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Road repair work has been going on in our neighborhood. It never ceases to amaze me how one or two bored workers in bright orange jackets with stop signs can hold up a stream of cars, trucks and people with plans.
Whether we’re “in the mood” or not, have an important deadline to meet, or have achieved a high personal or professional status, the almighty stop sign trumps all. We have no choice, no matter who we are, but to obey and wait for our turn to move ahead. Even as we feel impatient, frustrated, rant, rave, and complain, our hands and feet continue to control and discipline the car and mind the stop sign and whoever holds it.
It’s amazing what we can do when a stop sign and authority are present. Discipline prevails and we obey without question or delay. Just as prevalent as the stop signs and stoplights that appear throughout most of our days are opportunities to over eat wrong foods. In modern society, baked goods, candy, soda, fast food, high calorie chips and snacks, mammoth-sized portions and junk food are literally available every few blocks. Tempting and delicious, it’s easy to respond to our physical appetites for these foods and pretend there’s a green “go” light that makes it acceptable to move ahead with the general flow of human traffic that is indulging without restraint.
Though all our prophets inspire us, for me it’s President Spencer W. Kimball’s life that is an exceptional inspiration to help us follow a higher road and implement the stop signs with respect to our physical appetites for inappropriate amounts and types of food. He says:
While we lack recollection of our pre-mortal life, before coming to this earth all of us understood definitely the purpose our being here. We would be expected to gain knowledge, educate ourselves, train ourselves. We were to control our urges and desires, master and control our passions, and overcome our weaknesses, small and large. We were to eliminate sins of omission and of commission, and to follow the laws and commandments given us by our Father.
Not only did President Kimball inspire us with his words, but his own life was also filled with physical challenges. His personal strength, faith and fortitude through his own illnesses can inspire us to take the higher road as we overcome our physical challenges and temptations.
Here are three easy ways to follow the higher road to health and fitness as we stay focused and succeed with our healthy eating and weight loss plans:
1. We can make it a habit to remind ourselves of our goals and health agenda every time we see a stop light, which is usually many times a day. Just as we teach our children to “stop, look and listen” when crossing every street, we can teach ourselves to actively and frequently stop, look and listen to our health needs and goals. You can surely personalize these, but here are a few to get us started as we see the red, green and yellow lights:
Dwelling on the past and failures
Blaming other people for present personal circumstances
Degrading ourselves and how far we have to go Minimizing our success and divine identity
Eating our emotions/challenges with food instead of facing them with faith and prayer
At where we are and the progress we’ve made
Towards the near future, not more than “the next five pounds” gone rather than the whole amount
At other’s success as inspiration for our own
To kinds words and compliments from others with a genuine “thanks!” rather than “oh, I still have so much to lose …”
To our bodies’ desire for healthy food, exercise, water and rest
To positive self-talk, the Still Small Voice and people that reinforce our goals
2. The Higher Road Workout: Do 10 isometric squeezes every time you’re at a red light. Believe me, no one will know but you! Systematically work your way through your body at different stop lights for a complete workout: Simply squeeze/flex, count to ten, release and repeat until the light turns green.
Start with your upper body. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and forward, tensing your chest muscles. Count to ten and release. At the next light, extend your arms out, palms facing down and open, stretching the fingers as far as possible, then squeeze the muscles in the top and back of your arms. At the next light, palms up with hands clenched, squeeze your forearms. Then move to your lower body: contract and squeeze your abs, hold for ten and release and repeat until the light turns green. At the next light, right where you’re seated, squeeze your tush, hold and count to ten, and release. At the next light, squeeze your knees and inner thighs together to tighten and tone. If you’re the passenger, you can even finish these higher road isometrics by flexing your feet, heels pushing forward and toes trying to reach your shins as you hold for ten.
Wow! What a workout! By the time you’ve arrived, you’ve strengthened and toned not only your body, but your spirit and ability to obey the laws that lead to the road of health and fitness.
3. Carry a stoplight with you. Not literally, of course, but in your head to challenging food situations. Simply envision it hanging over the table with that light blinking red over troublesome foods, yellow over foods that need caution, and green for natural foods, water and foods and amounts within your program. Flex your foot as a reminder of its training and ability to brake as it obeys the laws of the road, and transfer that skill to your hands.
How good and blessed it feels spiritually, emotionally and physically to stop, look, listen and obey the laws of a higher road. I’ll be looking for you at the next stop light!
Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success, One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life, available HERE.
She has been providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999 presenting for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups. She and her husband Bob are the parents of five children and grandparents of ten. They are now happy empty nesters in Jackson Tennessee, close to Memphis where they center their online business, a very helpful herbal detox in keeping with the Word of Wisdom.