Let's say you are confronted with the choice of taking two roads: The first road is bumpy, rocky, and full of cracks and potholes. Obviously, traveling this road would be a difficult and unpleasant experience. We remain a bit fearful about the hazards of traveling this road because of the danger of possible accidents and dangerous road conditions. The second road is smooth and newly paved. Travel over this road should be easy and effortless. We would not need to be constantly on guard for hidden potholes, cracks, and seen or unseen hazards on this second road. We could plan to reach our destination safely and without difficulty.
Now that we have been presented with this choice and this description of the two alternative roads, which road will we choose to take? The answer appears obvious: Any one with an ounce of sense would choose the smooth and newly paved road.
But hold on a moment. Some conditions are imposed before we make the choice to travel the smooth and hazard-free road. We are told that before we can enter this road, we have to agree to meet certain requirements. Furthermore, some of these requirements may take a little time to meet and we may balk at the difficulty we begin to sense in meeting these conditions. We may begin to feel that taking care of onerous preliminary requirements may be too much trouble and we start looking at the bumpy and unpaved road again. We begin to think that if we are careful and take our time, we may reach our destination safely even if it takes a little more time on the worst road. Then we could skip all of the red tape and time-consuming requirements of gaining entry to the smooth and trouble-free road.
Next let's apply this discussion of the conditions for making a choice of roads to a choice we need to make in our lives. Since we have discussed overweight and obesity so frequently, we will start again with this topic. We have two choices if we are overweight or even obese: First, we can stay on the bumpy road we are already on. We can stay obese and overweight. We can check our blood sugar daily and get frequent medical checkups. We can tempt a dozen more more physical ailments that can be the direct result of our weight condition. We may even take a few months off the end of our life. But if we choose the bumpy road to obesity, we are free to do whatever we want to do. We can eat whatever we want, whenever we want. We can take seconds, or even thirds. We can drink whatever we want. We do not have to worry about watching our weight.
If we get tired of our bumpy road with all of our problems that go along with it, we may decide that we want a smoother road. To choose a smooth road means that we will have to pay a price for traveling on it. We may have to fill in the potholes, so to speak, and fix the rough spots before we see a smoother road. We face up to the fact that no easy or effortless methods exist for solving our problems and repairing our road. We wake up to the reality that our road will not become smoother or easier until we eat less, choose foods more wisely, and take care of ourselves. We come to the realization that we have been short changing ourselves by ignoring the things we needed to do to travel on a smoother road, free from many of the trials and tribulations facing us on the original bumpy road we were on.
I can speak from years of experience about the difference between these two roads I have just described. After years of failure and stubborn refusal to face the reality of my situation, I began writing this blog. The more I wrote about weight loss, the more the necessity of losing weight became paramount in my life. The more I implemented small changes in my diet and my behavior the easier it became to travel my new road. The bumps began leveling out. The doubts and self-recrimination and self punishment over being so obese for so long began to diminish.
Today I weighed 254, down from my maximum weight of 315. I never thought I could ever reach this goal. But when I started down my new road, I never looked back. I never punished myself for being stupid and careless. I never made a major mistake by going on a mindless detour or giving up. My actions became more and more automatic. So today, the road is becoming smoother and easier. If my example would provide encouragement for even one other person I would feel that my writing efforts have been worthwhile. But, more important, if no one else ever benefited one iota from my blog efforts, the fact that I was able to conquer a problem that had defied me for over three decades has made my efforts more than worthwhile.
Task Number 282: Choose a smoother road and make your life easier. Good luck, may your travels be safe and smooth, and may your life become easier. The Curmudgeonly Professor.