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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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