In preparation for the CrossFit Games Open Competition starting this week, we are all going to have to learn to be a little more accountable for our movement standards. What you may have been able to get away with when no-one was watching in a WOD, will not fly during this competition, so I figured it’s probably also about time we started to take responsibility for the other areas of our lives.

Human beings are good at making excuses. We do things that are not, ultimately, in our best interest, and then we grab hold of every excuse under the sun to justify why that particular behavior was “unavoidable” or “not our fault”. We all do it – you, me, the jerk on the freeway who veered dangerously into your lane – there is ALWAYS an excuse. So, today I am asking us all to start to take ownership of our actions and accept the fact that the responsibility is always only on us. We can make excuses till the cows come home, but then we ought not to complain about the outcomes.

So here are a few I will highlight:

Stop saying you don’t like it

When it comes to healthy food (vegetables, meat, seafood, healthy fats, fruit & nuts), many people will stomp their feet and say “but I don’t like [____]!”. Insert “broccoli”, “meat”, “chicken”, “bone broth” etc. And this may be a valid statement. That is, if you are 2 years old. Or, maybe, if you’re pregnant and violently sick. But not if you are a fully grown, cognizant, morning-sickness-free adult.

There are many things we have to do as adults that we maybe don’t LOVE doing: getting up early to go to work in the morning, washing the dishes, doing our laundry, standing up fully at the top of a box jump… But we’re grown-ups and we know we need to suck it up and do those things, because life isn’t always chocolate boxes and roses.

It’s exactly the same with food. Suck it up and start eating like an adult. This means eating your veggies, good quality protein and healthy fats at every meal. And not just bacon and paleo treats. With almost all foods – you can eventually LEARN to like it. Getting used to any kind of stimulus brings a familiarity that eventually turns into the opposite of contempt. source. ie. we can train our taste buds to actually like foods, not just tolerated them.

Besides, there are so many healthy, whole foods out there, there will always be options that you can learn to like.

Stop saying you don’t have time

This is one of the most common reasons for not working out or eating healthy. We are all busy – either with full time jobs or work at home – I have yet to meet someone who isn’t. But it is all about setting priorities. Do you value your health enough to make it a priority? I think a lot of people see a certain badge of honor in being SO busy that things like exercise, sleep and healthy food take a back seat. It’s almost seen as selfish or frivolous to focus on these things, rather than work 24-7, but the reality is this: if your health goes, EVERYTHING suffers. You will not be able to work effectively, raise your kids effectively, or serve society effectively. Your health HAS to be your priority if you want to live an effective and full life, and so this takes self discipline and treating these things as non-optional.

I have worked for agencies where, for many coworkers, work is the be all and end all of their lives. They’ll boast proudly about how they were in the office till 9pm every night, and brag about how many hours they bill per week. Now, I value hard work, but I do not value long hours in the office that mean sacrificing the rest of your life. So, just as those people look snidely at those of us who confidently leave the office at a respectable time, my personal opinion is that those people are the ones slacking off in their real lives.

I guarantee you, no-one lies on their death bed thinking “man I wish I’d spent more hours in the office!”. More likely they’re thinking “man, I wish I’d spent more time actually living my life”. Work to live, don’t live to work! Here’s an interesting article on the attitude towards work in this country, which is kind of scary.

Anyway, back to my point – yes, cooking healthful foods, exercising smartly and getting enough sleep take time, but all of these things will make the rest of the time you do have WAY more productive and enjoyable because you will be full of vibrant energy to be able to live more fully.

Stop blaming it on things that are supposedly out of your control

“I can’t lose weight because I have a slow thyroid”, “my tummy is big because of my hormones/age/previous pregnancies”, “I can’t change how I eat because I can’t find/afford coconut flour where I live”, “but I grew up eating sourdough – it’s my favorite food”.

You know the drill. And you also know that all of those are big, fat excuses. We can all make any changes we want – but we have to WANT our health to improve more than we fear making lifestyle changes. There are very few chronic health or weight issues that will not be either resolved (or at least drastically improved) through some healthy life-style changes. Whether we are born genetically gifted, or drew the short straw from the gene pool, eating well can, and will, dramatically influence whether certain genes are manifested or not. Let’s make it the good ones.

As for not being able to find/afford certain foods? If you can find decent quality meat, fish, fresh vegetables and fruit, then you can eat healthy. No excuses.

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Imagine if, like for CrossFit competitions, we had a little “judge” who shouted “NO-REP!” every time we reached for that piece of bread, each time we tried to shove a cookie into our mouths, or all the times we thought we’d stay up that extra hour to watch tv! We’d probably be a lot more careful with our choices.

So, just as none of us are going to be able to get away with “bro-reps” in our workouts any more, maybe it’s time to stop getting away with cutting corners on our health. This takes discipline and accountability, yes, but ultimately it will make us a lot happier than spending hours complaining about that extra tummy bulge, our incessant lack of energy or those auto-immune conditions we still can’t seem to get under control.

And for those who insist on taking short cuts with their health – accept the consequences and live with them happily. If you’re overweight but just can’t accept that you need to dial in your food, then embrace being overweight and stop wishing you weren’t. You can’t have it both ways.

Harsh? Maybe. But it’s high time we all grew up a little and took ownership of our lives. There are few things more infuriating than listening to someone complain about their body/health/energy levels, and then watch them shoveling crappy “foods” down their throats, skimping on sleep or cutting corners on their fitness. Do one or the other!

Have a great day!