Thursday, January 12, 2012


I've never skydived.

I always wanted to, but never been under the weight limit to tandem-jump. I am now well under the weight limit. Now, I need to get over my fear of heights. (Actually, it's not a fear of heights, it is the fear of falling from a great height, and then the fear of that sudden stop at the end!)

But exceeding the weight limits was a great excuse to avoid that challenge. So, I think I want to go skydiving. I know that before anyone jumps from a plane, they pack their own chute as a safety and confidence measure. Many wear back-up chutes as well, in case the first doesn't deploy.

According to the non-scholarly but always entertaining Wikipedia, the US experiences about 1 jumping fatality for every 80,000 jumps.  In 1987, there were 29 fatalities.  That is compared to 856 bicycling, over 7,000 drowned, 1154 died of bee stings, and 80 by lightning. Looked at in the big picture, it is a safe sport. Everyone carefully prepares, and when they are completely ready, they step from the plane.

By now you are wondering how I will relate this to weight management. (I've been wondering that myself.) When you purposely fall from a plane, you train, wear the right gear, plan the jump, check the weather, pack your parachute, put on your auxiliary chute (the "Uh-oh chute!") and usually you do this with friends and teammates.  Everyone always falls down to the ground and most people never get hurt.

This is in contrast to people trying to change their weight. Some people grab at whatever new plan that Dr. Phil or Dr. Oz talks about, or something that they heard on a TV commercial. Others choose one of hundreds of restrictive diet plans. Some see their physician, some see a surgeon, some see a therapist.  Some people try pills, hypnosis, fasting, or purges. Not all people reach their goal. Some get close to the goal, and then drift back. Some try one plan, don't see immediate results, and give up. Some people work their plan in secret, so that no one can comment on it.

The problem is that many people know what they want, but not how to get it.

Using LoseIt helps guide people to their goal, but it is not magic. Every person still needs to pack their own chute. Everyone needs to know how far they can fall before needing to pull the rip cord and slow down. And, while there are few fatalities in weight management, there is the very real risk of emotional injury. Friends and family that make unkind comments. People that try--purposely or unconsciously--to sabotage your progress. And, to be honest, the very real concern that after the weight is lost, the weight will return, with the subsequent feeling of shame, anger and frustration.

Pack your own chute. (Pick a plan that you will follow.) Wear a back-up chute (know how to modify your plan when needed.) And jump with a team (have a support group to help you get through the rough patches.)

And, with confidence, step through the doorway and let go!


  1. I have never seen the reasoning of jumping out of a perfectly good plane.

  2. As much as I agree with Chuck, I also see all that you say so clearly. Funny how sometimes the answers are so clearly in front of us, we just can't see it.

  3. Too funny Chuck! There are days I lean towards that train of thought, but most days, you'd be hard pressed to stop me from throwing open the door and hurling myself out of the plane. Life is too short to play it safe ... live your life with no regrets.