Your Comfort Zone is Making You Fat
Disclaimer: this episode contains opinions that are mine and may be offensive to others. While I do not care if a topic or opinion offends you (see here), I want to extend the courtesy of letting you know this may trigger you if you’re afraid of hearing strong ideas about fitness, motivation, and complacency – and that your comfort zone is making you fat.
Before I got married, I made a commitment to fitness. It was actually a perfect time to do it. I started at the new year and ended half way through May when Jami and I went to Italy to get hitched. I cut 27 pounds, lots of inches, and body fat. It was awesome.
When we returned, she got back on track (she’s a fitness trainer / instructor / coach), and I did… sort of. I kept working out, but I wasn’t really paying attention to my diet anymore, and my work (desk job at a computer) caused my posture to ruin my range of motion with forward shoulders and all that goes with it. Fast forward a couple of years, and shoulder impingement causes me too much pain to work out. So I stopped.
That was about 2 years ago. Sure, I’d run a bit and bike for 30 minutes on Thursdays, but it was just enough not to feel bad. Then my pants stopped fitting well. I found my custom made-to-measure shirts were too tight to button. I realized I have a full spare tire in the middle.
I continued to make excuses and justify that I was not fit, but I was working hard and making great money, so my value was not to be questioned. How many guys out there share this sentiment? The one thing I did start doing in the last few months was shoulder rehab and posture exercises. HUGE improvement. I wasn’t ready to really jump back into the gym though.
Then a fitness friend of mine posted a meme online. Suddenly, my comfort zone became uncomfortable.
In this episode, I’m going to explain why your comfort zone is making you fat, why it made me fat, and how “fat” doesn’t have to mean physical appearance – It’s bigger than that. Prepare yourselves. Take a listen and let me know what you think in the comments below. [Subscribe Here]
Over the last couple of years, I’ve worked very hard to build bigger revenue streams, networks, and opportunities. I’ve let my fitness take a back seat. I am an emotional eater and reward myself with delicious things. I love to cook and believe good meals should be an experience – including wine, dessert, and big flavors. When I do well professionally, we eat well in this house.
I got quite comfortable not working out and instead focused on working in my business. My wife continues to get leaner and hotter every year. I, however, simply get busier. I’m not a large guy at all, but I’ve a full spare tire around the middle now, and it’s not okay with me. I should stop making excuses and get back to taking care of my body, but I’m comfortable working hard at my desk, rather than at the gym.
Then I get online and see a meme posted that shows a very large man with a very slim and sexy woman at the beach. We’ve all seen this in images and real life. Being a fitness trainer, he added his take on it.
“So you’re a fat guy with a hot wife, huh? That’s the story you want to tell the world? Cool.”
This was all I personally needed to get off my ass. I uttered curse words under my breath, changed into gym clothes, and walked out the door. I’m back on track now, and it made me think about other places I allow my comfort zone to make me fat.
Let’s pause again though. I want to make it clear that there are larger guys that simply can’t lean out like others. I’m not saying you need to. I’m saying your effort to take care of your body, reduce fat, and get stronger is what’s important. I’m suggesting your health should be a priority. Even if your wife loves you for who you are (whatever size that is), you want to live as long as you can with her, right? Make an effort and explore all the ways you can become your healthiest so you can actually do that.
Again, I want to make it clear that you do not have to be 10% body fat to be healthy. Good Lord, no. I’m am saying, however, a lack of understanding and effort that balloons your weight to 400 pounds and 40% body fat is a terrible thing to do to your body and the people that love you.
I also carefully chose the word understanding in that last sentence because there are humans that struggle to lose weight or keep weight off, and they’re very quick to attack others with their reasons and conditions. They are burdened with a affliction that negates their fitness efforts. They may work out harder than anyone else, but never lose a pound. It’s beyond frustrating for them, and my heart goes out to you if you are in that crowd.
What I mean here is that a lack of effort in understanding what your body is doing (or not doing) is important. The comfort zone in personal health will tell you that you are destined to never be in shape because your body doesn’t lose weight like everyone else’s. It will tell you that you that you can diet and change a few things, but you’re not expecting much because of your condition (whatever that is – there’s a myriad of syndromes and conditions that influence body composition).
Your comfort zone heard that you have a condition and turned it into an excuse. Now you can absolve yourself of responsibility because you have an under active thyroid (as an example). This is bad news bears, and you know it.
My excuse was bad shoulders. That allowed me to tell people I wasn’t going to the gym anymore so I could heal them. I wasn’t making an effort to rehab them or heal anything though. I just stopped.
Then my excuse for not going to the gym to grab a little cardio –just to stay active– was my super busy schedule. Watch out – schedules have a way of getting treacherously busy when you’re trying to avoid something.
