There aren’t many things that make me feel like I’ve failed myself… Well… I say that… But here’s the thing… As of late my dietary habits aren’t pleasing me. I’ve tried for the last three years to change my diet to something healthier with little to no success… I’ve cut out a few unnecessary things, carbonated beverages, chips… on occasion I’ll eat tortilla chips or potato chips. But turns out kicking the habit of spending maybe a minute to get a bowl of cereal in the morning and another ten seconds rinsing the bowl out instead of scrambling a few eggs and dirtying a pan too, or making smoothies or what have you. Is a whole lot harder than it sounds. Then you try to add in removing the sugar?!
Do you know that sugar actually can cause, and FEED cancer and tumors? Did you know that Sugar is just as addictive and causes the brain to light up very similarly to cocaine? Did you know that sugar causes fatigue, Weight gain, Digestive problems, heart disease, and a plethora of other problems?
People ask if I know what it’s like to quit smoking upon occasion… No, I don’t know what it’s like. But between watching loved ones struggle with it, and my own struggles to kick the sugar habit, I can surely sympathize…
Now, all that said to get here… I started MMA, mostly focusing on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, then boxing and Muay Thai. About two months into this, I learned of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, the Gracie Academy, and Gracie University. I fell in love with their philosophies because everything could be turned into a life lesson to help you in everyday life. Honestly, if it weren’t for them, I think Jiu-Jitsu would have been burned out a while ago. Though I love my gym, it’s rough being integrated as a newbie.
That’s another struggle I have where I go through days of feeling like I’m failing myself, simply because I’ll go through periods where I’m tapped frequently, or I’m constantly being smothered and I’m barely lucky to survive the round. But here again, through Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, I learned that being a newbie, being a white belt, our whole goal is to survive. Generally, that means learning to protect ourselves. Learning to keep our necks and our limbs safe, and sometimes just hanging out underneath someone and becoming comfortable just defending attacks. For us, it’s survive or die and so even if I am being smashed into the mat, generally I’m happy to have at least survived because that means, that I’m learning to protect myself. Anymore, I’m finding that I have the most fun and the best learning experience if I can partner myself with a higher belt rank that is actually willing to NOT try to kill me. However, the days that I’m barely surviving and/or being tapped, I get frustrated with myself because I feel like I’m failing, not only myself, but also my coaches. The important thing is though, is thanks to the Gracie’s I am still actively pursuing, and enjoying my Jiu-Jitsu classes!
And that is part of what has me excited about getting my diet back on track again, working with the Gracie Diet I feel like I might finally be able to get it. I’ve tried and tried and tried, but it’s like a rolling session, or even almost comparable to working with horses… One thing doesn’t always work, so switching things up and trying different methods might give you the result you are searching for. But, you have to stay with it and not give up. I know I can do it. At this point, it may be like a rolling session, simply defending myself from the junk food, and doing my best to stay out of any of it’s traps. If I had the choice and could remove all processed foods, and sugars from the house, I would have my diet in a heartbeat. Unfortunately I live with a family who is not quite on board with the idea. So I’m constantly surrounded and have easy access to junk food and that is where my fall is. Here’s the thing though, I’m not allowed to blame my family if I slip on my diet. Because I need to have the control it takes, and they are not responsible nor are the forcing me to eat anything that is unhealthy… As much as I would love to say that it was an addiction and I was going crazy craving it, even that is not an excuse to have caved and allowed myself to eat something I shouldn’t have.
However, I think, if one can conquer themselves… One can conquer anything. Because if you think about, we really truly are our own worst enemy… Hear me out, there’s a quote out there, not sure who it is originally by, but,
I will beat him.
I will train harder.
I will eat cleaner.
I know his weaknesses.
I know his strengths.
I’ve lost to him before.
But not this time.
He is going down.
I have the advantage.
Because I know him well.
He is the old me.
To me it is a very powerful statement, because this is it. If we can overcome ourselves, we can get anything. It goes with everything we do, whether it’s getting off our butts and doing something, or changing habits, or pushing ourselves to the finish. When you accomplish a change that you had to fix and only you had the power to change, you will feel a sense of accomplishment you wouldn’t get anywhere else.
The reasons, for changing my diet, for training Jiu-Jitsu/MMA, is for this I guess… I want to be the healthiest I can be. I don’t want to be tired all the time, I don’t want to have stomach problems or headaches, I want to develop more muscle mass and I want to be fit. But through all of this, I’m learning perseverance and self-control like never before.
Shoot, since starting MMA I’ve seen many jokes “Explaining BJJ to friends” and it has a picture of some guy swimming with a shark at his heels. Or a person flailing around in the water trying to stay above the surface… And I’ll agree, that’s how it feels… But we don’t quit. We succeed not by losing, not by failing, but accepting that someone is better than us, they could have seriously injured or killed us, and we go again and again and we make progress.
Anyway, I hope, maybe this will encourage someone who is on the verge of quitting… I don’t care what you are on the verge of quitting. If it’s important, it’s time to buckle down, change your mindset and get it done. If you can change the mindset, acknowledge the mistakes and learn from them. Always remember, if you get in a pinch, normally you should have the opportunity to try again. You’ll get a whole lot further in life and feel much more pleased with yourself.
Now, the Gracie’s seem to be everywhere… So just in case on the slight off chance… Rener Gracie, Ryron Gracie… Y’all have been incredible people who have brought me a long way in just a few months and taught me a lot through the Gracie University. Thank you all so very much.
And a thank you to my MMA Coach who has pushed me when I needed to be pushed and helped me when I needed help and is always keeping me encouraged on the days that I’m just not feeling it.