Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone while a train is passing nearby? It's almost impossible. Trains are big and loud and drown out most of the world around them. Excuses are like that. It's nearly impossible to have a conversation (even with yourself) while a train of excuses for why you can't or didn't or couldn't is passing through your head.
Last week I planted myself firmly on the excuse train and dug in my heels. I weighed in yesterday (I'd like to say it was the first day "I was able" to get to a scale, but the truth is, it was the first day I looked for one) and the number had gone up (as I expected).
I'll be honest with you (because that's what this blog is all about), that number isn't as bad as I was anticipating.
Here's my list of excuses, which, despite some of them being more honest than others, don't hold much water:
1 - "Last week was rough." How's that for vague? I could go into details about why, overall, the week wasn't the most pleasant week I've ever spent, but this isn't a very good, or honest, excuse. The truth is, two days of last week were rough. That's not enough to condemn the entire week and certainly doesn't alleviate me of any responsibility for myself.
2 - "I was traveling." When I mentioned to my mom that I was starting this blog, she suggested that I make it a "how-to" for eating healthy on the road. I almost laughed myself to tears. I have no idea how to eat healthy on the road. In fact, my struggle to eat healthy while traveling is part of the reason I'm on this journey in the first place. When I kicked this off, I was at the last 3 days of a 5(ish) month tour. I had about three weeks off before I was going to hit the road again, and that was a good amount of time to get myself focused and started. But I knew going in that I would have a harder time staying on target while I was touring. So, yeah, staying inside my calorie budget while I'm on tour is hard for me, but not a good excuse.
3 - "My knee hurts." This is true. My right knee has been achy for a couple of weeks. Not to the point where it hurts me to walk. Maybe I overdid it (or, more likely, my form was bad) when I was doing some squats. (Yes, I did squats one time. I didn't die.) Who knows? I managed to do water aerobics with my mom with my knee hurting. I managed to go on a walk with my dad. This excuse is annoying even to me because a) there are people with actual injuries or disabilities that manage to not sit in their hotel rooms all day, b) I bought myself a knee brace and then never put it on, and c) I just told you walking doesn't hurt. I'd be willing to bet that every hotel I was in had a treadmill. I wouldn't know. Despite the fact that my "rough week" included two entire days off, I never even looked in the window of the fitness center at any of the hotels. Wanna know what could have compensated for my less efficient food choices? 60 minutes of walking.
The moral of this story is not to beat myself up about falling short this week. A number is just a number, and overall, I'm still ahead of schedule. The point is to remind myself that (in my case) excuses are just justifications of bad behavior. I'm clever and creative. I spend a lot of time finding work-arounds for problems. That skill can and should be applied to this area of my life as well. Yes, it's hard to stay motivated when you're tired. Yes, it's hard to stay on track when you feel like you freaking earned a dessert today. (p.s. Sometimes you have earned a dessert. Just make sure it fits in your calorie budget!) But at the end of the day, only I am responsible for the food I put in my body. And I also live in a country where I am free to decide my own activity level. How lucky am I?
So, you fall down, you get back up. You fail, you start over. For now, this is like playing Contra with the unlimited lives cheat code. (80's reference!) It doesn't matter what happened yesterday. It matters what happens today and tomorrow. Get back up. Start over. Respawn. Don't punish yourself to the point you get frustrated and walk away.
If the excuse train is too loud to be heard over, get a megaphone. Or better yet, move away from the train.