Thursday, October 16, 2008


Does anyone remember directions? Like, back in the day before Google-maps and Tom-tom and GPS systems that let you know that there's a bug standing about 2 feet to your left... (and is it just me, or does it bother anyone else that someone can see how messy your front porch is from the other side of the world?)

I mean, these days, you just plug in the end and starting addresses, and some computer gives you step-by-step directions (updated in real time for traffic problems!) with milage markers...

I remember back before the Internets. (Yes, I really am that old... I remember www in text-only and having to download jpgs to look at them...)

You'd call your Aunt Sally on the phone since they just moved and you're expected to Thanksgiving dinner in little more than three hours, and you need... Directions! And she'd rattle on for a while; you are frantically trying to write as fast as she's talking, and suddenly your uncle Earl snatches the phone away from her.

"That's all wrong," he says. You can hear her in the background screeling her protest. "Whatcha do is this here.."

A healthy lifestyle is a lot like directions used to be, PGE (Pre Google Empire).

First, you've got your girl-directions: Women have a tendency to navigate by landmarks. Directions coming from me will go something like this, "Go down the street about three blocks. When you see the Panera's on the right hand side, you'll turn left at the next light. Go down to the church and turn right. You want the building across the street from the school. If you see the tennis courts on the right, you went too far."

A food-plan, as described by a woman, might go something like this, "Well, see, what you do is this... your first meeting, you'll get this little sliding tool that'll calculate points. Oh, and don't forget that you'll want to make sure you like your leader, because let me tell you, having a good leader makes a world of difference. Don't be afraid to talk in the meetings, you won't believe some of the great recipes I've gotten..."

Then, you've got men's directions: Men use maps and a better-developed inner compass. Thomas, giving the same directions, will tell you, "South on Greenbriar parkway, turn left onto Volvo. Take your first right hand turn onto Eden Way South."

Thomas, telling you about Weight Watchers, will say this;

(If you don't believe me, check out this fascinating article about gender-specific direction sense...)

And then, you've got the unconventional directions...

Maine: Ya can't get theyah frum heyah.

That's the diet-plan for a great number of people wanting to lose weight. They know where they want to be, but they haven't got the faintest clue how to get there. Grapefruit diet? Hoodia? Atkins? Kimkins? (God forbid!)

Unfortunately, lots of people are stuck in these directions. The problem, of course, is that there's no one way to get to your goal. It's like saying that where you are now is Virginia, and your weight-loss goal is somewhere in Cincinatti. There are several different ways you could get there. I-64 is probably the shortest route, or at least the one with the most convenient public restrooms. And yet, traffic is likely to suck. So, it might take longer to go via the interstate...

One time, when I was out in Iowa, visiting my cousins, I got an interesting direction-methodology that seems to work well for a good eating plan.

"Well, you take three looks and then turn left, and another five looks from there, you should see it."

"Do what?"

Apparently, in Iowa, where you've got a crapton of flat, empty space, directions are given in measurements of "looks."

A "look" is fairly simple. Put your car on the road and look down the road as far as you can. In this picture, your first "look point" would be that white silo on the right hand side of the road. Drive until you reach that look point. Then Look further down the road, as far as you can see. Repeat as necessary.

I think that's where I am, in my food plan.

From where I stood, back in January, I could never have seen this far. A map wasn't going to help me, all that was going to do was weigh (pun intended) me down with the knowledge of how far I had to go. Google directions can be great, up until you get to new construction, or I-495 bypass road in around Washington D.C., in which case all bets are off! I couldn't even begin to think about landmarks that I wasn't going to be seeing for weeks and weeks. Could I even get theyah from heyah?

What I needed was a good long Look down the road, and to only worry about what I could see. When I get to that point, I can Look around some more, and plan my trip from there.

Many things in life might work better if we only worried about those problems we could see.


Felicia said...

I thought it was WONDERFUL!! You did a super job and you are so very inspiring!!

Have a wonderful day!!


Anonymous said...

Hee! I like the idea of the "Look" method of diet planning. Of course, there's something else to be said against too strong a reliance on the TomTom diet... I think you can extend your analogy that way, too. Reality checks are important. Just because a diet's popular, or published (if it's in print it must be true, right?) doesn't mean it's going to be a perfect fit for everybody. I think understanding the concepts behind the weight loss plan is just as important as following the rules. That's why things like Hoodia and fad diets make me so angry... they offer this shining promise of teleporting you to your destination without explaining how to get there, or how to recognize if you've steered wrong.

(Completely off-topic... Lord, I couldn't imagine living someplace flat enough that line-of-sight reckoning was actually a useful way to get around! The last time I used that, it was for search-and-rescue in the deep woods....)

Chercheur said...

OMG this is just brilliant. What a beautiful way of putting it. (I'd never heard of "looks" but after living in Enid, Oklahoma for several years, where the wheat fields only end when the next wheat field begins, I totally 'get' the concept.)

And absolutely how I am living right now. I can "see" to a certain point, and I'll drive till I get there. When I get there, I'll pick the next point, and so on.

Awesome post.


45+ and Aspiring said...

What a lovely analogy and a calming presentation. Just reading it made me take a deep, soothing breath.

I've recently gotten back to exercising after a long lapse. It hurt to walk. I felt breathless alot.

Without knowing your term, I used the "look" method on a pivotal walk with my husband. Going uphill, I spotted the next look point--for 3 look points.

At each one I stopped, let myself catch my breath and then used my "third eye" to get me to the next one!

Hope you are out celebrating your AMAZING MizFit post--you reached 100 when I last looked. . . WOW!!!

Anonymous said...

late to the soiree in that the compliments hath been showered :) and Im SO HERE TO ECHO THEM.

though we've already established I adore your writing and, well, YOU.

have a great weekend.


Hanlie said...

Great analogy! I really enjoyed your post.

SuperDave said...

Good job on the weightloss this week Lynn!

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