It was a hard-fought battle. Two pretty evenly-matched teams. In the end my daughter’s team took the victory, 3-2. I don’t tend to over-analyze a youth soccer match but something about the way they won struck me as not only a microcosm of sports but of health pursuits.. And really ANY pursuit.
They didn’t win on a hail Mary pass for a breakaway goal.
They didn’t win on the back of a star player
The coach didn’t have some secret play or strategy that led to a goal.
As a team they were certainly no more talented than their opponents.
So how did they pull off the victory?
They did the little things throughout the game.
They won more of the 50/50 battles.. Those head-to-head situations where there is a fight for ball possession.
They hustled just a little more than their opponents more of the time.
They maintained their composure when the opposing team scored.
They played hard until the final whistle – even when they were tired.
There are 3 lessons there as they apply to your fat loss/health goals
Lesson 1: Winning the fat loss game is about winning more of the small battles, more of the time. It’s about making the right decision and keeping the gritty and focused in the many moments throughout the day. Choosing to skip the donut, choosing to go to the gym after a long day at work, keeping a night out to 1 drink, not hitting the drive through.
Lesson 2: My daughter’s team could have easily lost this game. They could have given their best efforts and been the recipients of a bad bounce, a bad call or of a small miscue. They had a few setbacks within that game – some lapses that lead to one of the opponents goals. They got right back in there, however and kept charging forward.
Sometimes even when you do the best you can, the results don’t come to fruition. Sometimes the needle won’t budge on the scale or your clothes are still tight. Rest assured, however that your efforts have not gone to waste.
Lesson 3: We get hung up on highlight reel clips when it comes to both sports and fat loss. In sports we see the well timed play, the breakaway goal, the 60 yard pass, the perfect cross-court winner. These make for compelling narratives, but they are rarely what truly leads to victory. We gloss over the dives for the loose ball, a lineman creating just enough room for his QB to operate, the extra effort of the defenseman to draw a puck loose for an attack.
In the weight loss industry, the highlight reels are fad diets, cleanses, quick fixes and extreme protocols.
We are enamored by the idea of fast results, effortless dieting and a single solution to our woes.
Proverbially speaking, we..
Chase the homeruns instead of finding a way to get on base and advance runners.
Look for the long bomb instead of getting down the field 4-8 yards at a time.
Look for a knockout instead of wearing our opponent down with jabs.
Enter a half-marathon instead of a 5k, thinking we can complete it by sheer will alone.
In the pursuit of fat loss, we..
Cut out all carbs instead of creating an environment where it’s easier to eat healthfully.
Undertake a 30 day detox instead of working on our relationships with food.
Attempt a daily advanced workout instead of showing up at the gym 4 times a week.
Fast instead of finding a way to get 1-2 more servings of veggies in us a day.
Put radical focus on winning the small, day to day, moment to moment battles. THIS is where the magic is. Hit singles, cut that vegetable, go for that brisk walk, drive past the drive through, bring healthy food with you.
Developing consistency with the smaller things is what will set you up for sustainable success. You will have off-days… off WEEKS even. It will be tempting to “swing for the fences” after an off-week. Just get back to getting on base. Some days, even great efforts will fall short on the scale or with the tape. Keep going anyway. Your hard work and consistency will pay off.