13 July 2010

Rationalization or Excuse Making

Before I went to sleep last night, I planned my exercise routine for the morning.  This was not a difficult task, as I merely laid out my clothes, decided what I wanted to accomplish in the workout (warm up, cardio, cool down components)  to be able to get the routine in and to get ready for work on time.

Fair enough!  I needed to wake at 5:00 am.  Easy enough.. My plan will be executed this morning.

This got me thinking.. why was I so resistant to do this before...
  • What caused my resistance to exercise??
  • Was it rationalization or purely just excuse making??
  • Why did I employ defense mechanisms to fend off exercise?
Freud was a big theorist on defense mechanisms.. so I decided to take a closer look.

Here is what I discovered:
Defense mechanisms are thought to safeguard the mind against feelings and thoughts that are too difficult for the conscious mind to cope with. In some instances, defense mechanisms are thought to keep inappropriate or unwanted thoughts and impulses from entering the conscious mind.
For example, if you are faced with a particularly unpleasant task,[ HMM  insert Exercise here] your mind may choose to forget your responsibility in order to avoid the dreaded assignment. In addition to forgetting, other defense mechanisms include rationalization, denial, repression, projection, rejection and reaction formation
Rationalization is a defense mechanism that involves explaining an unacceptable behavior or feeling in a rational or logical manner, avoiding the true reasons for the behavior. For example, a person who is turned down for a date might rationalize the situation by saying they were not attracted to the other person anyway, or a student might blame a poor exam score on the instructor rather than his or her lack of preparation.
Rationalization not only prevents anxiety, it may also protect self-esteem and self-concept. When confronted by success or failure, people tend to attribute achievement to their own qualities and skills while failures are blamed on other people or outside forces. [INSERT DOUBLE HMMM]
So that brings us to excuse making... label it with any psychy term you want to pull out of the air.. but at the end of the day it is a tactic for avoidance.

My theory is that YOU need to accept the REALITY of why you are not exercising.. and ask your self the hard questions... WHY ARE YOU AVOIDING EXERCISE??

Once you accept the reality, you then need to figure out what are you going to do about it.. and I do not mean try to rationalize the action.... you need to make a decision to either accept it or reject it.

So that is where I am at with this... I have rejected the rationalization approach, the excuse making and have decided to take control of the matter.. i.e. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY!!

The realization.. it has taken my many months to accept the fact that despite my band, I will need to exercise to lose weight.. duh!  what the hell.. did I not know this pre-band.

I really think I rationalized that the band = continuous weight loss. and no need to exercise....  it just doesn't work that way (for me).

Be well..


  1. great food for thought! thanks for making me really think about some stuff. i love discovering why i do the things i do.

  2. That was a lot of mental exercise to figure that one out. :) I gold medal in all of them: rationalization, defense mechanisms...

    Good points! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Man, I really wish you lived in Connecticut. Then we could get our lazy asses out of bed and go for a walk, gabbing all the way. Why is it that workouts seem so much easier and go by so much faster when we're too busy talking to register anything else?

  4. I'm happy for you cupcake as well as being proud. But personally, I think because I've lost this hundred pounds on several previous occasions through diet and major exercise, that I truly don't foresee me aspiring to anything more than being fit (able to walk really briskly for an hour and getting back to cycling 25 miles in 90 minutes. I just feel like "been there...done that". If it takes me 50% longer to get there (to 150), then so be it...but dreading exercise on a daily basis (which is absolutely what I would end up doing) only serves to stress me out. I've really got to post on this subject at some point but I know I'll be in such the minority (amongst all of these trainer-clad women) that I keep talking myself out of it.