I used to be the Queen of Excuses. I always had reasonable explanations for why I didn’t work out, why I didn’t lose weight that week, why it was okay to quit Weight Watchers… I could explain away anything. I was really very good at it. Maybe that’s why I ended up in marketing. I could “spin” anything.

In early 2002 I started dating Mr. Awesome. I had been on WW for a few months and had lost about 25lbs. Immersed in the honeymoon phase of my new relationship I began to forgo workouts, neglect my points tracking, etc. Who could blame me? I was newly in love! I would have WAY rather spent time with my man than (God forbid) leave him for an hour to go to the gym. That was the beginning of the end of my fitness regime.

In June of that year my dad passed away. I was understandably devastated, had to take a leave from work, and the last thing I cared about was taking care of myself. Slowly but surely, Weight Watchers and the gym became things of the past.

Thinking back to who and how I was back then, I hadn’t truly made a lifestyle change – I was just on a diet and exercise program. The necessary mind shift hadn’t happened so I was likely doomed to fail at some point. I’m not saying I would have powered through my grief with workouts, but I may have gotten back on the proverbial horse after a few months.

Fast forward to 2008. I started thinking about getting in shape and FINALLY getting rid of (most of) the excess weight when the little man was just over one, but I knew we were planning on having a second baby in the next couple of years and I just couldn’t fathom working that hard to lose the weight and then gaining back anywhere from 20-50lbs. I knew then that when I finally made the decision to change my habits, it was going to be for good. If I didn’t get there for another couple of years, so be it. When I DID do it, there would be NO EXCUSES!

The little miss was born in late October 2009. I’d only gained 16lbs during this pregnancy (no idea how or why, but that’s all I gained) and then pushed out a 9lb 6oz bundle of love, so by the time she was three weeks old I was already lower than my pre-pregnancy weight. It was time. Two years is a long time to plan to do anything, so I was pretty psyched to get going.

Before beginning, I had to acknowledge a pretty undeniable fact: I am lazy. If this was going to work, I had to have reasonable expectations and not make anything too difficult to achieve. If it got too hard I was likely to let the excuses creep back in and be back where I started.

So here I am, 20 weeks in and 42.6lbs down so far. Suffice to say, it’s working and there have been very few excuses. I am nowhere even close to perfect at this. I’ve missed a few workouts and eaten over my points allowance quite a few times, but I’ve made up for any slips within a few days.

When my dad quit smoking after 50 years, he smelled smoke everywhere. We’d get into elevators and he’d know that there had been a smoker in there minutes before. It was like his nose was now fine-tuned to smell smoke. I feel kind of the same about excuses. Not only did I not notice (or let’s be honest, admit) when I was making excuses before, but I didn’t usually notice when other people were making them too. Actually, I kind of welcomed other people’s excuses, because I could then either use their excuses for why I couldn’t do something, or use them as the excuse. Jen can’t go to the gym? Well shoot, then I can’t go either.

I was sitting in my WW meeting a couple of weeks ago and the leader was trying to get a discussion going about ways to find time to exercise. I could not believe the excuses I was hearing. Yes, absolutely, life does happen and get in the way. I get that. But these people were complaining about how hard it was to find time to exercise, or to resist temptation, basically victimizing themselves and defending their choices with excuses. It’s like they wanted the leader to tell them “It’s okay, it’s not your fault you gained this week. You didn’t bring those brownies into your work lunchroom.”

If you really and truly want to get healthy, you WILL find a way to make it happen. You will find at least a little time each week to be active. You will resist the treats in the lunchroom, or if you do indulge, you will track it! Yes, it might take a long time to get there, but you will do it. It’s about planning ahead and thinking things through. At my work, I KNOW that come Christmas time there will be trays and trays of goodies in the lunchroom. But it is MY decision whether or not I eat something.

Don’t get me wrong. I am tempted every single day and I do indulge. I do miss the occasional work out. But I accept responsibility for that. I don’t make excuses because I have to OWN my behaviour. It will be my own doing if I don’t succeed. No one is going to lose weight for me. If they did, then they would look fantastic and I would still be 230lbs.

Excuse me? I don’t think so. I’m the one who is going to look fantastic, thank you very much!