How Big is Your BUT?
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photo by Joel Olives

I eat pretty healthy… BUT I can’t seem to lose weight.

I workout on a regular basis…BUT I can’t get the results I want.

I would love to exercise ….BUT I don’t have time.

I recently heard someone say BUT stands for Behold the Underlying Truth.  If there is a BUT in your statement it’s a clear signal there is something more behind your statement. That something more may be what is holding you back and keeping you from reaching your goals.

Let’s start with the first statement: I eat pretty healthy but I can’t seem to lose weight.  When someone says they eat pretty healthy yet they aren’t losing weight, or they are even gaining weight, then it’s time to look deeper. There could be an underlying health issue, for example a  thyroid hormone issue.  But most likely their daily diet is not as healthy as they think it is. When I look at the food log of someone who says that, I am likely to see is “healthy and lean” frozen meals, sugary granola bars and salads when they are trying to be “good”. I look at their food log and hear “You caught me on an odd week. I don’t normally eat so many sweets, eat out so often or drink so much.”  Yet as their food logging continues the real patterns, the truth that they themselves aren’t conscious of, appears. Yes, they do eat out 3-4 days a week. Yes, they eat sweets a few days a week (or a few times a day).  We remember the good stuff and push the bad stuff out of our minds until we are forced to face it. By facing it, admitting that our habits aren’t as good as we thought, we can than change them.

The same thing applies to exercise. So many people say they love how exercise makes them feel but they don’t have the time. Yet, I hear about time spent on Facebook, taking naps or going out to shop. The underlying truth may be that you enjoy exercise but you enjoy those other activities more and put more of a priority on them. I challenge people to keep a time journal. Like a food journal, it can give you a clearer perspective on how their time is really spent. Again seeing things in black and white can force you to face how much time is spent on things you don’t really value or will help you reach your goals.  If you value your health, if fitness is a true priority, the time for exercise and food prep and planning will become available on your calendar.

It’s easy to make excuses. We all do it. Even I use a BUT or two when a charity event or race presents itself. I would love to do it but I don’t have time. No, I have time. I just have to make a choice in how I allocate it. It may be that at that time I value a weekend with my husband or some other project more. The next time you make a BUT statement, I want you to stop and find the underlying truth. Are you at peace with it or is it what’s really holding you back?

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