Where Reasons and Excuses Collide

Reason and Excuses in Weight Loss

Weight loss is one area of our lives where reasons and excuses often collide.

A reason for doing something or not doing something can easily morph into an excuse. Let’s look at the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of both terms.

Reason: A statement offered in explanation or justification.

Excuse: To make apology for or to try to remove blame from.

I am sure you see this all the time in your life when talking to coworkers, friends, and probably even family members. I know I often use excuses as reasons for not getting something accomplished or when I try to explain why I failed at a project or goal.

Kids use excuses, adults use excuses, and if my dog could talk, she would probably use excuses too. Because let’s face it, there is no reason for her to have chewed on the chair leg when her bone was laying right next to her. 🙂

Here are some reasons you may give someone if they ask you what problems you are facing with your weight loss journey:

My program does not seem to be working.

My weight loss plan is too hard to follow.

I cannot find time to exercise. 

The scale is not moving as fast as I want.

The scale is not moving at all.

My family is not supportive.

I think I am sabotaging myself. 

I live with a food pusher.

Healthy food is too expensive. 

Exercise makes me tired.

I don’t know how to cook. 

There are many seemingly valid “reasons” you could give for your lack of weight loss progress. Believe me, I used all of these listed above and more. I always had a reason at the ready if a friend actually cared enough to ask me how things were going. Sometimes I said them with a straight face and other times I hemmed and hawed about my lack of progress knowing full well that I was making excuses and not giving valid reasons for yet another diet failure.

In the world of weight loss, reasons often collide with excuses and the result isn’t often pretty. My reasons that were really excuses did nothing to help me move forward on my journey and did everything toward moving me away from my goals and objectives I repeated the excuses to myself so often that I began to believe them.

For example, because I repeatedly said that I did not have time to exercise, and over time, I really began to believe that I did not have time. Well, guess what? When I finally got serious about my weight loss and identified that reason as nothing more than an excuse, I did have the time to exercise even though I had three small children aged six, three, and 4 months at the time.

One thing that was very different during my last weight loss attempt was that I correctly identified excuses for what they were. Most times they were not a justifiable reason for my lack of progress, but rather just a simple, old-fashioned excuse. By identifying those excuses as such, I then worked hard to overcome the excuse in order to keep moving forward.

You may be asking yourself if there are ever valid reasons for lack of progress in weight loss. Well, of course there are. Your job is to separate the reasons from the excuses and overcome them one by one. Additionally, even if you have a valid reason for having problems with losing weight, there are usually ways around those valid reasons as well. It sometimes takes creativity to fix the problem, but you can usually find a way if you really want to. You have to want it and be willing to work for it.

Have you ever found yourself making excuses and passing them off as reasons like I did? How do you recommend others identify and overcome this tendency?  Diane 

Image courtesy of Zuzzillo FreeDigitalPhotos.net

40 thoughts on “Where Reasons and Excuses Collide

  1. Laura says:

    Oh my gosh. Have you lived my life? I am the absolute princess of all reasons. No, excuses. I know I do this. Can feel myself do this. I am going to make my own list right now of all the false reasons I have for failing and then analyze where I am. Thanks Diane.

  2. Stephanie says:

    I think this is such an important topic to bring up. I see it in my own life and I see it a lot in blogs I read as well. It is easier to call excuses reasons because then we remove the responsibility from ourselves and place it on someone else or some other thing beyond our control.

  3. Karie says:

    I think I do have reasons but I also have excuses. I have lost 55 pounds in the past year but I’ve stalled because of a lot of excuse making. I’m tired. It seems like I will never lose the rest, etc.

    Thanks for a post that inspires me and also challenges me without beating me up.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      Congrats on your weight loss to date. I understand feeling tired of the process, but I promise you that you will never be sorry for turning those excuses around and moving forward.

  4. HappinessSavouredHot says:

    I avoid excuses like the plague. They are the biggest obstacle to making changes.

    I don’t even allow myself to say “I didn’t have time”, because time is what we make of it, and it’s always a choice, based on the order of our priorities.

    Keeping one’s body healthy should be at the top of that priority list.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      They are absolutely obstacles. And often we put the obstacles there ourselves! Congrats on knocking those excuses to the curb and being such a great example for all of us.

  5. Babbalou says:

    I’m much more motivated by positives than by negatives. So rather than think about what I haven’t accomplished or where I seem to be failing, I prefer to think about what I want to accomplish and then what I need to do to reach that goal/accomplishment. I use this in thinking about lesser issues (how do I want to/need to eat in order to reach my fitness goals and desired weight?) and I also use this in thinking big picture (how do I want to live my life? What do I want to accomplish in my free time? What do I need to do now to have the retirement I’m hoping for?). Then I try to come up with a specific plan that gets me on the path to reach that goal. Then, of course, it’s just a matter of execution! Ha!

