Self Sabotage: How We Mess Ourselves Up (Radio Show 002 Transcript)

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The following is a transcript from my radio show, Your Health At The Crossroads, which airs on 100.5 FM in Middle Georgia on 1st and 3rd Tuesdays at 6:30 PM.  If you don’t live in the area, you can stream it online at macons1005fm.com.

In July of 2016, I traveled out west with my wife and child to attend a family reunion on my wife’s mother’s side.  Family reunions still are a relatively new concept to me since neither side of my family had them when I was growing up.  I was always the one who would look at folks at school and church with those shirts with all the names and the family trees and all, and I would wonder what in the world a family reunion is like.

Well now I know.  My wife’s family is big on both sides, and both have “FOR REAL, For Real” family reunions, complete with itineraries, t-shirts, talent shows, dancing…and of course FOOD.

So anyhow, we flew out to Las Vegas where my mother-in-law’s family is based and had a good time.  Now I admit that the food aspect of these reunions is one of my favorite – not THE favorite, but one of my favorite – parts of these reunions.  When you assemble 50-100 family members together, you’re going to have a lot of grandmothers, aunties and uncles who can straight-up cook.

Needless to say, as far as food is concerned, I admittedly got it in that weekend.  We had a outdoor barbecue night, a banquet night and a birthday party.  To add, there were times where we had to pick up food when it wasn’t available, and since we stayed at the house of one of my wife’s uncles who kept pancake ingredients and bacon and stuff like that in the house, it was good breakfast being cooked every single morning.

After flying back to Georgia and getting settled back into regular life, I eventually noticed that part of me hadn’t really settled.  I’m talking about the part of me that was still wanting to eat ‘celebratory’ food.  I would always make sure I got my vegetables in, but if I wanted a sausage biscuit and hashbrowns, I would get it.  If I wanted some waffle fries, I would get some, and large at that.  If I wanted some fried wings, I would get them.  Pretty much, if I wanted something I knew was bad, I would eat it, and it was a while before I got my diet back to a place of more consistent healthy eating.

This brings me to the topic of tonight’s show, which is Overcoming Self Sabotage.  We’re going to talk tonight about how to avoid those situations and times in life where we get off the healthy eating bandwagon and find ourselves feeling like we don’t know how to get back on.

First of all, let me say that I am of the opinion that it is alright to celebrate sometimes.  There are occasions where I believe it is okay to relax your eating somewhat for the sake of fellowshipping and celebrating with other people.  It might be a family reunion, a birthday party, a holiday like yesterday or like the 4th of July, or Thanksgiving, or anything like that.  Maybe your niece just graduated from high school and the family is getting together to celebrate.  Maybe you just got a promotion.  My point is, these are justifiable times to celebrate and to feel like you can eat something more than a salad.  Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3:4 mentions how there is a time to laugh and a time to dance.  Celebration is a good thing.

However, one thing that I have realized in my personal life and that I suspect is relevant for many of you listening tonight is that these celebratory times are often times where we totally fall off of any health promoting eating that we were doing beforehand.  We consume things that we haven’t consumed in a while, and before you know it, we’ve regained a taste for all kind of bad stuff and we don’t want to let go.

Question for you:  Have you ever decided to omit a certain food or drink from your diet and lost the taste for it?  To the point that you tried to eat whatever it was and it just didn’t “do it” for you anymore?  That’s definitely happened with me with Coca Cola in particular.  I had gotten pretty carried away with drinking Coke to the point that one day when I was eating out with my mom, dad and brother as a young adult, I got about 5 refills, man.  On that 5th refill, I was like “Shawn, now that’s ridiculous.”  I felt convicted and pretty much stopped drinking cokes after that.  That was several years ago, and since then, I’ve had them from time to time – maybe once every 6 months or so – and although I still like the taste okay, I don’t like the way they make me feel, so it’s easy to avoid them.

Now I have a follow-up question.  Have you ever rediscovered a taste for a bad food you had weaned yourself off of?  Have you found yourself consuming something that you were no longer excited about, but then eventually you found yourself back to liking it and consuming it more than ever?  Let me tell you what I believe occurs when we’re in that place.