So let’s fast forward. I went back up to 200 lbs. from 173, and started to feel bad about myself. Yes, I know I still weigh less than some of you, but stick with me here… Then that Facebook post punched me in the face. My excuses and comfort zone were no longer serving me. I was looking and feeling less satisfied, and my saboteur (that voice in your head) told me that a burrito would cheer me up. How messed up is that?
I mean, he’s right, a burrito makes everything better, but dude. Timing.
Here’s the big bad ugly truth about your comfort zone and that voice in your head:
They will conspire against you if you let them.
Your comfort zone is just a controlled, predictable environment for your saboteur to make sure you never leave. You’ll feel in control because nothing really changes so it’s easy to manage. Even if it’s not healthy, fun, or comfortable, it’s manageable so you’ll stay there. Your saboteur will make you fat and happy in your comfort zone by giving you things it knows you can handle and occasionally sprinkles in things you truly enjoy.
If you venture outside your comfort zone, however, it will do its damnedest to drag you back kicking and screaming. You’ll want to try something new and that voice will tell you how scary it is; you’re not good enough; it’s going to suck; you’ll embarrass yourself; they’re not going to love you if you change; you’re not going to love them if you change; you could lose everything – don’t risk it! Have a burrito instead. You love burritos. Remember all the good burritos we’ve had? C’mon big guy. Chipotle is ahead. I’m buying.
Your legacy is more important.
The meme that got me moving isn’t as much about fitness as it is about legacy. You’re a fat guy with a hot wife isn’t necessarily bad. Your wife is hot. Go you. It’s the line about the story I want to tell the world that got to me.
We’re told not to judge, and yet, we do. Always. Continually. We’re told not to care what people think, and yet, we do. Always. Continually. The idea that the first story other people will get from me is that I’m a fat guy with a hot wife isn’t one I want to tell. That story helps them create more stories about me, and those will shape the way they interact with me, with her, and with the environment around us.
I’ve said in other episodes and articles, legacy is something you’re continually building. It’s the story of you in the world right now. It’s the story of you after you leave the room. It’s the story you leave for others when you exit (the relationship, the conversation, the room, the planet). There are a lot of things I want to be, do, and have, and I am in complete control of that achievement.
People will often get lost in the stories others have told about them. They often forget they’re capable of telling their own. More importantly, we as humans, often spend too little time consciously creating our stories, and instead spend too much time devouring the opinions, stories, and judgements of others as the definition of who we are.
This episode in fact, is a perfect example of exactly that. I’m telling you my perspective on fitness level, comfort zones, and saboteurs, and you may be listening and think I’m defining you as a fat person. You might be, but that’s up to you to define, dude! If you’re confident in who you are at your current weight, fitness level, and lifestyle, then make sure that’s the story you are comfortable telling. If you’re currently sharing a version of yourself that you’re not totally proud of, take some time and write out who you want to be. Describe the story you want to tell and the legacy you want to leave.
My story told me that I would share I’m lazy if I was a fat guy with a hot wife. It would show that I had the resources and access needed to learn more about fitness and health (ACE certified spouse, free access to dozens of gyms), and I instead chose to avoid or ignore it. It would showcase that I don’t care about taking care of myself. My own shame would tell the story that she works so hard to be fit and active and I’m just her chubby husband that can’t be bothered.
My point is, my comfort zone, excuses, and saboteur all worked together to make me feel less than my best self. Your comfort zone isn’t meant for permanent residence either. You will absolutely perish too soon if you stay there. So get clear on what your comfort zones are (in work, relationships, hobbies, lifestyle, friendship, health & fitness) and make a list of all the behaviors you do to stay there. Make a list of the things you do or don’t do so as not to leave your comfort zone. Write out how you know you’re stuck in your comfort zone.
Write out what stories you’re telling. Write out all the ways your comfort zone is making you fat. Fat in your health, sluggish in your ambition, slow to move in your opportunities… Get clear on it.
And get to the gym. Even if you’re positive you’ll never be a supermodel (me either), things are better with exercise. You’ll feel better, you’ll feel like you look better, sex is better, mornings are better, sleeping is better – life is generally better when you’re more active. Let that be part of the story you tell.
Remember: Go boldly, everywhere.
And remember, this episode might be offensive to you, but nobody cares. Life is 10% what happens, and 90% how you respond to it. You can either stop listening and curse me out, you can think nothing of my opinion and perspective, you could explore your story and let my perspective resonate in the context you need it to for you to move forward, or any combination of the above. You get to decide how to respond.
Do you have a hard truth story that helped you make big changes?
What helps you get inspired to make changes and leave your comfort zone?
Leave a comment below so we can connect!