What Cortés Taught Me About Fat Pants

“Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to burn his ships and cut all resources of retreat” — Napoleon Hill

Throughout history, the human race has been regaled with stories of brave warriors sailing to conquer new lands and, upon arriving, ordering their men to burn the ships. This philosophy is mentioned in Sun Tzu’s “Art of War”, the Romans were known to have done it, and Cortés famously gave the order upon setting foot in Veracruz.

The reason for this was simple. You burn the ships so that retreat is no longer an option. You stay in this new place and you either win the battle or die. And in almost every recorded case, the warriors who employed this tactic won.

I recently lost 6o pounds over the course of 5 months. Naturally, as I shed the weight, it became necessary to purchase smaller clothing that fit my new frame. But what to do with the closet full of 5XL shirts and size 52 waist pants? As I was contemplating boxing them up and finding a suitable storage space, the thought occurred, “Burn the ships”.

And with that, I donated every oversize piece of clothing in my closet. Like Cortez and his men, there’s no turning back when it comes to pursing a healthy lifestyle. It would be far to easy to just slip back into that comfy pair of sweats after putting on a few pounds. Elastic waistbands are truly the devil’s work.

From now on, should I begin to fall back into my old unhealthy lifestyle, there’s no easy out. I’ve burnt the ships and committed to staying in this new healthier place. If I decide to give up, there’s now the added financial penalty of having to purchase an entire new wardrobe, which is neither easy nor affordable for my husky brethren. If only there were a Lane Bryant for men.

Not only did burning my metaphorical ships help to keep me on track, the purge also released the energy around my former lifestyle. Like the ghost of portly past, this demon was exorcised the moment I gave these clothes away. The experience was nothing short of exhilarating.

Are there ships in your life that need to be torched? Safety nets that could be cut? Let this be your mantra, your reminder to commit to the bigger life you’re stepping into.

Burn the ships!

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