BLOG: Excuses only get you so far

Katherine Ranzenberger
York Dispatch

Getting up and moving around is extremely difficult when I’m basically a potato.

My usual go-to excuse.

This week’s challenge in the 10 Pound Throwdown is “Get Moving!” But my body doesn’t want me to move.

It’s especially hard to get motivated when my Lupus flares.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can manifest in different ways for every person. There’s a reason House was always diagnosing someone with Lupus and then changing his mind.

It’s called “The Great Imitator” in the medical world because of how diverse the symptoms can be.

For me, it manifests a lot like rheumatoid arthritis. My hips feel like there’s an ice cream scooper surrounding the joint and my knees feel like a knife is twisting inside when storm fronts move through. (My mediocre superpower is telling you when the barometric pressure is above 29.9.)

My kidneys ache daily. My brain gets foggy, and I can’t think straight sometimes. So many things are out of whack for me that I’m so used to just turning into a potato at the end of the day.

Last week, I talked with Stephanie L. Voight, supervisor for Community Health Development and Evaluation at WellSpan. She’s helped change my mind about being a potato after work.

According to Voight, 67 percent of York County residents are overweight or obese. The fact that two out of three people in this county are at least overweight is messed up. It makes me uncomfortable.

What I’ve realizing is we all have excuses. We may have physical limitations or we have kids to chase around or our schedules just don’t work with getting to the gym.

After talking with Dr. Mark Lavallee, a sports medicine doctor at WellSpan, I’ve found that even the little things count. Parking your car at the end of the parking lot at work and walking the distance counts. Cleaning the house or going outside and doing yardwork counts.

One of the most inspiring women I’ve had the chance to talk with and watch online is Marisa Zeppieri-Caruana, a freelance journalist and creator of, a non-profit organization aimed at empowering younger generations living with Lupus and other invisible illnesses.

Zeppieri-Caruana was diagnosed with Lupus in 2001. She has undergone chemotherapy, has been wheelchair bound but keeps pushing forward to make sure that she’s healthy and staying active. She doesn’t allow those excuses to get in the way of her taking care of herself.

“I think there is a constant questioning about whether or not we are measuring up to what society expects of us,” she said in a Facebook message. “So, I constantly try to remind myself that I can do as much as anyone else can – sometimes even more (like building a successful nonprofit, working and taking care of my health) – however, I can do all of these things on my timeframe and in line with my health and my strength at the moment. I keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day and the only one putting demands and timelines on myself is me!”

Excuses can only get you so much extra time. It’s time for us to stop making excuses and start working on ourselves and our health, even if it’s little steps.

We need to remember to do it on our timeline. If your body says no today, that’s OK. But doing the little things can make a big difference.

What sort of little steps are you taking to better your health? What do you like to do for exercise instead of going to the gym? Do you have a diet you’re following that’s working for you?

Let me know by tweeting at me, emailing me or leaving a comment. I want to hear from you!