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Who's in control of the steering wheel?

Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

Saturday, April 07, 2012

So, another type of ad that seems common on one of the channels played on the gym TV is investments. Gold and retirement planning are the two common ones I can think of. One of the retirement planning ones actually made me think of this whole process of change and altering our lifestyle.

In the ad, it starts with one pair of hands on a steering wheel, steady and even. Retirement planning. Suddenly from the side another pair of hands grabs for the wheel. Taxes. Then another pair from the other side. College expenses. Then another pair from elsewhere. Medical costs. More and more hands keep making grabs for the wheel, and it spins this way and that as one side or the other gains more hands / pull in that direction.

The car careens all over the place, making much less progress, even spinning around and going the wrong way at times.

Applying that to our journey to health and fitness, we get on this road, hands on the wheel, and we start to make decisions. We're going to do this, we're going to do that, we've got that car pointed right straight in the direction of all our excess weight lost and life perfect.

And then another pair of hands yanks us off-track. Maybe it's the cookies still in the cupboard or the fast food joint so conveniently close to work. Maybe it's the rumbling stomach or the gasping, wheezing, breaths and aching muscles from our first few efforts at being active.

We fight our way back on course, tugged this way and that.

Then another pair of hands joins in the fray. Maybe this is a family member or a friend who is so helpful about bringing us a favorite treat or telling us we're beautiful as we are. Maybe it's the scale telling us that in spite of all our hard work, we're up this week. Maybe it's some random stranger being cruel because of the weight.

Zig, zag, on and off the road, a battle for control of our direction.

Even more hands jump in. Maybe it's emotional eating or binging or wild cravings we can't seem to control. Maybe it's unexpected life stresses - deaths, divorces, fracturing friendships, loneliness, job loss, financial strain.

Is it any wonder that so many have a hard time and "fall off the wagon"?

Of course, at this point is that the ad's solution to all that is not for the individual to be able to take and maintain control of that steering wheel. However, that's not really an option for those changing their own life ... unless they've got the time and money or connections to be shepherded Biggest Loser-style through every step of the process.


Some things that do come to mind:

1) When steering a car, we learn how to make SMALL corrections. I actually remember Driver's Ed classes and these computerized training sessions in which we "drove" based on a film playing. The natural kid instinct for driving is turning the wheel hugely to correct. The right way is small adjustments. By the time we've been driving a while, we don't even think about those tiny constant corrections.

Our path to a new lifestyle is more easily done in a similar manner. Let's say we plateau for a month. What's the natural instinct? Jump on a severe diet restriction - cut out this food group or that, double our workouts? Sounding at all familiar?

2) When steering a car, we deliberately slow down when we enter a hazardous zone. (Unless we're the Dukes of Hazard and try speeding up instead.) We see brake lights ahead, we drop our speed and examine the road. We don't just keep going full speed ahead, then swerve and hope we avoid every danger. We change lanes, we slow to a crawl, even stop as needed, and eventually we get past and return to our normal speed.

Again, good concept when we see danger points looming. We can slow down. We can examine the upcoming obstruction. We can shift our plan to adjust. (An injury or illness, for example, instead of the end of the world is just a delay of a few days or a need to switch the plan up to continue.)

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I'm sure there's probably more, but I haven't cooked my dinner yet. Must do that to have some digesting time before getting to sleep.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BRADIA 6/20/2012 2:57PM

    Good comparisons always come in handy. Thank you.

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RANDOMLY_HONEST 4/23/2012 6:50AM

    Great analogy!

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ROJAKHAN 4/19/2012 10:00AM

    emoticon

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LISABOULDER 4/16/2012 11:55PM

  Great blog. Thx so much for sharing with such a good analogy

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ELLENSANGEL 4/15/2012 9:59AM

    Greatpoint of view and awesome advise. thanks.


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LOUISIANA_LOU 4/14/2012 7:35PM

    My first post, and I had to say I really enjoyed this blog post. Very good analogy and good advice for all the pitfalls we face.

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FLUTTERFLI 4/14/2012 6:31PM

    emoticon emoticon

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BEAUTY_WITHIN 4/12/2012 3:12PM

    This was great. Thank you for the analogy; makes me feel better about some of the issues I've been dealing with myself lately.

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JAS9096 4/12/2012 1:43PM

    What an amazing blog! Thank you for posting :D

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SUPERSYLPH 4/12/2012 11:33AM

    I love the comparison!

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REDHATSHAPELY1 4/11/2012 8:20PM

    Loved the blog. The analogy of the steering wheel is right on. Thanks!
Keep on Sparking!

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TMCLEOD4 4/11/2012 2:49PM

    Great blog! I missed it somehow, but just looked it up. I'm really glad I did!

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RHEASWEIGH 4/11/2012 1:50PM

    So true.

