May 13, 2011

A Sure Bet

Several years ago I went to the horse races with my family. I didn't do much betting the entire time we were there, just enjoyed watching the beautiful horses and chatting with everyone. I'm not really proficient at "horse racing." But on the very last race, something incredible happened. My dad gave me some money and told me to go make a bet. Yay!

Like I mentioned, I didn't really know anything about betting on horses, just what I had picked up here and there listening to everyone else talk. But I gave it my best shot. I walked up to the little window and sheepishly told the lady I wanted a "trifecta box" (that is where you pick three horses to come in 1st, 2nd, 3rd but it doesn't matter which horse comes in which place, as long as the three you pick are the first three). I had picked horses with cool names, beyond that I had no idea what I had just done!

So I folded up the ticket and walked back to our table. I chatted until the final race began. I was watching and cheering when the horses took off but I didn't even know which ones were my picks. Winning wasn't even in the back of my mind. BUT...

When the horses crossed the finish line (and someone else examined my ticket for me) I was shocked to find out I had won! And it was a sizable amount because I had picked some really long shots, apparently! It was thrilling! I was so excited. I decided then and there that I LOVE horse races. LOL.

Every time I have been back to horse races (which I can count on one hand, before anyone begins to think I am a compulsive gambler also!) I have tried to recreate that happening. I bet the same thing, I pick horses by how cool the name is and then I just wait to hoot and holler when I win. But the only thing is--I don't win. Ever. Ever again.

We all know that gambling is an industry, right? They have things like horse races and casinos to make money. And they make money off of the people who give it to them and lose it. Yeah, sure, there will be that one time you win big (that's what draws you in) but for the most part you are giving your money away or at best, swapping dollar bills.

The only sure bet is to not bet at all.

The sure bet is to just hold on to those pretty little dollars that your daddy gives you and go get a pedicure the next day. Pedicures are a sure bet, right? That's difficult though. Because what happens is, that little taste of winning is enough to bring you back. For some people it's every weekend, others every day. It is enough to captivate a person, ruin lives, ruin families....

What the heck does any of this have to do with weight loss? If you are still reading (ha!) allow me to answer that: I'm afraid we, okay I am betting on the trifecta long-shot way too often where my weight-loss efforts are concerned. There has been a time or two that I have bet the farm by eating like a lunatic for a week straight, stepped on the scale with my tail between my legs only to find that I have lost something like...10 lbs!!! Yes, I'm exaggerating, but you know what I mean? It's crazy. But once in a very long while, it happens. And we remember it. Oh boy--do we remember it! So then every time a temptation comes along, instead of being realistic, we think maybe, just maybe, we can beat the odds again. The thrill of possibly "beating the system" creeps into the back of our minds and we place our bet. Unfortunately, the big pay-off rarely comes.

I'm writing about this because it just dawned on me how STUPID this is. Because in the context of weight loss, in contrast to the horse-racing illustration, every time we don't "wager" with our choices, when we stick to our guns, it's kind of like we draw interest on what we held onto. It comes in the form of feeling better about ourselves, seeing steady losses when we step on the scales, the incomparable feeling of being on track....the list goes on and on.

When I cut straight to the heart of this, I realize that I have more considered it a gamble to make the right choices and risk not feeling comforted or not seeing results, even though I am "working so hard." That is a big fear of mine. I am afraid to trust what I know to be true of weight loss and how it happens for fear that it, all of a sudden, will not be true. That I will give up something my flesh desires and I will not be satisfied and I will be deprived. The bottom line is that, in my messed up mind, doing the next right thing seems like a big gamble to me.

But what is the truth? Doing the next right thing is always a sure bet. We will always win when we make the best choice at hand. There is no luck, coincidence or serendipity involved. It may take time, tears, a lot of prayer and unfortunately, sometimes, just sheer willpower--but we should do the next right thing at all costs. It's a sure bet.



Have a great weekend everyone!


safire said...

I love this! I read in a gambling for dummy guide (bear with me, I was going with my boyfriend to las vegas) and it said not to gamble with anything you aren't willing to lose completely.

I indulge knowing I will probably gain but I'm okay with that because I can deal with the consequences!

:) Great post! Have a great weekend!

Keelie said...

Safire--ThAT is an excellent point!!!! Didn't even think about that angle thanks for your comments and support!

Absolutely, Positively Josie said...

Keelie, you put into words those subtle feelings that are too easily dismissed. Well, I easily dismiss them, anyway. I don' trust the process- the one that I know works- for the very reasons you blogged about here.

But I'll be keeping in mind what you said about doing the next right thing. It's so easy to get overwhelmed when you think about how many choices you have, or think you have. We're not promised tomorrow!

Thank you for your dedication to this blog.

alisonds said...

Great update, I really enjoyed the analogy. You are so right - doing the right thing is a sure bet, and you just need to condition yourself to want the "drama-free" path of consistency not the amazing, once in a diet, 10lb losses.

Can do mom said...

Another great blog post. Love how you take the stuff of everyday life and apply it to your weight loss journey.

Good stuff!