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The Blame Game

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Let me say right up front that I’m not out to indict anyone. I’m mostly speaking from experience and, as a keen observer of human nature, I’m expanding what I know was on my insides to the insides of others. So, forgive me for making this generalization about us but, as a rule, we people not great at taking responsibility. We often play the Blame Game. Let me use myself as an example:

When I was obese, I told more than one person I was overweight because I came from an obese family. Part of that statement is true – everyone in my family of origin is obese or seriously overweight. But believing for a minute that I was overweight because of that was an excuse. I was blaming something outside of myself for my weight issues.

I was so good at it! I am hypothyroid – the year before I was diagnosed I gained 25 lbs! So, yes, during that year, I could have blamed the hypothyroidism for my weight gain and surely would have had I had a diagnosis! Within 6 months of appropriate medication, my thyroid hormone levels came back to normal essentially rendering me the same as any other person with a functioning thyroid but I didn’t lose those 25lbs. For many years after diagnosis I blamed my thyroid for my weight and found lots of misery in the company of other sufferers.

It just seemed comforting somehow to not have to take responsibility for what was the truth behind my obesity - I was simply eating too much.

On the flip side, I also had lots of excuses for not exercising! I have asthma and that meant I couldn’t exert myself!! Sprinter Donovan Bailey, once the world’s fastest man, has asthma – the fact that he must have been exercising with it escaped my blaming brain – nope, I couldn’t exercise because I had asthma, and arthritis and a Morton’s neuroma and Irritable Bowel Syndrome and on and on and on and on. Once again, I didn’t have to take responsibility for myself, I could find something to blame.

But, the truth is that in addition to eating too much, I wasn’t moving enough.

What kinds of excuses are you making for not achieving your weight loss success?

The problem with the Blame Game is that, when we engage in it, we give control of our problems to something outside of ourselves that we can’t control! The resultant feeling of helplessness undermines our ability to believe that we can be grown ups in control of our own world. We give our power away when we assess blame for our own failings. Excuses are the fuel that keeps the fires of failure burning bright!

In order to take back that power and to harness its fuel for success we need to stop making excuses. We need to stand in front of a full-length mirror andm while looking ourselves straight in the eye, say, “I did this to myself.” Look down, look side-to-side if you need to and then look yourself back in the eye and say, “I can undo this too.”

Yes, my family is obese and I have asthma and my foot aches like crazy but I was fat because I ate too much and did too little.

So, I ate less and did more – no more excuses.

Every time I feel the need to look outside myself to find something to blame for my poor choices (most recently it was Christmas and my mother baked shortbread! And I ate too many!), I remember that the Blame Game can’t be won. I step up to the mirror, own up to my mistakes and carry on.

No excuses.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Glad I "stumbled" upon this blog....I couldn't have said it better if I tried. I get really tired of reading whiney, complaining blogs. People blame everyone but their own "hand to fork to mouth" disease, even their poor Mothers!

    It's nice to see someone tell it like it is!

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    3690 days ago
    Argh. I don't like your blog. What does that say? LOL. No, "like" is not the right word. I'm "uncomfortable". I've accepted that I need to go on thyroid meds and will be on them for life and am discouraged ...but not... because I am starting to feel better. I agree with what you are saying and yet at this moment I am on the other side not wanting to use a "crutch" to succeed. I want to make it on my own but I felt like I had hit a brick wall on my own. I can reread your blog and agree because yes yes yes I have done the denial and the excuses. And I AM being more active and eating less. Am I uncomfortable because I am not convinced I am doing enough? I think at this moment I am walking a tightrope and easily influenced, wary. Wow I reread what I wrote and had not realized how angry I am to be on these meds. I don't want to give them credit for the changes I am seeing and feeling. Hmm. So good blog because it challenged me. I am going to have a "talk" with my little purple pills. I think we will have to become a team so I don't sabatoge the successes ahead.
    3706 days ago
  • CMB2048
    Wonderful blog. I make excuses all the time. And you are right, essentially we have the control!
    3724 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7823373
    So true!
    3726 days ago
    Your statements "I did this to myself. And I can undo this too." are very empowering!
    Gotta remember those!
    3726 days ago
    Good one! I know the pain of the neuroma, I think I have one too (not 100% sure, the doctor says 50/50 it's that) but still carry on with the workouts....it's hard, but makes me feel good.

    Also, I'm learning the part about accepting the failure, and moving on, this is so hard to learn, but rather than wallow in the guilt and shame, I just forgive and move ahead.
    3727 days ago
  • KELPIE57
    Great blog, very true, once we stop blaming and start taking responsibility, then the world is our oyster...hmm, I need to look at what I "can" do everyday!
    3727 days ago
  • KITT52
    like CASJ57 the day I stop making excuses is the day I started to loose weight.....
    it really works, I have lost over 200+ pounds so far....
    I am in control of what goes in to this body NO ONE ELSE....

    3727 days ago
    I really like this blog: and I'm taking responsibility for a few Christmas pounds and peeling them off pronto. No more eating standing up!! Gotta be seated . . . and it's helping!!
    3727 days ago
  • no profile photo CD863863
    Excellent blog. The day I took responsibility for my weight was the day I started losing it.

    3727 days ago
    Thanks this is very inspiring blog. I'm just started out and have spent the past 15 years using the Blame Game as my excuse. Bad back, living overseas so I can't get the right food, having children and surgeries, but you are right on target, it all comes down to too much food and not enough movement. Thanks again for keeping me motivate!
    3727 days ago
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