By Lee Anne Grace
A mysterious noise drifted through the early morning air that sounded eerily similar to a small child in distress. My mommy instincts went into high gear for a brief second until I realized its timbre was off just enough not to be human.
A brief silence was interrupted by a rooster confidently crowing from across the pond. The unidentified voice answered in reply. The conversation continued between the rooster and the closer sound. It was a delightful surprise when I discovered the unknown member of the early morning conversation was, in fact, a young rooster. I had just heard his first attempt at crowing to announce the start of a new day.
The young cockerel did not stop seeking to produce a mature crow even though his first attempts fell far short of the deep robust song of the mature rooster. His first notes were so meager they weren’t even identifiable. In spite of his efforts bordering on comical, the little rooster continued to crow.
Isn’t it interesting that many times we, as humans, give up striving to reach our goals and dreams because our first attempts aren’t successful? Whether it be because of lack of confident vision or a need for instant gratification, we all too often throw in the towel and declare defeat early on.
From my own personal perspective, I know very well what doesn’t work to shed excess pounds and embrace a healthier lifestyle. Name a fad diet or strategy, and I’ve more than likely tried it. I believed the next diet or exercise regimen I tried would be the magic bullet that would solve all my problems and morph my body into one worthy of being pronounced beautiful.
Along the way I discovered two very important truths: The young cockerel responded and sought to emulate the old rooster’s successful voice of experience. He was not distracted by the closer voice of the robin singing in the tree above him, or the much louder voices from the cacophony of bull frogs from the night before. Imitating those voices would have been tempting, as they were closer and louder, but ultimately he would not have been successful. Likewise, the loud symphony of the media touting every new fad diet that comes along can be tempting to follow, but in the long run a “did not finish” will be the end result.
The second truth? The power to be pronounced beautiful comes not from the voices and influences surrounding me, but from what was residing inside me all along. Beauty is not based on external appearance, but is a reflection of internal experience.
Who do I choose to listen to when it comes to weight loss and maintenance strategies? The voice of my experienced rooster is the National Weight Control Registry ( NWCR).
The registry tracks over 5,000 individuals who have maintained weight loss for an extended period of time. Many common behaviors were identified, but the most notable included:
n Continuing to eat a low-calorie, low-fat diet.
n Eating breakfast.
n Weighing at least once a week.
n Watching less than 10 hours of TV per week.
n Exercising an average of 60 minutes a day.
n Tracking nutritional intake.
Who will you choose to emulate in your quest for healthy living – the loud croaks of the fad bull frog diets or the voice of experience of the old rooster?
One morning soon, I plan to return to the banks of the pond. I hope to hear the young rooster, now crowing with the mature, resonant voice of experience.
Lee Anne Grace is an elementary music teacher for Tupelo Public Schools. After reaching a weight of almost 300 pounds and failing at numerous diets for over 25 years, she has been successful at losing weight and maintaining her weight loss for three years. She is the mother of two teenage daughters and enjoys running in her spare time.