A fatitude is a belief or attitude that keeps you fat and unhealthy. In today’s other-blaming victimhood culture, many people point their fingers at others for their personal and professional problems, including their health.
They cling to beliefs that harm, not help. I call these beliefs “fatitutdes.”
The following are six of the most common fatitudes steering people into the ditch on the path from fat to fit.
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Fatitude 1: Nobody supports me
What does it even mean when someone says, “Nobody supports me?”
Everyone has their own individual responsibilities and priorities, especially when it comes to something as personal as health and fitness. It isn’t fair to them that you’d make them responsible for you.
If you believe your current state of fitness is the fault or responsibility of others, you’re playing the victim. You’ll never thrive in fitness, your career, relationships, or anything else by playing the victim.
Those who succeed with their health and fitness don’t wait for someone else to haul them out of bed, cook their meals, give them their supplements, schedule their doctor appointments, drive them to the gym, or make sure they go to sleep on time.
If you have people in your life, who cheer you on and check in on you, awesome! Be grateful.
But don’t depend on them to do what you need to do. They could be gone tomorrow, and that shouldn’t affect your ability to care for yourself.
Once you take 100% responsibility for your health and fitness, you take action. You do whatever it takes to improve your health all by yourself.
What if a friend doubts your ability to do what you need to do?
What if a family member rolls their eyes at your new attempt to get fit? Maybe…just maybe it’s because they’ve heard this from you before. How many times have you started over on a diet? How many times have you joined a gym?
Sometimes, it isn’t that the other person doesn’t want you to succeed. It’s just that they’ve had their hopes up for you so many times before, that they don’t want to get their hopes up again.
A victim makes someone else’s disapproval become an excuse to give up. Someone who takes responsibility uses that disapproval as motivation to make it happen.
You need to show them that you’ll follow through this time. Rather than seeing their supposed lack of support as a slight against you, look at it as a challenge to prove them wrong.
Don’t put the burden of your responsibilities on the shoulders of someone else. Take ownership of your health and fitness.
Fatitude 2: It’s Too Hard
Resistance is the force you feel pushing back when you attempt something important.
In the gym, resistance is visible. You measure it in pounds or kilograms. It’s an objective measure of the force pressing against you. Week after week, you overcome greater resistance, which improves your strength and stamina.
In life, resistance (or struggle) is subjective. Your perception determines the force of the resistance.
Resistance shows itself when the desires and expectations of your boss, spouse, kids, customers, even the server at a restaurant, conflict with yours.
Your alarm rings an hour earlier so you can get to the gym, and the warmth of your bed and your tired head remind you that it’s more comfortable to sleep in for 60 more minutes. Your boss schedules a meeting over lunch and brings sandwiches in, tempting you to eat those instead of the healthier meal you brought with you. Your spouse wants to order pizza for dinner instead of eating something better.
Then, frustration fills your mind and complaints enter your conversations. You tell yourself, and others, how hard it is to wake up early to train, to say no to donuts or drinking alcohol, or to go to sleep early enough get your seven-plus hours. You magnify the force of that resistance. Your perception of the resistance is what gives you power over it, or what gives it power over you.
The more committed you are, the more resistance you’ll face, and the harder it feels.
At times, you might feel like the world is conspiring against you and your weight loss plans. Don’t be fooled. Remember that everyone else in the world, including those close to you, have their own desires, goals, and ambitions. Most of the time, what they need or want to do won’t line up with what you need to do.
This quote from Stephen Pressfield sums this up well.
The more important a call to action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel about answering it. But to yield to Resistance deforms our spirit. It stunts us and makes us less than we are and were born to be.
– Stephen Pressfield, The War of Art
Are you going to let Resistance deform your spirit and make you less than you were born to be?
By the way, this is why I’m so adamant every adult needs to weight train regularly. Weight training requires you to overcome a progressively greater resistance week after week. Your body’s ability to overcome that resistance starts with your mind’s belief you can do so. As you train your body, you train your mind. Over time, the mental fortitude you develop from fitness affects your perseverance in other areas of life as well.
Fatitude 3: I deserve to eat sweets
You might have grown up with parents who rewarded you with food for good behavior, getting your chores done, or some other bribe.
