Thursday, June 11, 2009

Burn the Ships

When Spanish Conquistador Hernando “Corky” Cortez landed in Mexico in 1519, he gave a startling order: “Burn the ships.” Some historians argue that he just didn’t want to pay the docking fees at the marina, but most have come to the conclusion that he was so committed to his mission that he didn’t want to allow his men (or himself) the option of returning to Spain... the option of failure.

I’ve been taking a “burn-the-ships” approach with many aspects of my current weight loss campaign. I’m getting rid of excuses that get in my path, and I’m chasing away temptations that I know are just too difficult for me to resist.

I used to buy snacks for my daughters that, more often than not, I would wind up munching on while watching a ball game on TV.

Burn the chips.

The fridge by my desk at the office was once stacked and packed with sodas.

Burn the cokes.

I found myself eating dessert right before bedtime.

Burn the treats.

All too often, I was making poor choices at restaurants.

Burn the menus.

None of us are made of steel. We can’t resist temptation indefinitely. What we can do is take away as many of the hurdles and enticements that get in the way of our weight loss success as we possibly can.

When I decided to stop drinking coffee a couple of weeks ago, there was an almost-full container of Almond Toffee coffee creamer in the fridge. I left it in there a couple of days, but I know the way my mind works: “Well, that stuff’s just going to go to waste if I don’t drink it. Maybe a cup of coffee just the weekends… that’d be all right.”

When you start making deals with yourself over food, it’s time to burn the ships.

Glug, glug, glug… down the drain went the coffee crap.

Family won’t like it if you quit buying ice cream? I’ve got news for you: they’ll get over it. My daughters were livid when I quit bringing home their favorite chips. Tough t*tty, said Jack Sh*tty. Them boats have been torched.

And the excuses. Maybe more important than the temptations, you’ve got to take away the excuses that make taking care of yourself less of a priority than taking care of all the other areas of your existence, all the other duties and responsibilities that fill your days. This is your life, and it’s high time that you give yourself the opportunity to be the person you want to be, that you know deep down you’re on the road to becoming.

Burn the ships. Get rid of anything and everything that could possibly cause you to fail. Burn the ships. Take every excuse off the table, and leave every cop-out and justification out back with the trash. Leave yourself no choice but to succeed… and don’t be surprised when that’s just what you do.

Against all odds, Cortez’s men conquered the Aztecs and were victorious where others had been unsuccessful for six centuries.

It’s hard to open the fridge door when your back’s against the wall.

32 comments:

  1. Ice cream is my weakness. I could eat it every day, every meal. I guess admitting that's a problem is the first step, right?

    Ha! Thanks for the compliment on my blog title! I don't think many people have figured it out. But I wonder, how many women think the Coen brothers are geniuses? (except for Burn after reading, that one sucked) I don't know too many women that could watch Fargo over and over and would think Raising Arizona is hilarious!

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  2. Thanks for this . . . totally true, although I don't TOTALLY condone you saying tough t*tty to your daughters! ;)

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  3. Great post! I have been letting food sneak back in to my house "for the kids" but it's my ass that's gaining! Time to put an end to it :)

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  4. Another good "burn the ship" has been blogging. I don't know about you but I hate reporting a bad weight loss or, god forbid, a weight gain. No closet dieting when you are blogging.

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  5. Very insightful. I couldn't agree more. I really enjoyed this post. You have a tremendous talent in communicating your message. I'll be a faithful reader for sure, take care and keep doing what you're doing!

    Sean Anderson
    The Daily Diary of A Winning Loser
    www.losingweighteveryday.blogspot.com

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  6. I threw out all the crap in my house and my boys moaned and groaned for a couple of weeks. Now they won't touch the stuff. They are trying new, healthy foods and loving it.
    Great post, as usual!! :)

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  7. Thankfully my husband helps me burn the ships and there is nothing seaworthy in our house. Love your writing style, by the way. ;)

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  8. Hehe...you said t*tty.

    Oh yeah, great post. You would think after 18 months of this that all my ships would be ash by now.

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  9. Loose lips (as in eating) sink ships? Or was it "hips?" There's a pun in there somewhere. Burn the calories, burn the ships. Another great post, Jack!

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  10. Nice post! Burn the boats, love it.

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  11. Great post.

    lol @ tough titty

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  12. Thanks... I really needed to be reminded of this.

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  13. Excellent. I 100% subscribe to this theory! :)

    ~Wendy

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  14. Toxic food and people - sending them packing!

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  15. This was the first thing I did when I moved out of home, never mind started managing my weight. Since I have approximately as much self-restraint as a magpie in a jewellery shop, I just stopped buying stuff I didn't want to be eating. And multi-packs are the work of the devil. Eeeeeeeevil!! Restaurants still stump me though .... more planning required on my part I think!

    Now ... where are those excuses??? It's time to have me a bonfire!! Mwahahahahaaa.

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  16. Keeping it real as usual, mister!
    Totally appreciate your comment on my blog ;) I am so on it!

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  17. Wow, I love this. I'm going to adopt this motto..Burn the Ships! No more excuses or deals!!

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  18. I loved that little peice of history. Burn the ships, indeed! As usual you said what I wanted to only so,so much better.

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  19. Ay Ay, Captain! It has always been my belief that you have to take temptation out of the equation. Great post! I love it! I'll be sure to burn some ships in future...

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  20. Great blog. I need to have a few fires burning myself me thinks :)

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  21. Great post Jack! I too agree that we have to get rid of as many temptations as we can. Plus our kids definitely don't need the junk. One thing I've notice though now is when they get money they want to head for the store for junk lol. Not the best thing but just the way it goes I guess.

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  22. I don't say if often enough, but thanks one and all for the kind, insightful and always entertaining comments. It's always a blog party!

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  23. Burn the chips, lol! Love it. Burn the larger clothes too. NO, we will never need them again!

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  24. Damn, late to the party again! I had to take a breather right after the "tough t*tty, said Jack Sh*tty"...I just couldn't concentrate. LOL

    Ecellent message, great writing.

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  25. Oddly insightful and surprisingly brilliant. You've now got me hooked.

    I feel like walking around with a flag and maybe a flute singing "Burn the ships, burn the chips, burn the hips!"

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  26. Dude, I love the hard core sh$t.

    cheers,

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  27. love it! I burned everything long ago and I miss my cheez-its ...bad! BUT my butt sure thanks me! lol

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  28. That's great advice. We must burn the ships!!

    I just found my way over here and I think I have lots of entertaining reading to catch up on. I just sang your Beverly Hillbillies profile ;)

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  29. how's this for burning your boat. I had my good friend from next door take my picture along with a note from me and a check. If I do not lose 40 lbs. in one years time my friend has the duty and obligation to mail the picture and pertinent information on my wieght to my hometown newspaper stating that I had again failed myself and as of june 1rst, 2010 am still 262 lbs. Luckily I have already lost 7 lbs. MY hoometown is small....everybody knows everyone and my exboyfriend, whom I dumped while still slender, still lives there. Every time I want to pop a ho ho in my mouth I stop and think. Do I really want my ex boyfriend laughing at my fat *ss in my hometown newspaper. Nope.
    chrislivessimple.blogspot.com

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  30. Awesome post. Great strategy. Apparently you're just as good at serious writing as you are at you're tremendous funny stuff. And you get about a million comments. Good work, might just be my new ideology.

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