Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Are You Lost?

Have you ever felt lost? By lost I mean like the answer you're searching for is invisble, missing or misplaced; like you feel stranded on the island of [insert goal or objective here] and there's only room to stand, water all around and no signs of a rescue boat anywhere; or maybe it's just a feeling of hopelessness where you're drained from trying to find the answer to no avail.

Now, speaking along the lines of health and fitness, what about being lost here? I mean, you get up, you know you need to eat healthier, but you don't know where to start or you're so confused by all the conflicting and confounding media reports where today tuna is healthy and tomorrow it's toxic. Does your morning start off like this:

"Should I have eggs?...or is there too much fat in the yolk?...so maybe I should just have egg whites...but then do I lose all the nutritional value of the yolks? Or,

"Should I have a salad for lunch? Should I add protein to the salad? If so, what kind? And what about salad dressing? Should it have fat in it? I've heard that you need fat to help with the absorption of the vitamins and minerals in the vegetables (fat soluble vitamins/minerals) - but then again, oil has so many calories...what to do???"

Or what about with exercise? Have you ever thought: "I know I need to exercise, but I just don't know what to do?" Or, worse: you know what to do but you're so stuck in a rut or are so bored with what you're doing that you just feel lost? ...almost paralyzed?

Well, I've been there too - seems from eating to exercising to life - I've definitely been lost, and it's truly hard to find your way back. I started thinking, I wonder if the rules for getting "un-lost" are the same with health and fitness as they are if, say, you were lost in the woods or even in a parking lot - looking for your car?

It turns out that with a little due diligence, the answers I found to being lost in the woods can help us with many of the scenarios I described above. And it's ironic that these answers are so crazy simple - like everything I seem to be drawn to these days that produces results or success: the basics!

So, here is the answer I found as a common solution to getting lost in the woods - so common the Boy Scouts use it! (compliments of The Boy Scouts of America and Equipped To Survive)


Stop/Stay put.
Take a deep breath. Calm yourself. Recognize that whatever has happened is past and cannot be undone. Your "survival" situation (the situation you're in - your feeling of being lost or stuck) is reality, and you must move forward.

Think. Take no action until you have thought through the situation. Your brain is your biggest asset.

Observe. Take a look around you and assess your situation and surroundings. Consider your resources and personal capabilities.

Plan. Prioritize your immediate needs and establish a step by step plan to systematically deal with and resolve the situation, inclusive of contingencies. Be flexible and prepared to adjust to changing circumstances.

These steps seem so ridiculously simple, but really look at how effective the outcome can be with such a simple (and easy to remember) plan! There's no 10 step system, worksheets, $100/hr shrink sessions (although I am a huge proponent of talk therapy) - just a simple-to-remember acronym and basic elementary terms strategically ordered to produce a result.

The "basics" are always a good place to start - whether it be fitness or nutrition - and the STOP for survival acronym is certainly worth a try.

So, let's test 'er out, shall we?

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