James 1:14 (NLT) says that “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.”  Our desires for those bad things that we had trained ourselves to avoid keep calling to us…remind us that we used to like them…reminding us of how those things made us feel…coaxing us to believe that just a little bit won’t hurt anything.  So we find ourselves drinking another Coke or eating another doughnut even though we don’t really want it, and then we find ourselves doing it again.  What is slowly happening in the background is that your old habit is resurfacing, and then before you know it, you ate 6 doughnuts yesterday and you’re thinking about it as you sit in the Krispy-Kreme drive-thru today.  It’s real, man.

So yeah, often we have these times of celebration and feasting, but we find ourselves not knowing how to stop feasting.  We find ourselves getting back into old unhealthy eating habits and gaining weight that we’d previously lost, plus another 10 or 20 lbs.  How in the world do you avoid the same old trap?  How do you get off of that “up-down” “sometimes on it-sometimes not” roller coaster?

I don’t know about you, but if I am trying to accomplish some sort of goal and I’m years in and still haven’t accomplished it, I start getting tired, man.  Either I’m going to get it or I need to stop.  Some of you may have been trying for years or even decades to lose weight or to get off of hypertension or diabetes meds but you keep on finding yourself in this same place.  It’s time to find a real solution so that you can move on with your life.

What I will tell you as your fitness coach and as one who reads the Word is, it’s all in your level of discipline and how you deal with temptation.  Overcoming the tendency to sabotage your healthy diet can be pretty much summed up in those two concepts.

I heard a great definition on the term “discipline” by Dr. Randy Carlson from the Intentional Living broadcast.  He said that discipline is basically doing the things you don’t feel like doing.  And isn’t that true?  There is a reason that we have to discipline ourselves to exercise and to eat the right foods…because we don’t feel like it but we know that we need to!

Now some think that discipline is one of those things that you either have or you don’t.  If you feel that way, then I’m sorry for busting your bubble, but it isn’t true.  Discipline can be developed by anyone.  That’s why you see young folks going into military boot camp and coming out all fresh, clean and straight-laced.  They were essentially made to become disciplined.

Going back to the Overcoming Self Sabotage concept, we talked about how we go into times of celebration and then find ourselves never stopping the feasting.  How do we use discipline in this case?  We use it specifically to set hard boundaries.

For example, when Thanksgiving rolls around, you know that there’s going to be sweet potato pie, dressing and cranberry sauce, and that’s fine.  You can enjoy them.  But if you want to be successful with your health and avoid self-sabotage, you need to set boundaries before Thanksgiving even comes.  Yes, you’re going to eat Thanksgiving dinner, but does your breakfast need to be off the chain as well?  Maybe you could make your own personal rule that breakfast is going to be healthy…fresh fruit and maybe a couple of scrambled eggs, or maybe some whole grain oatmeal sweetened with a banana and some berries.  You don’t have to go all out on Thanksgiving morning.  You can also set a boundary on how big you make your plate.  Make a point to taste everything, and then if – and only if – you have room afterwards, you can add some more vegetables.  That’s fair, right?  Another boundary to consider would be one on how long you eat leftovers before you give them away or freeze them.  Give them away, you might say.  But hey, these are the kinds of things you decide if you want to be successful with your health.

As far as approach to temptation goes, the bible is really clear, man.  You do two things…1) fight it with nothing but the Word of God, and 2) run from it.  Every time that Jesus was tempted by satan, He responded, not with rationalization, but with the Word of God.  When the time of celebration is over and you know it, and you’re contemplating picking up a hamburger and fries because you don’t feel like cooking, you have to be strong enough to say “1 Corinthians 6:20 – God bought me at a high price and therefore I must honor God with my body.”  And then you have to be strong enough to avoid the route that goes by the burger place, because if you’re honest with yourself, you know that you still might go if you’re close enough to smell the fries.  You know what I’m talking about.

So yeah, don’t sabotage yourself, man.  You’ve been doing too good with eating your vegetables and avoiding unhealthy processed foods to allow any celebration or holiday mess you up.  Set your boundaries early on, and deal with that temptation that comes after the celebration time by using the Word of God and by literally running from it.  This is how you will experience long-term success with maintaining your temple.

Oh, and one last word.  Every occasion isn’t a celebration, guys.  Just because you got off of work on this evening and you’re tired doesn’t mean it’s time to feast.  And I know the hot sign is on at Krispy Kreme, but just because it’s on doesn’t mean that it’s time for you to celebrate by buying some.  I’m just saying (lol).

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