Lesson 10 Make No Excuses

Back to my fitness journal. I think one thing that I have noticed this time that is different from my previous attempts to loose weight, is my determination to be consistent. Maybe cancer taught me this…I am not sure. But every day, even when I don’t feel like it, I have to keep going. With cancer, you have no choice. It is fight or die. Not too hard to decide what to do. On days when you feel awful, it is even more important to get moving so that the disease does not overtake you. You cannot skip treatments because you have to pick up your kids from soccer practice. You cannot miss doctor’s appointments because you have to grocery shop or do laundry. You have to make all of your treatment a priority. Before, I thought I was making myself a priority, but now I see that I had no clue how to do that. For years, I knew I was too busy, with four kids there is no changing that…or so I thought. I mean you can’t exactly give up cooking dinner.
However, cancer taught me that I have a lot more time in my day than I thought, and that Bill and the kids can adapt. It was really more about my expectations of myself than their expectations of me. I wanted to be that Proverbs 31 superwoman, and in my mind she is all about serving others. To do it all, you have to choose to put some things to the side…my choice was myself. Not good. I think many women have made the same choice. Then we cannot understand it when we are not fit and healthy. We start to make excuses. I will start taking care of myself in the summer when school is out. Then, I will start when we get back into a routine in the fall. I cannot exercise because I have too much to do. I don’t have time to fit it in. Or even better, we have a run of good healthy months and then have a bad food day, or week, or month. We throw all our hard work away and give up. Hence the loose/gain weight roller coaster ride. This ride makes us sick and takes a huge toll on our self-esteem. It focuses on the weight, because we imagine that the Proverbs 31 woman must look the part. A godly woman must be thin and beautiful as she saves the world. And when we are not thin we feel less than beautiful. Soon after, we de-value ourselves to the point we cease to care about our health. Do you know what I mean? So when did we start this downward spiral? The day we started making excuses for why we cannot do it.
In reality, it isn’t that we cannot or that we do not have the time…it is that we don’t want to do it. Exercising is one more thing on our long list of things we resent having to do. Ah, now we are getting to the heart of the matter. As mom’s we have to do a lot of things that no one else wants to, grocery shopping every week, cooking meals all the time, laundry. The things we once thought of as fun (in the idealistic beginning) have truly become chores after years. Even when we hand some of it off, it still seems to fall on us to make sure it gets done. The thing is, I chose this life…and I love this life to a point. I would not trade my family for anything and I do love managing my home. However, when the home starts to manage you, there is a problem. When I stop enjoying it and start resenting it, I need to examine what changed or what needs to. For me it was my expectations of myself. I do not have to do it all. Hard to say, even harder to do because I feel that if I cannot do it all, meaning work, take care of four children, manage a house, eat right and exercise, I have failed as a person. I bought the lie.
Exercise, for me, was one more thing I hated to do. I didn’t like having to measure my food and think about every bite. I didn’t like sweating after working hard all day at my job and managing my home. Hated it actually. So I stopped doing it and used my busy life to excuse the fact that I didn’t want to be fit. I didn’t want to do the work it took. I didn’t want to fight. I was too tired and fat to fight. My life was hard enough already without adding in torture sessions everyday. In my mind it became easier and easier to find excuses not to do it.
Then, in one day, I found out I had cancer and diabetes. I was thrown in the ring with two heavyweight champions and I was ill prepared for it physically. I had to face up to the battle ahead and through that battle I found out I am stronger than I ever knew. I can do more than I thought possible. During treatment, there were no excuses. If something went wrong, and many things did over the course of my treatments, the doctors worked around it. We might delay a treatment, but I wasn’t allowed to quit. Trust me, I wanted to quit many, many times. It was only God and Bill that got me through those times. And so I found my strength in my faith, not in my expectations of myself. Can you say revelation? Ah-ha moment.
Applying the same principle to fitness makes the heart attitude different this time. Now instead of not wanting to sweat, I WANT to get healthy. (I still hate to sweat, but I desire health more than being cool all the time.) I WANT to be energetic, and live life fully. I am now willing to fight for it. I no longer want to make excuses for my lack of heart…my lack of drive. I want to live. If I loose weight, great. But I will not allow my unrealistic expectations of being a thin wonder woman to hinder my journey. I am letting go of those expectations. My house is a mess, but my heart is strong. The resentment goes out the window when you release the expectations you place on yourself. If I do not loose weight, I will not quit, because I know that what I am doing is good for me. It is that new perspective that is going to make the difference in my long-term health.
Now, I have appointments to exercise…I do not break them. I am flexible when I need to be, but I schedule my life around these appointments, just like I did my treatments. My family is eating more self-made sandwiches so that I can do this. I no longer feel guilty about not cooking them dinner every night. They are behind me with their support. They walk with me and cheer me on each week. God is changing my mind, my heart, and my body. He is speaking the truth into the lies I have believed about myself for years. He is changing me and I am making no more excuses.

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