READER’S BEWARE: This post is full of quotes galore.

They. Are.  Everywhere.

Speaking of, recently I ran across an awesome quote:

“Being overweight and out-of-shape is hard. Being lean and in-shape is hard. Choose your hard.”


Regardless of whether you are overweight or you are lean, there are elements of "hard" to both.

Regardless of whether you are overweight or you are lean, there are elements of “hard” to both.


Now I realize that some of you reading this may not agree with the above statement.  I’ve even had people comment, “How is being overweight and out-of-shape hard?”

My answer: Lots of different ways depending on the person, and the magnitude of their situation.  For someone who is recently and slightly overweight, maybe it’s hard for them to get their old clothes on, hard for them to look at themselves in the mirror, or hard for them not to beat themselves up over their weight gain.

For someone who is grossly overweight, maybe it’s hard for them to get out of bed, hard for them get up and down off the ground, hard for them to fit in an airplane seat.

Regardless of why it’s hard, the fact remains.  It is hard.

As for being lean and in-shape?

Heck yeah that’s hard.  Over the course of my life, I’ve spent thousands of hours exerting myself in different ways, pushing my body to the limit with strength training, sprinting, and stretching.  I’ve skipped social functions and given up leisure time in order to train my body.  I’ve turned down delicious food and celebratory drinks countless times so that I could get closer to my goal of being lean and healthy.

So who cares?  What does this all mean?

The above quote, (in addition to numerous conversations that I’ve had with my dear Mama) got me thinking… Life truly is about tradeoffs, isn’t it?

We are constantly picking and choosing what we are willing to trade off for, and what we’re not, and the only person who can judge whether or not something is work the tradeoff, is us. (Read more about this here in my article, Is Being Really Lean, Really Worth It?)


What are you willing to trade your time for?

What are you willing to trade your time for?


We trade our time for money when we are at work.

We trade time and energy expended at the gym to move closer to our health and fitness goals.

We trade time, money, and energy in order to obtain the education we need to achieve our professional goals.

We trade depriving ourselves of our material “wants” in order to have more financial security in the future.

We trade time by ourselves or with our spouses for time with our friends or our children and vice versa.


Thinking about these tradeoffs takes me to another quote that I love.  It makes me uncomfortable, because it hits home in a hard way, but I still love it.

“Next time you start to say, ‘I don’t have time to _______.’  Replace that sentence with, ‘________ is not a priority to me right now.”

Seriously.  Say that out loud.  Instead of telling a friend that you don’t have time for lunch, tell them that they are not a priority to you right now.

Ouch.  That hurts, huh?

OK, so maybe you really shouldn’t tell your friend that, but at the very least it helps you be honest with yourself about your priorities and how you spend your time.

Final quote, “What you feed will grow, and what you starve will die.

This quote simply means that whatever you choose to focus your time and attention on will flourish, and what you ignore will deteriorate.

This applies to anything in life, from your personal and professional relationships, to your business, your inner dialogue (positive or negative), and your health.  Give attention and focus to what is important to you, and you will reap the rewards.

It’s your choice and only your choice to make.  Take responsibility for your life, and the outcomes that occur based on your decisions.

Where will you expend your time and energy?

Personally, I like to expend my energy on the front-end of things, so that I can reap the rewards on the back-end, rather than slacking on the front-end only to be forced to clean up a mess on the back-end. I’ve done the latter and it’s no fun.  You have less control over the situation and the end results is generally less-than-desirable.

