Torres column: Don’t sabotage your success
January 9, 2017
Let me tell you a personal story. I have been traveling to Mexico every year since 2009. I go see my family, and I take some time to recharge and relax a little. My vacations are pretty simple. I meditate, enjoy my day, exercise, nothing crazy.
Each year that I go to Mexico I come back sick to my stomach. I usually stay 15-20 days, and I get sick either in the middle of my vacation or when I come back to the U.S. I used to think it was the Mexican food that made me sick until I discovered the truth.
Years ago I used to eat a lot of shrimp. My family is from the coast, and they catch shrimp for a living. I ate shrimp in different ways. I even helped prepare shrimp to be shipped out of the state, and I ate it as I was working (free shrimp!). When I moved to Mexico City, I ate less shrimp because of the cost, but I would still eat it once in a while.
It was not until I moved to the U.S. that I started to become allergic to shrimp. My body will itch, especially my throat and my mouth. Many times my throat and mouth will swell enough to give me anxiety. I learned my lesson, and I stopped eating shrimp, at least in the U.S.
You may not want to believe your behavior is making you overweight.
I'm not a person who is persistent without gaining knowledge and experience. Every time I went back to Mexico, I would eat shrimp. There were no allergic reactions, no itching, or swelling throat and mouth — or at least that's what I wanted to think.
I never put everything together until my last visit to Mexico when I changed my vacation routine. This time I traveled to Acapulco. I didn't get sick until I arrived to Acapulco and ate a huge shrimp that put me right into bed. I was going to the bathroom every three minutes, had an extremely painful stomach, and felt cold from fever even though it was 98 degrees. I took a look at all my vacations, and, of course, I got sick in the middle of my vacation or by the end because that was when I ate shrimp.
I was blaming Mexican food, but the truth is that my allergy to shrimp was always there, but it manifested with different symptoms.
Sometimes, we don't want to believe reality. I did not want to believe that I was allergic to shrimp, and this is why I'm telling you this story.
Now tell me: What are you doing that you don't believe is contributing to your weight gain? You may be in the same situation that I was, not wanting to believe your behavior is making you sick or overweight.
We often sabotage our success, and I think one of the many reasons is that we don't believe we're doing it, so we continue with the destructive behaviors. I think many people get old before they figure this out. Thank God I take my time and put all the dots together on time, usually.
Many people keep putting on pounds of fat and don't stop their bad behavior because they don't want to believe it's harmful. It is easier to blame it on a secondary factor (like I was doing with Mexican food instead of accepting that it was shrimp that made me ill). We blame it on our thyroid, our genes, our hormones, our metabolism or any other reason, but usually we don't take responsibility.
Another reason people sabotage their success is because they want to be liked by everyone. You will find friends that will pressure you to do what you don't want to do and will tell you things like, "Just eat or drink a little bit, it won't make a difference," "I forgot you are on a diet," "Do you believe this is going to affect your health? You are silly." Because no one wants to be rejected or judged, we end up giving in to their pressure.
One more reason is that people are not ready to change. When people still want to practice the bad behavior just for a little while, that means the person is going to give up until he or she understands that change to a new positive behavior must be permanent. Sabotage is very easy here.
Not trusting the process is another way of sabotaging your goals. Once again, lying to yourself and believing things that are not true will not help you reach your goals, just like not believing in doing the hard work it takes to get to your goal. Or believing there is a magic and easy way to get to your goal without effort and not trusting the real process. The best thing to do is find out who has done what you want to do and follow their advice, understanding what the person wants — to help you or benefit from you. You won't go wrong if you find someone with integrity and just trust the process.
My personal story made me understand why many people sabotage their effort and success. While I know that all that is worthy in life requires effort, sometimes I make the wrong choice. However, thinking about the mistake I made and not believing something superficial will always help me to stay focused and not sabotage my success. I take my time to study the situation, and changes are learned the hard way.
Now you know: Find credible sources of information, meditate about it, don't make the same mistake over and over again, be yourself and stop making people happy by sacrificing your success, make sure that this is the path you want and don't look back, and trust the real process that requires effort. There is not an easy way out. Pay the price, and go get your goals and dreams.
And please, whatever you do, don't sabotage your success.
Sandro Torres is owner of Custom Body Fitness in Carbondale, author of the book "Lose Weight Permanently" and a Watch Fit columnist. His column appears on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month in Body & More.
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