My son and I were out for a walk and overheard a snippet of a conversation where one woman was telling her friend that she could not believe how fat a certain celebrity had gotten. Somewhat unsympathetically, she said, “Didn’t they see the weight coming on? Why not stop it at 5 lbs. or 10 lbs.? How did they let it get that far?” As we continued to walk by, my son continued the conversation and gave his own answer to me once we were out of earshot. He suggested that it is like a frog in boiling water. Okay, he had my attention now. My son explained that he remembered hearing a parable that if you put a frog in boiling water, it will jump out, but, if you put a frog in regular water and slowly increase the temperature, it won’t jump out. I was fascinated with this analogy. As someone who had gradually put on close to a hundred pounds over the years, it made a lot of sense to me. If I had awoken one morning and found myself twice my size, I think I would have taken bold action sooner!
The truth is though, that in my case, the scale kept creeping up a bit at a time. I had tried everything from Atkins to Weight Watchers along the way, but nothing seemed to help or last and the number on the scale just kept climbing. Once I took what I refer to as “my hundredth first step” to losing a hundred pounds and finally was able to lose half of myself, people seem disappointed with my answer when they ask me how I did it. I think they are truly hoping that I was going to share some secret or shortcut.
I have learned a lot about myself over the years, but one of things I seem to have to repeatedly learn the hard way is that anything that is designed to be a shortcut simply never works for me. I am not sure why that is exactly, but it is true. Knowing this fact has not stopped from trying though, nor has knowing that my attempts at shortcuts invariably results in disastrous consequences. One of my ill-fated attempts at losing weight involved getting a doctor prescribed Fen-Phen. Of course, these were the diet drugs which were later shown to cause heart valve damage, which of course, it did for me and I ended up as part of a class action lawsuit. I have thin fingernails that split easily, so once I thought I would try getting a gel manicure. Once was all it took, as my nails were even weaker and splitting so badly that it took months to even get back close to where I was when I started. Another time, I was frustrated with my hair and thought I would try a few hair extensions. I am still trying to grow out my hair and recover from that debacle! I could keep going and give you a long list of examples, but even if the attempted shortcut did not end in disaster, they almost certainly ended with disappointment.
Let my repeated lessons serve as a cautionary tale! Spare yourself the dashed hopes, the money, the time, and perhaps more lasting repercussions. If you are trying to lose weight and get in better shape, there really is no substitute for finding a fitness routine that works for you and coming up with a healthy meal plan that you can live with long-term. Like most worthwhile things in life, it comes down to time and effort. So, while there not may not be a magic shortcut, jumping out of the water BEFORE it starts to boil may not be such a bad idea.