Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Practice Makes Perfect

Imagine a pilot who’s read an instruction manual about flying and aced the written test. He can tell you exactly how to fly a plane, but he’s spent very little time in the simulator. Would you fly with this person on his first day in the cockpit? *

So now imagine someone who has read lots of fitness magazines, read cookbooks and health blogs. They can tell you exactly how to lose weight and get healthy, but they have been eating out and have not yet step foot in a gym. Would you hire them as your personal trainer or fitness-health coach? Do you think they will be losing weight?

We all know how we want to behave, but there always seems to be a gap between ideal behavior and reality. The only way to bridge that gap is by practicing repetitive skills. It is the only way to move from knowing about something to doing something. This is why even experienced pilots are required to practice in simulators, log their hours and complete certain amounts of 'practice' take-offs and landings.

So, how do we practice getting healthy? Try role playing. Here are a few scenarios. Feel free to practice them in front of a mirror or perhaps with a friend.
Now, it is important that you act out the scenario and not say, "well if I were in this situation, I might say ______" I kid you not, your brain won't take it in unless you really do it. Channel your inner Cary Grant or Kate Winslet. Oscar-worthy performances baby!

Scenario 1: Restaurant. You are in a restaurant and need to tell the waiter to prepare your food without extra butter sauce, with veggie sides instead of rice and fries, and you don't want sugar in your iced tea.

Scenario 2: Working out in the gym. You are at the gym and you need to finish all 3 sets of a workout and need a machine. Someone is on it. Approach them and tell them you need the machine. Ask them to let you in when they rest. Find out how much longer they need that machine. 2a. Go to one of the trainers at the gym and ask them to show you an alternate exercise.

Scenario 3: Explaining your Food Choices to Family. You are at a family dinner with all the fixin's. Your Aunt Bessie asks you why you aren't eating everything. You tell her about how you are eating. You make her understand what journey you are taking.

Scenario 4: Tell your family what you need from them in order to stay on track. For example: I do not want candy all over the house. It has a specific home and it has to stay there. I buy certain treats for myself: diet soda, certain fruits, certain juices. They are fair game in the house, but no one can eat the last of these treats without asking me. I need them available as healthy choices so I don't binge on something less-than stellar.

Practice will become reality. Reality will become you getting healthier.
What other scenarios would be helpful? Post them here.



  1. great post!
    i'm already good with scenarios #1 & #2, but could use some help with #3 & #4.
    thanks for the tips!

  2. Fantastic post!

    Another scenario: Set an hour aside for exercise at least 4 times a week. Tell your family that you need the hour to take a walk, go to the gym, or anything exercise related. Then, do it. :)

    This is what I need to do at the moment!! :)


  3. You posted a comment about my nail biting. I don't know how I quit. Believe me, it is something that I never thought would happen. It, really, just happened to me. I've worked on getting healthy for years. Maybe, I've just done enough work to stop biting. Whatever the reason, I'll take it. Good luck to you! I know it is undescribely difficult to stop!

  4. I'm going to role play walking away from the box of cookies that's there for the kids.

    By the way, I've asked for rice with no butter at a restaurant... The waiter said, "Sure no problem", but when it was served, it was glistening with fat. Try role playing having a hissy fit because the waiter didn't bring what you asked for.