020: Overcoming Excuses and Rationalizations

by John Bukenas on July 19, 2013


no-excuses-300x225In this episode I discuss how excuses and rationalizations can be crippling your weight loss efforts.  And how you can overcome these obstacles.

Also, there is now a private Let’s Reverse Obesity Facebook Group.  A place where we can motivate and support each other.

  • In the last episode I asked you to sit down and really examine the “Why.”
  • Why are you in the condition you are in?
  • Why in the past have you failed at weight loss?
  • How did you do?
  • For some of us it is really hard to get to the why, Why?
  • One reason could be Excuses
  • We have all made excuses. Excuses for why we can’t.  It’s too hot, I’m too tired, I’m too busy.  All the while we sit around waiting for things to change and getting nowhere? With all the benefits of losing weight and getting into better shape, why do we still hesitate? You can “cure” much of that by scheduling your priorities so that you make urgency your friend instead of merely prioritizing your schedule. So, your big objectives (most important goals) are addressed right away.  Putting in the big rocks 1st.

Excuses and Rationalizations


  • Definition – To explain (a fault or an offense) in the hope of being forgiven or understood:
  • To grant pardon to
  • To serve as justification for
  • To free, as from an obligation or duty

RATIONALIZATION: (also known as making excuses)

  • An unconscious defense mechanism in which a perceived controversial behaviors or feelings are logically justified and explained in a rational or logical manner in order to avoid any true explanation, and are made consciously tolerable – or even admirable and superior – by plausible means.
  • Rationalization encourages irrational or unacceptable behavior, motives, or feelings. This process ranges from fully conscious (present an external defense against ridicule from others)
  • To mostly subconscious (to create a block against internal feelings of guilt).
  • People rationalize for various reasons. Rationalization can occur when we think we know ourselves better than we do. It is also an informal fallacy of reasoning.
  • When something happens that we find difficult to accept, then we will make up a logical reason why it has happened.
  • Rationalization is usually something that we have done:
    • Like not eating according to plan.
    • Not exercising.
    • Not drinking enough water
  • It may also be used when something happens independent of us which causes us discomfort.  Such as when we are uncomfortable performing in front of people.
  •  We not only rationalize actions and the things we have done, we also find reason for our beliefs, models, values and other inner structures and thoughts. These systems are often implied in rationalization statements.
  • We rationalize to ourselves. We also find it very important to rationalize to other people, even those we do not know.


  • Not make a meal plan.
  • Making a meal plan, but not going to buy food on the plan.
  • Making a meal plan, buying food, but not preparing the food.
  • When a person does something of which the moral ego disapproves, then the ego seeks to defend itself by adding reasons that make the action acceptable to the ego. Thus we are able to do something that is outside our values and get away with it without feeling too guilty.
  • Watch for your own rationalizations. If you can be honest with yourself and with other people, you can gain esteem for your courage and integrity.
  • Tips to Stop Making Excuses:
  • Setting Priorities – Once you set your most important priorities make a list of all your excuses for why you have not or cannot accomplish the goal.  Then go through each excuse and make up a work around for each excuse. Trust me there is always a way.  Because an un-addressed excuse is an obstacle
  • Avoid Procrastination – Don’t accept any reason to procrastinate.  If you scheduled your exercise for the morning, throw yourself out of bed early enough to exercise.  If you scheduled to batch cook on Sundays and Wednesdays then get into the kitchen.  Don’t allow excuses to creep into your head. Stop negative self talk.  If you find yourself acting like the world is against you, almost as if the world is trying to stop you from getting ahead, you may be a pessimist.  Be a positive thinker.  The way you think of a task and describe the task to yourself makes a huge impact on how you will approach the task, or if you will do it at all.   The good news is that if you can become aware of these mental dialogues, notice the patterns, and turn them into productive statements, then you are empowered to overcome many unwelcome feelings and behaviors.
  • Write Down Your Personal Long Term Goals – When setting long term goals be as detailed as possible.  Then break them into short term goals.  A Long term goal of losing 100 pounds can be broken down into 10, 10 pound loses.  Hold yourself responsible, accountable, and adaptable to your situation.  If you fail, go back and analyze the process, don’t get mad and take your ball and go home. Keep visualizing yourself achieving the goal.
  • Question Your Priorities – If something does not work within three or four weeks of honest trials, ask yourself what interfered. Sometimes it takes many failed trials to reach a pattern that works because you may run into unexpected obstacles – good valid reasons for the old habit that must be understood and accepted in order to make the change. Ask why you are making the change – if you are not doing it for yourself but to please someone else, it may not bring any benefits at all. Realistic, practical goals broken down into smaller steps that build on small successes to reach a long term goal are the patterns that work.
  • Stop Hesitating – Sometimes fear of failure, or trying to be perfect causes Analysis Paralysis.  A term I first heard of from Vanessa Hayes.  Dan and Vanessa Hayes have a podcast about simplifying your life.  I listen to every episode.  You can find their podcast at Simple Life Together.com Sometimes you have to just jump in and start paddling.
  • Make a To Do List – Make a list of what needs to be done and check them off when you complete tasks.  Nothing better than putting a big check mark on something you completed.  Especially if it is something you had difficulty doing in the past.
  • Don’t let errors hold you back – Sometimes we are harder on ourselves than anybody else is on us. You need to give yourself the flexibility to make mistakes, because much of life is trial and error, and you need to know how to forgive yourself.

Thank you so much for taking the time to join me on this journey.  Joining me with “The Struggle.”

cord of 3Also, there is now a private Let’s Reverse Obesity Facebook Group.  A place where we can motivate and support each other.

  • We are stronger as a group than an individual
  • I need you more than you need me.
  • It will be a safe place you can come to gain strength and give support

Podcasts Mentioned:

Logical Loss – Dave Jackson

Simple Life Together – Dan & Vanessa Hayes

I Am Podcast – Sean Webb

Positively Life After Fifty – Connie Mankin


My Progress:

Two podcasts in two weeks and I am eating a healthy breakfast and lunch and I did swim 3 days last week  I also started a Private Let’s Reverse Obesity Facebook Group.

If you would like to support the show financially without it costing you a penny I have a way.  On the right sidebar of the lets reverse obesity website there is a link to Amazon.com.  That is my affiliate link.  So if you were going to buy something from Amazon and you click my link to get there you get your products at the same low price and I earn a small commission on your purchase.

Contact Me

  • How to contact me with questions or comments

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  • I have 24 reviews so far and they really help me move up in the rankings of other shows that deal with weight loss. Please don’t be shy.  I would love to say I’m up to 30 reviews by the next episode and you could help me reach that goal.

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Legal Disclosure:

Let’s Reverse Obesity.com and the Let’s Reverse Obesity Podcast are meant for informational purposes and do not constitute medical, nutritional, dietary, therapeutic, or any other advice. Any information on this site or in the podcast reflects John’s or his guests views and experiences only. You should always consult with a medical doctor, nurse, or other certified health professional before starting any diet, exercise, or any kind of health plan.



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