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EUNIQ3 4/11/2012 1:41PM

    emoticon

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HUBBYANDI 4/11/2012 10:35AM

    I had not seen this ad, but it certainly describes how we tend to react to the hands trying to steer us off course...and how we "knee-jerk" react to them, by overcompensating. Great advice to only move the steering wheel a bit to guide it back to where we should be in our road of life.

thanks for sharing!

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GRAMPIAN 4/11/2012 6:51AM

  Good analogy.

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GRAMMAJUDY1 4/11/2012 2:10AM

    I am impressed. This blog was interesting and provided much food for thought. The best part though was the writers style and the way she made word pictures. My compliments for a well written blog. emoticon

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JULIA1154 4/11/2012 1:17AM

  This is an excellent blog and that's a terrific analogy. Thank you!

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ADRIENALINE 4/10/2012 11:35PM

    What a great analogy! It really brings it home.

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HUNNAWANNA 4/10/2012 4:58PM

    I wish I had taken a drivers ed class or learned how to drive....lol but for real, I really enjoyed reading ur blog because I understand the need for small corrections when it comes to my journey to a healthy weight-loss and lifestyle. So thanks for sharing ur view, I needed to b reminded that Life Happens and it should not stop me from doing what I have to do! :-)
emoticon

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HUNNAWANNA 4/10/2012 4:58PM

    I wish I had taken a drivers ed class or learned how to drive....lol but for real, I really enjoyed reading ur blog because I understand the need for small corrections when it comes to my journey to a healthy weight-loss and lifestyle. So thanks for sharing ur view, I needed to b reminded that Life Happens and it should not stop me from doing what I have to do! :-)
emoticon e

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KLONG8 4/10/2012 2:21PM

    OK, I really liked this. The analogy is right on. It is tough keeping on path when we're being pulled off course by life. But small corrections, attention, and knowing where we want to go....that's the answer.

Thanks!

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BANDMOM2012 4/10/2012 1:11PM

    Great way to look at the process!

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KATV865 4/10/2012 1:01PM

    What a great analogy!

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BYTHEGRACE 4/10/2012 12:32PM

    I like it! Well done!

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NATARSHAD 4/10/2012 12:07PM

    Food for thought!!!

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VALERIEBARBER 4/10/2012 11:26AM

    THIS IS WHY I SAID NO TO THE CARROT CAKE THIS MORNING!
I AMMM THE DRIVER!

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ERIKGN 4/10/2012 10:02AM

  Nicely said!

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FLYINGB16 4/10/2012 4:55AM

    Awesome analogy!

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HIPPYCAT 4/10/2012 12:27AM

    Very well written - Thank you!

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SAMI199 4/9/2012 11:50PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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46SHADOW 4/9/2012 10:35PM

    So wise!

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KIPPER15 4/9/2012 9:48PM

    emoticon

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LIVERIGHTNOW 4/9/2012 8:56PM

    Hay, way to go, girl!!!! My new mantra: "Who's driving this car, anyway?" ME!!!

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PENOWOK 4/9/2012 8:55PM

    Good comparison!

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LOLAJO54 4/9/2012 7:26PM

    no wonder this was voted a popular blog.. what great analogy to the wheels on the car..so true

great advice -- thanks for your thoughts of wisdom!

great stuff here emoticon emoticon

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JIBBIE49 4/9/2012 7:11PM

    emoticon What an honor to see you blog featured in the Spark Mail. You certainly are an inspiration to others. emoticon

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KMMITCHELL4 4/9/2012 6:13PM

    I never thought of it that way. That's really helpful. Thank you!

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MERAINA 4/9/2012 5:52PM

    emoticon

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TUBJUMPER 4/9/2012 5:06PM

    Great Blog!

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GAELA-I-CAN 4/9/2012 5:01PM

    Great sence of humor, makes reading you blog very entertaining.

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WILDFLOWER521 4/9/2012 3:09PM

    This was interesting. It definitely helps to put things into perspective.
Thanks for sharing!

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LRSILVER 4/9/2012 3:02PM

    Interesting. thanks for sharing.

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JEWITCH 4/9/2012 1:08PM

    Interesting and thought provoking blog. Thanks for shoring.

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GORGEOUS72305 4/9/2012 12:51PM

    Love it!

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YAMAHA49 4/9/2012 12:45PM

    Jennifer: Great analogy. Especially the part about our ability to make micro-corrections when we are driving ...how it becomes second nature...good goal for me with my daily porgram. Thanks for sharing......

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CHRIMSONFYRE 4/9/2012 12:39PM

    Great blog, you put it together very well, makes sense.

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DUSTYPRAIRIE 4/9/2012 12:16PM

    Very well put!

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SCMAMAJONES 4/9/2012 12:09PM

    Wow. Just Wow. I had to dig through my old feed to find this one, since I've been out of pocket, but it was worth it. Thank you so much! I love the way you write, and love the visual metaphors you can find to express issues that we are all dealing with.

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CAROLYNJ18 4/9/2012 11:59AM

  Great visual!

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