By Mike Kramer of SparkPeople
After slowing down to an unexplained stop for the 147th time in the space of 2 miles, I decided that I hated the world. Surrounding me were an ocean of maddening brake lights, rain pelting the windshield and thousands of tons of steel and fiberglass flung around by a clueless pack of selfish morons who obviously didn’t know the first thing about driving!!
It was in serious danger of ruining my whole day.
Is there anything more frustrating than being bogged down in traffic? Most all of us have been there before. That discouraged, fed up feeling that just makes us want to throw up our hands in surrender or lay them on the horn.
Thankfully, I stopped muttering helplessly and started thinking instead. And I realized that I often witness another type of “road rage” – the frustration that builds on the road to weight loss: Diet Rage.
Think about your dieting history. Does it give you the same feeling as an exasperating traffic jam? You never quite get where you want to go as fast as you want to get there. You get aggravated, yell (usually at yourself), and see people in other lanes going faster than you (how do they DO that?!), and it usually ends up ruining your day.
Here’s the lesson: Getting frustrated with your diet does no more good than getting frustrated in traffic. It just makes you unhappy, unsuccessful and tense.
By the time I got to work (it was a long commute), I noticed a lot of things that we, as weight loss veterans, can learn from traffic jams. Next time you start to feel frustrated with your weight loss progress, keep these “lessons of the road” in mind:
• Pay less attention to how much further you have to travel. Stop asking yourself “are we there yet?” You’ll get there when you get there. Instead, look at the scenery, think about life, carry on a conversation, sing along with the radio, or simply be thankful for how far you’ve come.
• The journey is always more fun with a passenger. Have you asked anyone along for the ride?
• You know the route you need to take to reach your weight loss goals. It’s already mapped out. As long as you stay pointed in the right direction, you’ll get there. Even in the worst traffic jams, you still get to your destination at some point. It’s the same way with dieting – just a matter of time. It may take longer than you first expected, but you will get there.
• There will always be periods of stopping and starting. It’s something that you should just anticipate and allow for. No use getting upset or stressed about not making progress. It’s a normal part of the journey.
• Sometimes, you’ve just gotta go with the flow of what’s going on around you. Life can present some situations that you really can’t do anything about. When that happens, staying straight and steady – doing the best that you can – will keep you on track and sane. In traffic, impatient people stop, change lanes, weave in and out of other cars, driving themselves and everyone else crazy – and in the end, usually don’t get any farther along than you do by staying put and going with the flow.
• Shortcuts never work.
• Driving too fast is dangerous. That’s why they call it “crash” dieting. Slow down, take what life gives you, and make sure you arrive at your destination in good health.
I finally did get to my destination after all. Hands were pried away from the steering wheel, teeth were unclenched, and a few aspirin were popped. Of course, people in the cars around me probably had a good laugh at my arm-waving and soundless yelling. Funny how we can lose our senses when faced with something that frustrates us, whether it’s traffic or our diets.
Thanks to these insights, my story had a happy ending. Hopefully, remembering these rules will help you reach your destination sooner – and more content – than you expected.