This one can be a little tricky because it can look like we are staying focused when we really are all over the place. The best analogy I can think of is driving. As some of you know, I spend about four hours on the road every work day so at the end of the week, I’ve logged another 20 hours of driving. Most of it is on the freeway, and I really don’t mind the drive much because it’s when I listen to podcasts and audiobooks.
My commute takes me down Highway 99 in California and as you leave the Sacramento/ Elk Grove area, southbound 99 goes from four lanes to three and then to two as you move from the urban to the rural. Normally, my drive home is about two hours and there’s usually a little congestion there due to the decreasing lanes and onramps. There was one day when I was stuck in that area for about an hour in stop and go traffic! It should have taken me about ten minutes to get past the Elk Grove Auto Mall and into the outlying region which also has stop and go traffic (about 20 minutes to get out of the city and into the country).
Being stuck in that traffic for so long was frustrating but I naturally assumed there was construction or an accident ahead of me and since there was nothing I could do about it, I was as patient as I could be. As I came alongside the frontage road, I started seeing a commotion in front of the little grocery off the freeway and as I grew closer, I realized there were about five police cruisers parked in front of it, all with their lights on. I remember thinking “what’s going on there?” and kept driving… until I realized the cars in front of me were slowing down, pausing, then accelerating back to freeway speed. ARE. YOU. FREAKING’. KIDDING. ME?!?!
Nope! Not kidding! That entire hour-long slowdown was due to all the Rubberneckers slowing down to get a look at what was happening on the frontage road. It probably wouldn’t have been so maddening to me except that Rubberneckers are a pet peeve of mine. It’s one thing to slow down or change lanes if there’s someone broken down on the side of the road: that’s just a safety issue since there could be pedestrians on the roadside. Too many of them slow down to get a good look at what’s happening: that guy’s changing a tire! There’s an accident!
Yeah, it’s an accident! And if you don’t watch where you’re going, you’re going to have one too! That’s pretty much what happens with our weight loss if we aren’t careful: we’re too busy watching what someone else is doing, what’s the Hot Trend du Jour, or looking for what’s up and coming. We are so focused on Someone or Something Else to see what’s happening with us. In driving, you’re watching the cars on the side of the road and don’t see that the car in front of you has stopped or slowed down until your front end is in her backseat! In weight loss, you’re reading about Intermittent Fasting or trying the latest protein bars or shakes and aren’t paying attention to how your body is reacting to what you are doing today. Even worse, by the time your body tells you that the new protein shakes don’t agree with you, you’ve moved on to the trendy new supplement! So now, when you get the godawful cramps and bloating, you think it’s the supplement doing that to you. It could be, but it could also be the protein shakes you were doing before that, or it could be the combination of the shakes and the supplement or it could be that you cut back on your fiber, upped your dietary fat intake and began the shakes and then the supplement. Place your bet and spin the wheel! Too many “or’s” in the water for me!
The point is that you are so busy being focused on “what’s going on over there?” that you aren’t focused on what’s in front of you, namely you, your body and your weight loss! You need to focus on you and what’s working or not working for you. Just because everyone is ‘going keto’ doesn’t mean that you have to go keto too. If what you are doing is working for you, as in you feel good physically and mentally, you are losing body fat, like what you’re eating and aren’t starving all the time, don’t fix what ain’t broken! Especially if you’re only doing it to keep up with the latest trends!
If you aren’t getting the results that you want, then it’s time to make a responsible change. Note that Responsible is in italics! That means give your body time to make the adjustment, which can be a week or more depending on your body. You know how long it takes your body to adjust so make one (or two at most) change and see what happens. That way you’re not playing What’s Up with My Body Roulette and waste more time trying to guess what’s not working.
If you’re getting good results and think you can up your game, that’s something else. If you’re already Paleo (or low carb) and want to try keto, give it a responsible attempt and see how that works out. This way, if it doesn’t, you know there’s a proven plan you can go back to, and if it does work out for you, even better!
We all need to be less of a Rubbernecker and more focused when it comes to our weight loss. I know it’s hard because I have to fight the urge myself when I hear about something new. My own pet pitfall is Information Gathering, as in there’s always another book I want to read, another podcast to download or another supplement to try. It’s enticing and they lure you in, just like those cars on the side of the road do to the Rubberneckers on the freeway. Our curiosity gets the better of us and our ‘commute’ to better health ends up getting bogged down in traffic or sidelined with a major calamity. Keep your eyes on your own road and avoid the distractions, even if you sometimes have to put on blinders to do it!