sugar: my arch nemesis
One of the most common mistakes I see with people looking to better their lives, is placing blame on outside things for all of their shortcomings. “I’m too old to be in shape”. “I like fried foods too much to have a six pack”. It’s not in my genetics to be stronger”. Look at these statements. “Age” is the weakness, “Fried foods” are the weakness”, “genetics” are the weakness.
Shoot man, everyone is weak in some way or another. And if you don’t think you have some form of weakness, well, that right there just might be your weakness!
But here’s the thing about weaknesses, most people tend to get a little confused about what it actually is. Is it age, fried foods, or genetics like above? Or is it sugar, chips, alcohol, handstand push ups, squats, TV? Well, if you answered yes to any of those (or something similar to those) I’ll say flat out that nope, you are wrong. Those things are not your weaknesses. They are the things that you either turn to in times of weakness, or the things that expose your weaknesses.
You see, weakness is something within you. It’s usually some sort of mental issue, or an imbalance of the body that leads to an expression of the weakness. I’m sure you’ve heard someone say, or you’ve said yourself that title: “man, sugar is my weakness”. No, sugar is not your weakness; you just turn to sugar in times of weakness for reasons specific to you. The act of blaming the sugar is actually you avoiding the real issue.
Instead of taking responsibility of your own problems, you push them onto something else. You might find yourself saying: “if sugar wasn’t there, I’d be fine”. That is just not true. Sugar is not the problem. If you turn to something or do not have the ability to perform something as well as you’d like, it is on YOU, and you alone.
I use the sugar example because that is what I tend to turn to in my times of weakness. When I am feeling low, or depressed in some way, I get this strong urge to consume a large collection of specific desserts because somewhere in my twisted, momentarily weak mind I feel like it will make everything better. But it won’t. It never does. And it doesn’t because I never address the actual issue at hand when I “fall off the wagon”. I then feel like crap, both physically and emotionally, and promptly blame those damn cookies for being there and tempting me.
Just a couple days ago I was dealing with some issues and was having this overwhelming urge to get the perfect chocolate chip cookie (or five) to get some sort of instant gratification. I started thinking about the whole process and how I would feel guilty eating it because I would not be eating it out of a true desire to have something awesome I enjoy.
I would be eating it out of an emotional reaction.
I would then feel physically bad because having sugar and gluten make me feel like crap after I eat them. I would feel like I was taking a step back in my fitness because I would be breaking my efforts to having a nutritionally clean and very active, healthy lifestyle. I then went through the process of how damn good it feels when I eat healthy and work out regularly. And seriously, it happens almost instantaneously that I feel good when I do the things I know are good for me.
I then spent a long time thinking about how incredibly powerful the mind is. It can actually make challenging the decision to feel great, have energy, be happy, and make rapid gains through a relatively simple process that I have done many times over in my life; and having a cookie and feeling like crap. What the hell?
You can justify all you want why you should not do what’s actually right for you. It’s surprisingly easy as we all can attest to. But don’t blame those outside things and call them stupid and wish they were out of your life.
That isn’t going to fix a thing.
Sure, it will help to rid your house of anything bad for you, but you still are not addressing the actual problem. Look within yourself and pay attention to what’s going on when you have those intense cravings and needs. Look at your performance on workouts and ask yourself what imbalances you have that make certain exercises so hard.
As always, it’s about taking responsibility and being honest with yourself. Then make a choice.
The choice you make is 100% yours. The cookie did not actually talk to you (even though sometimes it feels like it might). Being depressed because you can’t do a pull up is not the pull ups fault. Pull ups are completely attainable and it’s not your genetics making it impossible for you. Choose to be healthy, it feels freaking great. Choose to correct imbalances, it works surprisingly well. Choose to take on the challenges and work hard, you will see results. It might not be instant gratification, but I’ll tell you what, for most people the gratification does come pretty damn quickly.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Josh is a former professional baseball player turned certified personal trainer, sports conditioning specialist, CrossFit level 1 coach, CrossFit Kids coach, and TRX instructor. With a special interest in coaching teens and children Josh has become a highly educated and well respected leader in the Crossfit community and designs and implements programming for two gyms; one in Belmont, California and another in Washington, D.C.. You can follow Josh on Twitter or Instagram and be sure check out more of his musings on his very own blog, here.