Thursday, November 30, 2006

Training Wheels

What a fun time we had this weekend! Our youngest learned how to ride his bicycle without training wheels. Actually, what he really learned was how to stop – without letting go and leaping from the bicycle. Balance was not an issue for him. Knowing when to not let go and jump was his issue. If only that was the issue for all of us. Seldom do we walk through life with balance. And seldom do we let go with as much ease as my youngest son. We hold on to our bad habits, refusing to let go or stop. We continue to ride down life’s road regardless of the destination. Speed seems to be more important than destination or the scenery. We may know and see warning signs that we are headed for disaster, but letting go seems too hard or too scary. We need to slow down, put on the brakes and lean to the side. Then stopping isn’t hard. It’s natural.

Perhaps that’s the way we are with our eating habits. Life is just coming at us too fast it seems, to stop and assess. We begin to feel it’s either full steam ahead or dead stop. But that’s not the way it has to be. Incorporating healthier habits into our lives can be both natural and easy. Start with accepting that small changes tend to stick. Look at each meal and add or change one simple thing to make it more nutritionally sound. Perhaps it’s beginning to add more lettuce and tomatoes to your burgers, or perhaps it’s switching out that all beef patty for one made with vegetables. It might be as simple as just adding another vegetable or fruit side dish to your plate. Maybe removing a few things from your menu would be a good start. Give it time, concerted effort and consistency and you might be surprised at how easy it is. You’ll also likely be pleasantly surprised to see how much better you feel.

Just like riding a bicycle, permanent lifestyle changes take balance, patience, persistence and the ability to know how to stop when you need to. Oh, and my son? The smile on his face as he realized he knew how to ride all along was priceless.

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