Complacency Can Rob Focus

Complacency Can Rob Your Focus

January 4, 2023

Complacency Can Rob Your Focus: I had RNY surgery in March 2012, and my life immediately improved. After a lifetime of trying every diet on the market, my body and brain were finally on the same wavelength. I was losing weight! I developed a new confidence in myself and my new life. I believed that if I followed my food and exercise programs, I would never regain any of the 155lbs; I had lost forever. Being so caught up in the “new me” that I unconsciously forgot that I had a disease.   

Complacency Can Rob Your Focus

Over time, I have learned about obesity, courage, self-love, and complacency. My journey has taught me much about myself, and I am grateful. I have learned that no matter what is going on in my life, obesity is always waiting. 

As I embark on year eleven, I know I am not cured of my disease; I am in control. But there is a big difference.  

Life is unpredictable, and I have learned that when my life is calm and drama free, my food preparation, staying on the program, counting my protein, drinking, logging my water, and exercising is my focus. However, life is full of ups and downs, and often, something is going on personally or professionally that will pull my focus in a different direction. For example, I started to experience weight regain, loss of confidence, and self-doubt – “the disease of obesity.” 

I have experienced regain and loss of weight three times since 2012, which has been humbling. Each time has been a significant life event that threw my focus out of the window and left me feeling insecure and overwhelmed.  

I am a people person and have always found how other people live their lives interesting. Over the last few years, I have developed an interest in athletes and their drive, ambition, perseverance, and motivation. Their love for their sport overtakes their lives, and I find it compelling. Most competitive athletes practice every day or at least six days a week for hours. Most eat a specific diet and cross-train to enhance their performance. When interviewed, I noticed most never mention their diet or, if it is brought up in the conversation, smile because it is just how they fuel their bodies. The diet is not a distraction but an assurance that their preparation is intact. The exercise, hours away from family and friends, and costs for clothing and trainers, are all secondary; their focus is on winning.    

The attitude of complacency has been described as “the opposite of discomfort.” To me, complacency is an attitude I embrace when my life gets heavy, and I feel overwhelmed by my situation. I allow my focus on my health journey to move from the first position to almost non-existent without considering the repercussions later to come. I sabotage myself without thinking.

The Mindset Of An Athlete

Author Cathy Arsenault, age 60, finishing a sprint Triathlon.

Athletes have hard times, surgeries, and broken limbs in their lives as well. The difference is that their minds stay present, and they fight to regain control to continue their journey to achieve their goal. Often, they tell stories of how they have pushed the boundaries given to them by their physicians because they need to get back to training. Focus on the result may be compromised due to injury, but their goal is always the same – competition and winning. Complacency is not an option because they understand that allowing themselves to lose focus allows their goals to be only dreams, not reality. Some of the most successful athletes who have had physical, mental, or tragic setbacks still go on to win because they refuse to allow their mindset to change.   

Self-care, determination, and perseverance are forms of self-love and are not selfish. I admire the passion athletes show when they will not let anything or anyone interfere with their drive to keep fighting during adversity.

I have found that complacency can rob my focus because it simulates a false sense of remission in my mind; I allow myself to side-step from my goal and suffer repercussions later.

Aware of how critical my self-talk is to my long-term success, I understand that staying true to myself may not always be easy, but it is a choice. Self-love and not allowing adversities to change my course are healthy options. My goal is always to be the best I can be. I am in to win it, too!

Cathy Arsenault serves as the Bariatric Patient and Family Adviser on the UNC REX Patient and Family Advisory Council.

Complacency Can Rob Focus
Cathy Arsenault


Cathy Arsenault is dedicated to Bariatrics and Patient Experience. She serves as the Bariatric Patient and Family Adviser on the UNC REX Patient and Family Advisory Council and co-chair, sits on the Bariatric Surgical Service Line and Peer Rounds on Pre-Op and Post-Op Bariatric patients daily.