SOME DAYS PITCHERS DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT STUFF
My daughter and I were playing a board game, but I had the baseball game on in the background. And one phrase caught her attention the pitcher had “good stuff” today. What did this mean she wanted to know?
I found myself describing that sometimes pitcher’s have “good stuff” and other times they don’t have “good stuff”. What’s meant by this is that some days, even though it’s the same pitcher with the same training, the same experience and expertise, the same baseball, same dimensions of the baseball yard and the pitching mound, he nails the strike zone, feels good, has a sharp breaking curveball and basically has everything he needs to be successful and accomplish his goal that day of striking out hitters and winning the game. Other days, even though he’s the same person, he can’t hit the strike zone to save his life and his curveball has no snap. The opposing team jumps all over pitchers on those days and you see the pitchers leave the game early and usually they wind up on the losing end.
I found myself going on to say this is a lot like life for the rest of us. Some days we have it and some days we don’t. I brought it around to her own experiences such as doing school work, practicing music or doing sports. Most of the time she has “good stuff” and can play and practice, study and thrive. Other days she feels tired and her heart is not fully in it.
This is an awful like what we all face as we age past our thirties and forties and face a challenging goal of maintaining fitness and avoiding weight gain. Some days you’ve got the right stuff, and this means you’re motivated to exercise and avoid excessive calorie intake. You have the willpower to stay away from the snacks and treats, monitor your calories, take note of grams of carbohydrates that you need to avoid and you do so successfully. You make plans and stick with them. But other days when you don’t have the good stuff, you’re motivation may be lacking and the willpower to avoid temptations is just not as strong. Those are the tough days.
One of the real keys to successfully maintaining weight and successfully losing weight is to maintain the long view. For example, keep in mind that cutting out just 96 calories per day results in about 10 pounds of weight loss over the course of a whole year. Now think of the opposite, giving in and consuming an extra 96 calories per day results in a 10 pound weight gain over the course of a year. So as much as weight loss success and weight maintenance success are a product of careful calorie counting and exercise, they are also a product of avoiding major lapses and downturns when you don’t have the right stuff, when you don’t feel motivated, when you don’t feel strong, when you feel like you are going to give into the temptations of the calories and desserts and treats, those days count just as much as all the rest. So you need a battle plan to combat those days when you don’t have the right stuff. You need to have successful ways to limit calorie intake even when you don’t feel motivated and you don’t feel tremendous willpower to resist eating and drinking more calories. You also need a plan to find ways to exercise and burn calories even when you don’t feel motivated to do so. So I suggest two main strategies:
- When you don’t have the “right stuff”, make sure the conditions in your house do not allow for a major lapse. This means getting rid of all your favorite tasty treats, high calorie snacks and desserts. Do not, I repeat, do not stock the pantry with your favorite desserts and treats. Quite the opposite in fact, make it so that when you are padding around in your pajamas and have absolutely no willpower and find yourself wandering into the pantry, there should be absolutely nothing that remotely tempts you. This will save you.
- Even when you don’t have the “right stuff” make yourself do a tiny, tiny, tiny, itsby, bitsy bit of exercise. That’s right, take the first baby step. Commit to walking outside your front door and maybe to the mailbox and no further. Make just that much of a commitment. And if that’s all you do for that day then I commend you because you kept your end of the bargain. I suggest to you though that once you’ve reached the mailbox, your brain is likely to have changed and your attitude is likely to have improved to the point where you can then commit to walking a block and then let’s see what happens, maybe you’ll end up walking a few miles and turning a lousy day into a great one.
All of us have days when we don’t have the right stuff. The trick is to find a way to win anyway, just like the best pitchers.