Here are a few examples of the tradeoffs I’ve chosen to make:

  1. I’ve had a legitimate job where I was on a weekly schedule since I was 13 in order to support myself financially and learn the value of hard work.
  2. I busted my butt through 5 years of undergrad, and then a graduate program so that by 22 years old, I could be done with my Master’s and wouldn’t have to go back to school once I had entered the workforce.
  3. I’ve been in therapy almost weekly for 5 years in order to work through personal issues so that I can have more healthy and fulfilling relationships with myself and others.
  4. Over the last 10 years, I’ve consistently trained hard and eaten well in order to achieve my performance, aesthetic, and health goals.
  5. I’ve been a frugal spender (relative to my income) for my entire life for more financial security in the long run.
  6. I’ve often skipped social events and partying to spend time training, studying, or sleeping because I know the benefits I reap from those activities will outweigh the enjoyment I get from the social event.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Reading over this list makes me sound like a bit of a party pooper.  I’m all about having fun and enjoying myself.  But for me, doing these things IS enjoying myself.  In fact, these were not hard decisions for me to make because I like hard work and setting myself up for a more relaxing, enjoyable, and fruitful future.


These days, I'm all about making good decisions.  Clearly, my Mother did not share that same philosophy when she let me walk around with a baby mullet.

These days, I’m all about making good decisions. Clearly, my Mother did not share that same philosophy when she let me walk around with a baby mullet.


Also, please don’t take this as me saying that I’m perfect and make all of the right decisions.  I don’t.  In fact, I wrote about 3 Things I Struggle With here.

And there are a few things I am not willing to trade for:

  1. I am not willing to give up a weekly or bi-weekly food splurge to be leaner.  I love food, and get a lot of enjoyment from it.  Being a couple of body fat % points lower isn’t worth it to me to give it up completely.
  2. My Diet Sunkist “addiction.”  I wrote about it in the post mentioned above, and it’s not good for me or my health.  But dammit, I love the stuff.
  3. I am not willing to go completely organic/natural/chemical-free with my makeup and beauty products.  Most of my products fall into that category (read more here) but I still love my MAC makeup, my “It’s a 10!” hair products, and my perfume.

Such a rebel, right? 😉

But seriously.  The purpose of this post is simply to point out that no matter what decision you make, in every area of your life, you are choosing for a particular outcome to be more likely.  Isn’t that exciting?  Don’t you feel empowered to make good decisions?

I hope so.

What are your thoughts?  What things are you willing or not willing to trade off for?


====== > Takeaways in 2 Minutes < ———————-

  1. “Being overweight and out-of-shape is hard. Being lean and in-shape is hard. Choose your hard.”  This quote actually applies to most things in life.  It’s all a tradeoff, and every choice we make has some element of difficult resulting from the decision, whether it’s hard work up front, or dealing with the repercussions of poor decisions on the back end.
  2. You will make time for things that are important to you, and you won’t for things that aren’t.  Don’t make “time” an excuse.  You are not being honest with yourself.
  3. Recognize that your decisions directly impact the outcomes you will deal with throughout your life.  Feel empowered to choose wisely and reap the positive benefits.








14 Responses to Tradeoffs: What Will You Trade For What You Want?

  1. Kathy says:

    Great article! It’s so true that everything is a tradeoff!! I hope to apply your ideas and philosophies to myself!! I will stop complaining about my weight – because I chose to eat that ice cream (or whatever sweet applies). If I make better choices, I will have better outcomes. I know this to be true, but I am weak! It’s a struggle – constantly back and forth! Thanks for your insight!

  2. Emily says:

    You had me at “diet Sunkist.” ; Seriously, it is really not worth trying to be perfect. 😉 I just now started to figure this out. But you know, sometimes experimenting is good. I just spent the past 8 weeks “leaning” out for a photo shoot tomorrow. Am I at 100%? No….because I like to eat. It was not wasy, these past couple weeks, but I have such good eating habits in place (that I worked hard to get) so eating a little less was bot too tasking. I LOVE to ear….but I had arranged this photo shoot and dammit, I wanted to look good. 😉 But you know what? It’s a photo shoot and all I wanted to do was get my upper body in a nice bro swole shape. 😉 It would take more than 8 weeks to get my legs looking as good as my arms but, well, I have a bench meet coming up in October so after the shoot, it is time to get my food back on and work on my bench. 😉 So there. Decisions and choices.

