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The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines excuse as granting exemption or release; to allow to leave.

I’ve been contemplating that word a lot lately as I’ve been dealing with an increase amount of stress caring for a sick child. In the past, any form of stress in my life, whether it was a crying infant, an overcommitted schedule, a long road trip or just about anything out of normalcy, I’d think (maybe not consciously), “okay time to grant release” from wise choices. Moments of “granting release” during times of stress turned into days, months and years of excuses; thus resulting in an obese body.

It’s easy to allow our minds to automatically grant permission from what we know is the right thing to do when under stress. If we are not careful, stress can be the welcomed excuse to throw-in-the-towel and indulge on whatever; whenever.

Even with the nutritarian lifestyle, one can use stress as the excuse to grant permission to overeat when hunger has already been satisfied, or to skip much needed exercise “because it’s been a hectic day.”

Shining light into the dark places of our lives expose the lies that enslave and prevent us from living in optimal health.

Are you granting yourself exemption from wise choices during busy-ness and stress? Are you deceiving yourself by saying, “When life slows down and I’m under less stress I’ll commit to eating for health.”

Moments of stress and crisis are the best times to practice making wise choices that build nutritarian muscle!

Let’s dialogue. What excuses are preventing you from living in optimal health today?

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Comments (8) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Rebecca - October 7, 2009 12:10 PM

Ugh!!! I didn't want to read this today ... didn't want to be confronted. 2 1/2 months into a committed nutritarian lifetime eating program, my life got more hectic. Everyone else needed more, I got put on the back burner. Then I started feeling sorry for myself and thus the excuses began. I deserve to eat what they are eating. I won't eat much of it. It's too much work to make a smoothie this morning. It's too much work to pick the greens. I don't want to walk in the cold. On and on... Thus I will regress and gain back the 25 pounds and few inches I've lost. I will be grumpier and depressed. I will not be able to ski with my children this winter. My children and others will see that the nutritarian lifestyle is a fluke because I haven't followed through and remained committed.
OK maybe this was the perfect time to be confronted. I will begin again right now, 100 percent committed and back to life without depression, with a shrinking waistline, with energy, and with focus. Thanks for the well-timed confrontation :) My husband and children will be so glad to see me go back...they really want me to be successful and healthy!

Stephanie - October 7, 2009 12:57 PM

I think my big excuse is "I can't get perfectly healthy food since I'm in college, so it's okay to be a little (and sometimes a lot) less healthy than I could be." I eat my meals in a dinning hall, which means I don't have access to a lot of things, like vegetables that are always cooked without oil. Most of them are cooked with oil, sometimes with butter or margarine, and I eat most of the former set of these and try to only have the latter when it's things like Swiss chard (which they don't cook any other way). This, I think, is probably the best way to go about things. The problem, however, arises with other foods that I should avoid, particularly desserts. I've ordered dates to help satisfy my sweet-tooth, but I don't really have the time (or the ingredients) to make healthy desserts, so I guess I've sort of built up this mentality that an occasional unhealthy dessert is fine, and the problem with this is that it sometimes (as right now) leads me to having a good number of unhealthy desserts. So I guess I need to just buckle down and avoid them entirely and try to make a healthy dessert from time to time, rather than making excuses for my choices.

Sally - October 7, 2009 5:36 PM

I'm not perfect and I do have my slip ups as well as a few "planned cheats" but what I have noticed is they are much less frequent and I get right back on track since following a nutrient dense diet.I especially notice now that I don't feel good after having something unhealthy almost like a feeling of malaise.I also try and remind myself that eating badly adds an additional stress to my body.

Emily Boller - October 7, 2009 10:04 PM

Rebecca and Stephanie - Good for both of you! It's amazing how eye opening our excuses become when we recognize them. Shining the flashlight in the dark places exposes the lies. You will both feel so much better when you confront those excuses and eat for health.

We all need a little nudging in the right direction at times. Smile. I had a terribly rough day today and didn't "feel" like exercising this evening . . . ah, but then I remembered EXCUSES, so I was confronted by my own writing! Ha.

Ravenette - October 7, 2009 10:58 PM

Hi Emily,

I loved this post. It was very timely, since I this week was one of my busiest weeks of the year, and we all know that busyness is one of those things that causes us to excuse our own bad behaviors.

FORTUNATELY for me, I re-read your entire thread at Dr. Fuhrman last week, in preparation for my big week, and as a result I am doing quite well.

My biggest excuse is tiredness. When I get tired I sometimes choose to eat the wrong things. I am combating that problem by planning my meals in advance and keeping lots of healthy soups frozen and ready to go. Preparation is key!

One nice thing about eating healthfully is that I have discovered that I will not drop dead if I go a few hours extra without a meal. SAD food causes such nasty "hunger" symptoms, but life without those symptoms is so much easier! So now it's not such a big deal if I have to work through lunch or get home late for dinner.

Michael - October 8, 2009 1:21 PM


You may want to get checked for Vitamin D, B12 and essential fatty acid levels. I attended Dr. Fuhrman's Getaway this summer and had my blood checked. It turned out I had a low Vitamin D and B12 score. I started supplementing with higher quantities of those vitamins and after 4-6 weeks, my energy has skyrocketed! I can't believe how much better I feel! I am going to have a 10-minute consultation with Dr. Fuhrman this weekend to go over all the results of my tests.


Emily Boller - October 9, 2009 5:19 AM

Sally, thanks for sharing your observations. It's almost "wonderful" to feel so miserable after eating SAD food as it confirms how bad it is for our body. It really does take the pleasure out of eating for disease.

Congratulations Ravenette for doing so well during a busy week! Yes, I agree 100% ~ preparation is key (and for those unexpected times when "life happens" its great to have cans of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Additions on hand!) And yes, its a great feeling to be in control of true hunger.

Keep up the great job of contending for optimal health everyone ~ many are cheering for you!

Gail - April 2, 2012 11:46 AM

I love this article because what it says is so true and so empowering. We really don't have to play victim even when life hands us the script for the leading role in a class C melodrama.

A little while ago I had a crashing headache. It would not go away. It really hurt. At first I was sinking into the drama. Then fortunately I remembered there is a better way. I had seen a demonstration once of someone who was in extreme pain who was instructed to stand up in front of an entire audience and "love everyone unconditionally". At first she recoiled. She thought it was not possible. Then she did it. And in a few minutes her pain vanished!!!

So I did something similar with my headache. I affirmed that "I am joyful". It worked. In a few minutes the pain simply went away. A positive mental attitude is a great stress reliever.

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