knows it’s bullshit. The difference between an excuse and an explanation is an excuse is an act of theatre. Speaker and listener have to buy in to make it real and when you confront the excuse on its terms you’re buying into its reality. You’re hoping to defeat a lie by first pretending it’s true.

Don’t negotiate with the lie.

In a few books and videos I’ve heard about Dr Vincent Felitti who ran a weight loss experiment a few years ago. All the subjects lost weight, quickly and easily. Then a lot of them dropped out and gained it back. And that ordered is correct, they dropped out of a successful weight loss program as if in order to gain it back. When Felitti followed up he found that a startling amount of the participants had been sexually assaulted in the past. Their weight was a defense mechanism. Overweight is overlooked, one of them said, and that’s how I need to be.

Everyone has a good enough idea how to be healthy, good enough to get started anyway, the excuses are there to protect an identity, an ego, pride, a wound, something. Sometimes it’s that they see themselves as fun person and have an image of working out as being too serious, sometimes they pride themselves on being unhealthy because it’s live fast, die young (which become the type of people who panic at the first little health scare… pussies), or maybe – and you shouldn’t assume this – they want to be invisible, they feel like they’re less than a normal person.

Exercise does wonders for depression, being told to exercise does not.

We – who have lost weight, gotten stronger, made money, fixed relationships, sobered up, whatever and etc – think that we’re doing good by telling people to take the steps we took. Done. Period. Simple. Just do what we did.

But even people coming out of the same hole are in there for different reasons, and they’re going to need a different why to get out. To overcome somethings you have to get behind yourself and push and you can’t do that if someone is already tugging on you. It’s up to us who have advice, who do have something to offer, to listen first, to listen not scanning for what to fix but listen so that people feel heard.


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