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Discipline and the Karate Kid

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

I remember when I knew I needed to lose weight, had tried everything. I wanted to wake up one day when it would be easy. I thought that if I just heard the magic words to understand the secret, or had sufficient knowledge it would be easy. It never was. I had to do it first.

But how do I do that? We none of us need a list of what to eat and what not to eat. We can recite those lists in our sleep. But we all have to figure out how to do what we know we are supposed to do. For me that meant learning discipline.

And how to do that? Remember the Karate Kid? Wax on Wax off? Brush up and down, brush sideways? Daniel thought is was stupid, exhausting, and was sure Mr. Miyagi was taking advantage of him to get out of doing his own work. But he kept at it and something amazing happened. While he was doing all those senseless, stupid, meaningless activities, without his knowledge he was developing reflexes that served to help him achieve his goal. He didn't go right out into the fighting arena, he practiced by doing things that, to him, made no sense.

I do not snack. I do not eat seconds of anything. I started with those silly goals because I needed habits that would eventually get me where I wanted to go without having to think about each and every thing I ate or didn't eat every day. My life is very different now and I eat a wider variety of foods now (who ever heard of jicima or tomatillos in 1970?). The habits formed of a seemingly senseless discipline have carried me through all these years. That discipline was hard for awhile, it seemed longer than it probably was, but over time it got easier.

Does not snacking have anything to do with weight loss? Actually, no. But when I see athletes running up and down the stadium stairs (what does that actually have to do with playing football?) I understand. Do they like it? I sincerely doubt it, but they do it because it helps them do what they really do want to do: play football.

I don't look for motivation. I rely on the habits I took the time and, let's face it, guts, to develop. When I wanted to lose weight more than I wanted it to be easy, I got there and have stayed there.

Let's hear it for Mr. Miyagi!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    emoticon Great blog and so very true. emoticon
    1892 days ago
    Great blog! I personally snack some, I have 6 smaller meals per day and that works for me. Glad you found what's worked long term for you!
    1892 days ago
    Habit is better than "motivation": motivation for me is pretty much "after-acquired" -- that is, I'm motivated after I've already done what I need to do.

    One of my first "rules" was "I don't do doughnuts". (Made the day after I had eaten six and weighed 230 pounds in 2000). And: I still don't do doughnuts. Don't even wanna!
    1892 days ago
    Nell, you can always catch my flies with your chopsticks.

    1892 days ago
    Great blog. Snacking is a bad habit for me, but my diabetic diet called for 3 snacks a day to stabilize my blood sugar while I was on medication, so I got in the habit. Now that I'm off all the meds I probably don't need the snacks at all, and could give them up, but spreading out my calories out over the day seems to work for me. I do avoid second helpings. If I have leftovers, I put them in the refrigerator before I sit down to eat so I'm not tempted.
    1893 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    1893 days ago
  • GABY1948
    Great word, THANKS
    1893 days ago
    Discipline eventually "takes," the longer you practice it. Thanks for another great blog!
    1893 days ago
    Thanks once again, Nell.
    Do you ever feel like a teacher with a bunch of special needs kids?
    You're telling us the same thing, over and over, with different stories and different slants but still the same.
    And do we get in line and stay on the straight and narrow? Uh...not all of us.
    Sorry...I don't mean to point the finger. The finger is pointing at ME!
    But...I think I can see daylight and I just might be graduating from this class! But we'll stay in touch...
    Thanks, Nell.
    1893 days ago
    As a child I don't remember snacking. It was more like, "don't eat that it will ruin your dinner." We didn't have snack time at school either. There was breakfast before, lunch in the middle and then go home. If we ate anything then, it wasn't all that much. Maybe you have just reverted to an earlier time and it's working. Good for you maintaining discipline!
    1893 days ago
  • --KREN
    I never saw "The Karate Kid" either, but I understand the message of this blog! Thanks!

    1893 days ago
    I never saw the Karate Kid (can you believe it?) but I agree -- habits are crucial to how we perform and good habits are worth gold!
    1893 days ago
    1893 days ago
    Great point! It's about wanting it enough to form new habits!
    Thank you for the great reminder!
    1893 days ago
    The Karate Kid was a good movie with some good principles to live by.
    I think Daniel learned some lessons that we can all use daily.
    1893 days ago
  • 123ELAINE456
    Awesome Blog. You are doing Great. WAY TO GO!!! KEEP IT UP!!! May the Lord Richly Bless You. Enjoy Today. Take Care.
    1893 days ago
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