Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Tortoise and the Hare

This is a picture of the title characters in one of the greatest fables of all time. If you do not know the story, (shame on your kindergarten teacher) I will give you the cliff notes:

After much taunting Tortoise, an animal known for being slow, give into Hare's insistence that they run a race. Hare being historically fast, as he is a rabbit, figures he has it in the bag. He kicks back, doesn't train, doesn't sleep and by race day, he's dragging a bit. But he is hyped up and lets Tortoise know he is going down in flames.

The starting flag is thrown and they are off. Hare shoots off into the distance and once he can no longer see Tortoise, he slows down. He's feeling a bit tired, so he decides there is no way Tortoise will catch up. He lays down under a tree for a quick nap and then he will finish the race in plenty of time.

While Hare sleeps, Tortoise keeps his slow and regular speed he set from the beginning and quietly passes the resting rabbit. Hare wakes with a start realizing he'd better finish in plenty of time to humiliate Tortoise fully.

He runs for the finish line only to find Tortoise crossing before he can get there. The moral of the story, so beautifully illustrated by author Aesop? Slow and steady wins the race. (But then you knew that.)

I am reminding you of this tale for several reasons:

- I found a copy of an old Duffy cartoon from the Des Moines Register featuring my old friend Preston Daniels as the tortoise and his opponent in 1997, Jim Cownie, as the hare. It still makes me snicker to this day.

- A friend said she 'only' lost two pounds last week. I reminded her that's exactly how much you want to lose. If the weight comes off slowly, you are more likely to keep it off.

- It's a good reminder for me that I did not get fat overnight, I did not lose the weight overnight and maintenance is not just overnight. I got fat steadily, one pint of ice cream at a time. I lost weight steadily, one to two pounds a week. There is no "overnight" maintenance - this is a lifestyle, a journey and it's for the rest of my life. It's a race I hope will go for a VERY long time, so I need to pace myself anyway.

The greatest thing about this story is that it can literally pertain to anything in your life. You should always have a plan and then prepare to be patient, because even the best laid plans can end up being a tortoise. It's your fortitude and belief in yourself, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, that will earn you the win.

Yours in health, Kate

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