Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Enrolling in Driver's Ed

Well, will you look at that! It turns out I had one last story to tell for 2014. You see, last week, I was fortunate enough to get lots of outdoor walking worked into my day because of Christmas vacation. Walking outside does something to my brain, it wanders ­– in a good way – and that’s usually when I start planning my next post. So, here we are.

As I was enjoying the sunshine, I started thinking about all the posts that I've already written and what driving analogies I may have missed. Then it dawned on me, with the new year starting and the images of gyms, news articles and opinion pieces, Facebook memes and pretty much any ad on TV or radio that inundates our subconscious with ideas that everyone’s New Year’s Resolution is (or should be) weight-loss, I decided that I would dive right into that saturated field and offer my own opinions on the subject. Please note that everything I state here is strictly my opinion and I have received no compensation for what I’m about to say!

For those who have decided that 2015 is going to be “The Year” of successful weight loss, I would offer this suggestion: treat it like Driver’s Ed. Before you went out to get your Driver’s License, you had to become familiar with the car and the rules of the road. For many of us, learning on our own or with the help of a parent was not enough, so we enrolled in Driver’s Ed and used the support of the teacher and other classmates to help us learn and eventually pass the test.

Starting this journey shouldn't be any different. There are some people who are successful at losing weight without any outside assistance, they are rare, but I don’t doubt they exist. I am not one of them. I need the support and the tools of my Weight Watchers group to continue my success. Now, I've changed a lot of habits over the years, so I’m not as dependent as I was in the beginning, but the right group or program will allow you to spread your wings. To be successful, you must be allowed to share, vent, support others, be supported, make mistakes, learn from those mistakes and never stop growing. Programs (like Weight Watchers or Shibboleth) and retreats (such as Green Mountain at Fox Run) that focus on education and support seem to be the most successful platforms. But ultimately, the program that is successful for you is the one in which you want to follow.

When you learn the proper driving techniques from qualified instructors, your driving record is usually better than someone who is just winging it. That’s not to say that you won’t ever get a ticket or be in an accident, but at least you have been given the tools to learn how to recognize the signs of dangerous road conditions. These groups operate in much the same manner. Just by attending the meetings doesn't guarantee that you will lose weight, you must take on the responsibility to use what you learn and not expect it to come without hard work.  I realize that sounds a bit preachy, and I typically try to keep everything here light-hearted, but I can’t stress enough that it is ultimately up to you to be successful in your journey. You can have the support of the entire planet, but you must be the one who puts the key in the ignition and starts the car. Knowing that you have the support of a driving instructor along for the ride should make things easier in the beginning, but the instructor is only there to impart her knowledge, you must be willing to absorb it and put it into action so that you take control of your own vehicle. After a while, you may find that you've mastered some of the techniques so well that you are willing to put yourself in the instructor’s seat for those newbies that are about to hit the road with their New Year’s Resolutions!

I hope that 2015 finds you happy and healthy and I encourage you all to enjoy your own Road Trip! You are worth the journey!