As an adult, there’s still a part of you that believes you deserve to eat junk food as a reward for making it through a stressful week, for getting through a tough workout, or because the day ends in “y.”
If you use food as a participation ribbon in adulthood, you’ll find a way to justify junk food every day. I’m not saying you shouldn’t indulge as a way to celebrate a new job promotion, an anniversary, your birthday, or another rare occasion or milestone. Go ahead, and enjoy it.
But let’s be real. Stress, disappointment, and difficulty are part of everyday life.
If you believe you deserve to indulge just for doing what adults do, the only fitness milestones you’ll reach will be all-time-highs on the scale, and new diseases diagnosed by your doctor.
Fatitude 4: I don’t have time
If you had a heart attack tomorrow, how much time could you realistically spend at the hospital? If your boss said your company is downsizing, but you can keep your job if you’re willing to work an extra hour, could you do it to keep your job? When your favorite show premiers, do you make the time that week to watch it?
If your spouse said, “Sweetheart, let’s spice things up and have sex every night for the next month,” would you have the time (by the way, if you get fit, it might be more likely that’ll happen).
With 168 hours per week to schedule, you can find four hours to exercise. That’s only 2.3% of your week.
People make time for what’s important. What could be more important than caring for your physical health with four hours a week of exercise?
Whatever gifts your brain offers the world, if your body breaks down, your brain won’t be as capable of doing what it could do.
I had a conversation with someone recently, who said she couldn’t exercise four times per week. She said they had four kids, and her husband worked outside the home.
After chatting for a while, I asked her if it was impossible to go to a gym on Saturdays and Sundays. She said that was definitely possible.
Then, I asked if it was impossible to have her husband watch the kids two evenings per week so she could go to the gym. She quickly realized that was possible too. In fact, her husband was excited to do so, as he knew how much his wife wanted to lose weight.
The problem wasn’t the schedule. It was her perception of what four days a week meant. In her head, she kept thinking “four weekdays.”
Read also: 5 Beliefs that Build Suckituptitude.
Fatitude 5: Nothing works for me
Most, but not all of the time, when someone says that nothing works for weight loss, it’s because they haven’t fully committed to something long enough to get results.
Some people expect their body will change as fast as a fake, Photoshopped before-and-after advertisement. When it doesn’t, they give up. They don’t work the diet and exercise program long enough for it to work on their body.
The other reason they believe diets and training programs don’t work is they haven’t ever really worked the program.
They “try.” They don’t commit.
They still snack on foods they shouldn’t. They miss workouts here and there. They buy a larger wine glass so they can say they only drink one glass, but fill the glass with three servings.
It would be like telling your best man or maid of honor that you’re going to “try” your marriage out and see what happens. Your attitude would screw up the marriage before you ever said your vows.
Commit every day. Don’t “try.” Then, see it through for at least six months. And once you start, don’t sleep around by dabbling in other diets and testing out other training programs. Stay the course.
Read also: Why We Need to Stop Bastardizing Struggle.
Fatitude 6: I’m not that bad
Of all of the fatitudes, this one is the most dangerous. If you look at your circle of friends, you might see others who look like they’re in worse shape than you. Your doctor might have told you that you’re “fine,” even though you’re on six medications to manage your metabolic dysfunction.
“I’m not that bad” is such a dangerously subjective statement. It’s based on your comparison against yourself and the people who surround you. Most people don’t get fat overnight. The weight comes on, little by little. You compare your health to where it was a few months ago, or a year ago. Compared to then, it probably isn’t much worse. Compared to ten years ago, it could be a lot worse.
Compare yourself to a new group of friends, who are already committed to their health and fitness, and your “I’m not that bad” perspective will change.
If you hang onto this fatitude too long, you’ll wake up one day with pain in your chest or no feeling in your big toe. You’ll get a blood test, and your doctor will tell you’re no longer pre-diabetic, but that you’ve graduated to “officially diabetic.”
“I’m not that bad” is a far cry from “I’m fit and healthy.” However, if you don’t change the way you speak about your current state of health, you’re unlikely to do anything about it.
Turn Your Fatitude Into A Fititude
Your mindset or perspective is your most significant hurdle to improving your health. You could have the best health and fitness program in your hands, but you won’t follow through until you change your fatitude.