In the photo above, the person in the back is on a nice ride, but he has no control over where he is going. He doesn't even have an oar in his hands. He is passively along for the ride. If he ends up in a good spot, maybe a sunny bank along the lake, then he chose wisely.
But if the front person is over-eager, and aggressively tries to paddle through the rapids of a river, the trip will probably end differently.
What does that have to do with weight loss, or any goal achievement? This idea builds on the concept of being your own person. Take charge. When you passively exist, you only receive what others decide for you. In the USA, we are soon going to have national, state and local elections. Vote! Take a stand. Choose a position. Make your choice. If you don't vote, and you don't like the election outcome, you are not in a position to complain.
If you are on a weight loss journey, you really can't do it passively. It takes action, determination and drive to lose weight. Oh, well, actually you can do it passively, in a fashion. If you are using prepackaged meals, that is a relatively passive method of weight loss. But the problem is that it doesn't let you learn how to eat healthy for the rest of your life. If you follow their plans, you will lose weight. Will it stay off? That is the real question.
When you are in control of what you eat, you make decisions every day. Hopefully most days are good decisions, but even on those days where you choose unwisely, you are still learning about self-control.
In that picture above, what would be the result if the rider in back were to grab an oar? First he could help steer the canoe. He would be able to exert some influence upon the direction he moves. But he could also help propel the canoe faster, and reach their destination quicker.
But no, he is simply riding. Passive. One could even say "useless." That is never a descriptor of anything good.
What about getting on a railroad? That is a choice you can make, too, and with that choice, you know the end destination. Depending in the railroad and ticket, you have a reasonable assurance that you will disembark where you are planning. No rapids for the engineer to steer through, and if the train derails, it will have nothing to do with your actions.
But once again, you have no control over how fast you arrive and actually, your potential destination choices are also limited. This is like choosing a very restrictive weight loss plan, strictly limiting certain foods. Might that work? Sure. But will it take you exactly where you want to go, in the comfort that you desire? Maybe not.
Clint Eastwood said "Fate pulls you in different directions." He's right. Some things that happen to us are out of our control.
That's why it is so important to take charge of all those parts of your life which are under your control.
If you would like to listen to this blogpost, this was the basis for a recent podcast episode.
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