The Tortoise and the Hare
We’ve all heard the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare. It’s the story of a rabbit, full of talent and hubris, racing against the dumpy and slow turtle.
Knowing the story, we’re supposed to see the rabbit as foolish and the turtle as determined, and this is true. But like all fables, this one has a moral.
“Slow and steady wins the race.”
As flawed as the logic of the story is, this moral stands outside the reality of the “Tortoise and the Hare”. I mean who honestly thinks the turtle was better suited to win a race?! But I digress… The moral of the story is a principle for life. As a coach, I guess the best and most obvious example of this principle can be found in the thousands of different options available for people to choose between in the hopes of losing weight.
How many times have you lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks following a “quick fix” diet? How did week 3 go? Did your progress stall out? Were you able to keep your “progress” going? How long did it take for you to throw in the towel? And how long did it take for you to gain those 10 pounds right back?
My friend Mark was a quick-fix junkie, and he used to say, “I’ve been losing the same 10 pounds for the last 20 years”.
There’s a better way.
Slow and steady wins the race.
It’s likely that it took you years to gain your weight. Subtle gain over time, maybe 2-5 pounds per year. That may be a bit slower than you’re interested in, but that kind of change is real, and it’s quite a bit healthier for your body.
I recommend that people aim to lose around half a pound per week. And do this by developing healthy habits in a slow and methodical manner. Begin by cutting down (not cutting out completely) on the “junk”. What is junk? Junk is basically anything you can buy at the gas station. Make those things a treat instead of a staple.
Then start to replace the junk with smarter alternatives. Perfection isn’t the target. Just better. How about picking the sweet potato with real butter instead of french fries? Try having eggs for breakfast instead of cereal. Black coffee instead of the energy drink. Etc…
Finally, over time seek to prioritize adding more protein and veggies into your normal routine. It may be just a little at first, but eventually your goal will be to have a good protein choice with each meal, and a couple servings of veggies at least a couple times per day.
The problem with the quick-fix option is that it usually “works” really well… At first… And then, because it is unsustainable, unrealistic, or ultimately unproductive, we give up.
Or worse, we keep going with more and more extreme adjustments…
Our bodies want homeostasis and will fight changes, therefore dramatic changes will normally result in a loss of primarily water weight. Hopefully, that’s it! Sometimes, the change will be a result of a loss in muscle-mass.
Let’s be like the Tortoise! Slow and Steady wins the race.