It’s hard to lose weight the older you get.
It’s hard to find time to exercise when you have children.
It’s hard to lose weight when being heavy runs in your family.
Losing weight is hard.
Do you ever say these things? I know I did. It made me feel better to justify my inability to lose weight by making excuses. But when you repeat these statements, they become beliefs. And when you believe them to be true, your brain will look for evidence that they are.
Also, entrenching these false statements by constantly repeating them with your friends creates collective beliefs that eventually become fact. They permeate the entire discussion about weight loss among women who are perfectly capable of making massive changes in their lives — one of which is losing weight. These false beliefs prevent you from taking action and keep you stuck.
Justifying your lack of progress in any area means that you will continue never making progress. And making excuses prevents you from taking responsibility for your life. You make yourself powerless, when you are anything but.
So how do you stop doing this? Especially when everyone around you is reinforcing these beliefs? Change the statement to a question. Doing this challenges its legitimacy and leads you to a series of very different conclusions.
Let’s take, for example, “Losing weight is harder the older you get.” By turning it into a question, you may get, “Is it inevitable that I’ll gain weight the older I get?” What’s your answer? If it’s “I don’t know” or “Maybe, but maybe not,” you then have to find evidence to back up the fact that the statement may not be true.
So then you might ask yourself, “Has every single woman I know gained weight as she ages?” or “Are there women out there who are still active, fit, and healthy into their 40s, 50s, and 60s?” Then you know the answer is yes.
More importantly, if other people are out there doing it, why can’t you?
Let’s take “Losing weight is hard.” When you constantly say this (which almost every woman I know does), you come up with all kinds of reasons why losing weight is hard.
But when you change it to “Is losing weight hard?” your answer may be “It feels hard, but is it really?” Then your brain starts looking for evidence to back up the possibility that it may not be as hard as you think.
I think the reason we don’t question these statements is that we’re afraid of what the answer might be. If you can admit that a belief you cling to may be false, then you’re left with nothing but taking responsibility and taking control of your life.
But the good news is that taking control eliminates that feeling of desperation that leads you right back into another diet — because of your limiting belief that you can’t make changes yourself.
The simple act of challenging these kinds of negative-focused and limiting beliefs makes you feel empowered and therefore less likely to make excuses for not making your own changes. And a sense of empowerment is what you need to believe that you can change and that you are willing to be patient with yourself as you make slow, steady changes over time. Over a lifetime.
Question everything you say that you know deep down is an excuse for not trying. Yes, trying opens you up to the possibility of “failing,” but trying and failing is way better than not trying and staying exactly where you are.
There is no better feeling than taking control of your life. And making a firm decision that you will no longer accept excuses from yourself gives you the confidence you need to continue working toward any goal — including losing weight and living the life you deserve.