    Molly, you are a real inspiration to me and many women. You keep it nice a real and I really respect that. I really, really, really do.

    By the way, I have a serious diet Pepsi addiction. And I NEVER apologize for it. 😉 Keep up the awesome work girl. Can’t wait to meet you one day soon.


  3. sue says:

    Hi Molly, all of us function on different reward systems. Fear and reward play out. For you the fear of being broke is enough to stop you from the very positive reward of spending your money. The reinforcement is the fear. For others that fear is overcome by nice new shoes. For the gym addicts I see their reinforcement is how they feel while working out, the accomplishment, and also the fear of gaining weight, losing strength or falling off the wagon. The reinforcement has to be timely or immediate, that’s why long term goals of I want to lose 100 pounds typically fail. Immediate reinforcement like the crowd cheering when you make a goal is far more effective. Behaviors that are not reinforced, such as eating right, tend to just die off. Which is why most Americans eat like crap.

  4. Val says:

    Love the quote and love your writing! Always inspiring and fun! That quote will be on my fridge starting today. Thanks!!

  5. Nicole says:

    Great Advice!

  6. Katherine Cobb says:

    There are days I honestly don’t know the answer to that question. Some days I am so fueled by my inner and outer strength and confidence that come from making good healthy decisions and other days I wish I could be content to be whatever weight/shape/size I am (admittedly, those thoughts come after eating things which are not healthy for me). The odd thing is I don’t really change much — I am the same girl from day to day.

    I enjoyed reading your blog post, and I have been in a place where I am pondering several of the questions you pose. My spring-into-summer months have not allowed me to use my time the way I most enjoy. But it always comes down to choices even when some choices are taken away. It’s a reflective time, and some real goal setting and soul searching are in order.

  7. Patricia L Mohr says:

    Truth!! We all have to set priorities, we all have to make choices within those in order to meet goals, that again only we can set.

    Everything is a trade off….. chocolate or flat abs??? I love both, but someplace I have to make that decision…. and then live with it… 🙂

  8. Natalie says:

    Thank you. This is just reminder I needed to focus on my priorities.

  9. Remy says:

    I am loving your blog, Molly!!

  10. Julie Wheeler says:

    *sigh* This made a lot of sense…too much sense. And just like you said, changing “I don’t have time to ___” to “____ is not a priority” really stings. In fact, I wasn’t going to work out tonight because I have so much to do for school, but now….well, I’ll see you in an hour 🙂

  11. Veronica says:

    Love this article. I feel like I beat up myself when I do have a food splurge and/or when I fail giving up my Diet Dr. Pepper. This article gives me some perspective, and I certainly am trying to make the right choices otherwise–having a supportive personal trainer has helped me get on my way too. Reading articles like this helps tremendously. Thank you!

  12. Jasmine says:

    Molly, I really do love your posts. I’ve been reading through your posts for a couple months now and you inspire me. I am struggling through recovery of an eating disorder while still trying to lose weight and never liking anything about myself. Throw that into the mix with being highly motivated career-wise and acheiving to be a world champion in Brazlian Jiu Jitsu.

    Keep up the good work. Thanks for everything you do.
    Love Girls Gone Strong too.

  13. Shelley says:

    Such a great post, Molly, and really timely for me. I spent the last 3 weeks doing this super-duper restrictive cutting diet and basically exhausting myself at the gym for hours at a time on the daily. I had three days “left” of the cut and someone asked me why I was doing it and I could not give a good answer. I leaned out a little bit, lost a couple of pounds, but was that worth just how obsessive I was being and how run-down I felt? I was making myself crazy! It really is all about trade-offs, choices, and figuring out if the thing you think you want is worth what it takes to get there.

  14. Joanne says:

    Molly thanks again for another good blog and lesson. It’s all about the choices . We have to choose more of the good and less of the bad in all aspects of our lives. But we can’t forget how good it feels to walk on the wild side now and then. in the long run we all have to choose to be happy and healthy .

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