Saturday, July 17, 2010

Snakes & Ladders

Welcome to "Same Old Sh*t" Saturday, where I recycle more than just newspapers and beer bottles. I recycle love. Waitaminute... that sounded all kinds of gay. Forget what I said about recycling love. I don't even know what that means. Why don't you read this while I try to figure it all out...

For way too many of us, this weight-loss journey is a two steps forward, one step back kind of deal. It’s a game of “Snakes and Ladders” where one misstep seems to send us spiraling downward (and not the good kind of downward, if you know what I mean).

You’ll score a solid week, feel like you’re dialed in and doing great, and then comes a little slip-up. A night out. A lunchtime celebration. A slice of pizza that turns into half a pie.

Weeks that make you feel like a weight-loss rock star.

Days that make you feel like this weight is going to be a burden forever.

But there’s something you need to understand and understand well: falling isn’t failing.

Slipping isn’t stopping.

Giving in isn’t giving up.

This game is a difficult one, a tricky one. One minute, you’ll think you’ve got a handle on things, maybe even feel that it’s easy-squeezy; the next minute, you’ll find yourself straining and struggling, hungry for something that you know won’t fill you up, won’t make you happy, won’t be what you need.

People have told me that I make this losing weight business look easy, and it’s a statement that I’m never really sure how to take. I’ll admit that my weight-loss numbers have been pretty steady. But from the very beginning, I came to the realization that this isn’t a game of luck, a game of chance.

That’s what “Snakes and Ladders” is, you see: a game of chance. You roll the dice and you takes your chances. Sometimes you’re safe, sometimes you get to climb up… and sometimes you fall. It takes a lot of luck to run through the gauntlet of snaky slopes with suffering a setback or two.

I’m here to tell you that as much as it may seem like it, this weight-loss journey isn’t a game of “Snakes and Ladders”, isn’t really a game of chance.

A roll of the dice doesn’t cause you to suffer a setback.

It’s me and you.

It’s on us.

The setbacks are just us, doing what we know in our hearts we shouldn’t be doing. We can make excuses, but at the end of the day we know exactly what rings the bell on that scale. We know how to lose this weight. We know it.

We either choose to do it, or we choose not to, and even though sometimes it doesn’t feel like a choice, I’m here to tell you that it most definitely is.

The rules are simple: get the eating under control and work a little exercise into your day. Make good choices most days and the best ones available to you on the other days. Find what motivates you and use it to steel yourself to do what it takes… whatever it takes… to get your house of cards in order.

Yesterday, a guy in the locker room expressed concern about me: “You okay? You look like you’re about to pass out.”

“I didn’t leave a lot in the tank,” I smiled back, sweat still dripping from my forehead into a puddle on the cool tile.

My point? If you saw me in the gym these days, my shirt wringing wet with hard-earned sweat, I don’t think you’d be remarking how I’m making this look easy.

It’s not easy, and it’s not a game. It’s your life and a roll of the dice isn’t what gets you moving. It’s just you.

If you’re looking for me, you’ll find me on a ladder.

After all, climbing ladders is great exercise.


  1. Great analogy! I can't wait to experience one of those 'wow, this is so easy' moments, LOL.

  2. I am so in love with your brain and what you write every day! My journey is just beginning and one of my highlights of the day is coming to see what inspiring words you have come up for the day. They seem to strike a cord in me pretty much every single day!! Love it!!

  3. This reminds me of a quote I cut out from a magazine..."Part of my journey is going the wrong way" It helps but those "snakes" in perspective, you have a few falls just to make sure you really are on the right path.

  4. What a great post. Funny, just the other day I wrote a blog about similar stuff and the title of it was "Giving in isn't giving up, it's just another set back".
    And it's so true, it isn't giving up and it really is all on us. Its our choices that brought us to where we are and our choices that will bring us out it.

  5. I'm trying not to take the two steps back. I'm trying to recognize the backslide BEFORE it happens, and make adequate adjustments.

    I'll sit down on a ladder rung, catch my breath, and continue the climb.

  6. "Slipping isn't stopping" is great. And stopping to rest on that ladder rung while you are working on life stressors isn't falling.

    Good stuff, Jack!

  7. Your analogy is right on! It certainly feels like 2 forward, 1 back. But, then, when you look at how far you've come, how much you've lost, you know you're doing it! :)

    Never give up! Never surrender!

  8. Wow very inspirational. i know that me wanting results over night and not working hard enough has held me back in the past. thanks for sharing and you are an inspiration to me.



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