“Good. Then may I offer this bit of Chinese wisdom to contemplate?”
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
“Are you suggesting I run out and buy a boat? Then I’d just sit around all day drinking beer. That wouldn’t be good for my diet. Besides I hate fish.”
The fact is that Omega-3 fatty acids do protect against heart disease, but beyond the occasional tuna sandwich, fatty fish two times a week is hard-sell. “No, “ I say, “fishing isn’t even very good exercise.”
All the while I’m thinking, why ask me? Cold-blooded health advice is out there on baited hook. Pop into any bookstore or grocery store. Tantalizing titles and promising products offer the latest quick fix. I’m expecting the next delicious supplement to be called, The Stick With It Bar, guaranteed to change your life one bite at a time.
Type in the H-word on your computer and mind-deadening amounts of information are available for your reading confusion. What a challenge it is to translate the latest facts and factoids into something that can actually be useful in our daily, complicated, lives.
I’m an information junky too. So just for fun I typed in Learning to Fish. The site starts with THE BASICS, and speaks of “dreams of catching the monster fish and a little relaxation.”
Dreams! Goals! I think of my friend who keeps a photograph of her thinner self on her refrigerator, so she will ask herself every time, “Is this ice cream worth it?”
Learning to fish and taking on weight loss and exercise have a lot in common. Both begin with a dream and involve encountering pain and frustration. Both take a lot of time and a huge investment. Tangled lines, bug bites, lost lures, embarrassment, no fish, are not dissimilar to hunger pains, sore muscles and (pardon the pun) scales that won’t budge.
How is changing behavior like mastering the art of fishing?
It takes a long time and much pain before the relaxation kicks in. And- you get to choose how you take on the task, whether you use all the fancy equipment or take the simple approach.
My friends, who ask me to tell them what to do, already know. And, unlike me, they know what has worked or not worked for them.
One said recently, “Why is it that when I was going to an exercise class, I always showed up, but when I try to exercise alone I can’t do it?
Whether you show up for a group or go it alone doesn’t matter. It’s the difference between deep sea fishing and standing by the side of stream. Just do what works for you to catch your big fish. A hook, a line and a permit are all you really need to learn to fish, that and time. Keep it simple.
The ancient philosopher, Lao Tzu, said that at the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.
Now here are some of my own philosophical ramblings in case you are wanting:
- If you give a person a diet book, they’ll be insulted.
- If you give a guy a gym membership, he’ll feel like a 250-pound weakling for the first few months.
- If you tell a person to exercise they’ll tell you how hard it is and how much they hate it. If you suggest their dog will stop chewing up things
- if they walk him every morning and night, they might find there is something in it for them.
- If you love cookies and you buy them in bulk, they will call out to you in the middle of the night.
- If you compliment someone on their weight loss, you give them some reason to go on. Even better, if you ask how they did it, they’ll give you advice.
Health Tips for those Rip Van Winkles who really DON’T know what to do:
- Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables
- Switch to whole grains
- 30 minutes of exercise every day
- Drink water, especially a glass right before your meal
- Wear your seat belt
- Once a week, reward yourself for progress