Mar 23

Nothing But Net

I use the following analogy about practice and how it goes. Picture a basketball player — an amazing basketball player who is one of the starters on his team. He’s an awesome, well-seasoned, diverse and talented athlete. Most games he racks up the most points. He has an excellent lay-up, he dribbles well and his 3-point shot is stellar. He’s also a great team leader and his teammates respect and look up to him. What could be wrong, right? 

He sucks at free throws. SUCKS! How can he have a stellar 3-point shot and suck at free throws? No clue. Maybe it’s the pressure, the paused stance, the exact distance from the hoop. Who knows? But it’s awful. It’s become so bad the coach has to take him out of the game near the end so he doesn’t get fouled. Other teams know his weakness too, so he’s an easy target for fouling because they know he’ll miss. It’s a problem. 

Does this make him less of an athlete? Some might argue yes, I’m well aware. I’ll argue no, he just needs dedicated practice at free-throw shooting. Ding, ding, ding!!!

Wait, we are not done. So he commits to free-throw shooting practice every day with a designated coach. He shows up the first day and the coach gives him all kinds of pointers: how to stand, how the ball should feel in his hands, what to think, how to bend his knees, how the ball should leave his hands, the flexion of his wrists. He takes it all in, applies all the pointers and shoots. Nothing. Airball after airball after airball, with the occasional rim bounce, but still no shot. He gets nothing the entire practice. 

Does he decide after that practice session that it just won’t work? No! Although discouraged, he shows up the next day. And nothing again. Unbelievably discouraging! Determined, he shows up the day after that and tries again. And one time it goes in. He knew it would, he could feel it as the ball left his hands. He knew exactly how it felt and now he knew what to do to hear the quiet swish sound. Cool!!! Next shot – airball. Dammit (or for sure other expletives)! But one time, just one time, it had worked and he knew he could make it work again.

This is like your life. And I am your eating coach. You’re rockin’ it in many areas but can’t seem to understand what it feels like to be truly physically hungry. It feels so foreign to you and seems so easy for other people. Combining a portion of protein and a portion of carb seems like a fairly simple concept, but sometimes you just don’t want to. 

Or, you’re sick of doing it and your brain hurts from trying to figure out a combination that sounds appealing. Or you forget to apply what you’ve learned in this book. In those moments it seems so much easier to just follow a diet and eat exactly what you’re told. It seems easier until it isn’t. You can do this. There will be times that you nail it – BOOMDIADA!! And other times you feel you miss the mark entirely. 

Remember there’s no wagon to fall off of. You’re not left in the dust and it doesn’t mean you’ve blown it or even that you cheated. It just means your practice didn’t go very well, or as well as you would have liked, for that particular meal. There’s always the next meal. And the next time you get hungry. There are plenty of opportunities for practice to master the new skill and strike that knockout ONE-TWO PUNCH!