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      I love that strategy. It is almost like a mind mapping exercise. What do I want to get done and what steps do I need to take to get there? You are very wise to take such deliberate steps to get where you want to be.

  6. Marc says:

    Hi Diane – at one point I believed that my slow metabolism and obesity were genetic and because I was predisposed to be fat I might as well accept that 2XL was my basic shape. My brain didn’t factor in all the calories I consumed each day in the form of donettes, or cheesy pizza slices. Or the fact that I wasn’t getting 30 minutes of exercise a month. Reasons, excuses and denial all kind of flow together.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      They almost always flow together Marc – I know they did for me as well. I blamed my 300+ self on a whole variety of things such as genetics, thyroid issues, metabolism, etc.

  7. Linda says:

    I now know why your site was the first one I ever went to when I started on this journey Diane. You take on the “stuff” that everyone can relate to oh so well. For me, I had not choice due to health reasons as to having to finally make a health change for the better. I ran out of many of the excuses you listed. Great post.

  8. Tracy says:

    I just wanted to drop by to say that I really enjoy your blog. Great topics all the time. Thanks for also citing your image – now I’ve discovered FreeDigitalPhotos.net for my blog as well!! That’s a great find 🙂

  9. Sharon says:

    For me, the reasons and excuses stopped when I quit “dieting” and became a healthy eater. Yes, it’s playing with words, but except in very rare instances, there’s always options available for eating a healthy meal or snack. Once the term diet was no longer in my vocabulary, the excuses and reasons lost their meaning. Poor choices simply became poor choices.

  10. Carrie @ Season It Already! says:

    So true. My question would be *how* to separate the reasons from the excuses. It’s often not very clear when we aren’t looking at it from the outside. But most of us don’t want to be told by others that it’s just an excuse…

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      That question is excellent and I suspect the answer varies from person to person. For me, a reason is based in reality such as my medications are making it hard for me to lose weight, or my doctor said I should not exercise. An excuse is often an obstacle that I am putting in my own way without looking for a solution.

  11. Kim says:

    As my kids have gotten older, I have noticed excuses more. It’s so easy for me to call them out on something when they are making excuses but then I turn around and do the same thing (maybe just about something different). This has actually helped me start trying to stop with the excuses because I try really hard to live by the same guidelines that I want my boys to follow. (Not always successful at either – not making excuses and living what I teach – but trying.)

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      I notice the same thing Kim. I seem to be able to see other people’s excuses much more readily than I can see my own. I too make a concerted effort to live my life like I would hope my kids will as they grow older.

  12. Kate says:

    I agree totally with your post. People can convince themselves of anything if they try hard enough.

  13. Mary Ellen Quigley says:

    I am horrible about making excuses. I try not to, but I do tend to go that route. My blog is full of it. I have great friends that point this out to me though and give me a swift kick in the rear when needed.

  14. Jody - Fit at 55 says:

    It is the truth Diane & yes I have been there & still am in other areas of my life BUT I recognize it & am working on those non health related probs – I think that is the key – that we know it vs. denying it. 🙂 I try & I am OK with that & do the best I can with what I have inside me right now…

  15. Katie says:

    I always say I am going to start on Monday but by Tuesday I have eaten something I shouldn’t have and give up until the following Monday. My biggest downfall is food and not being organised to prepare meals in advance.

  16. Julia Yohe says:

    Hi Diane,

    I totally agree with you! When I started my weight loss program, I was really motivated. For the first three months, I was doing great and made a big progress. Then all of a sudden, I’ve gotten lazy and made so many excuses for not accomplishing what I’ve planned. Finally, I’ve realized that it takes a lot of sacrifices.

  17. Dr. J says:

    Perhaps this can be likened to being problem oriented versus being goal oriented. Better to stay focused on the goal than to go from problem to problem.

  18. Janis says:

    I think whether something is a reason or an excuse depends on how you respond to it. “My plan isn’t working because of X” is a reasonable thing to say a lot of times, but when it becomes an excuse is when you respond by giving up. So your plan isn’t working because of X. Well … what can you do about that?

  19. Donna Lanting says:

    Before, I always have so many reasons for not doing my regular weight loss exercises. When I realized I’m not doing any progress, I finally promised to myself that I will stop making excuses. I stopped blaming other factors for my lapses. Meditation techniques helped me a lot to overcome this problem. Reading health and fitness blogs also inspires me. 😉

  20. Jo Atua says:

    As the Nike slogan says “Just do it!” Hey I am no saint when it comes to sticking to a fitness or weight loss plan, but i have found if you combine the two i.e. weight loss and exercise routine it seems easier to stick to. In my opinion dieting by itself, as a means of losing weight, is difficult because the results are spread over a long period of time.

    Add a half hour or so work out to your diet every day or second day and the feeling of accomplishment at the end of these workouts is great! And the weight loss is quicker – boom, boom!

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