I always love a good weight loss story, so I was intrigued by the Wall Street Journal’s recent offering. Former NFL lineman Brandon Moore used to eat like, well, a 300-lb lineman. He needed to be bulky for his job, and as a professional athlete, he exercised a lot. He could absorb 6400 calories per day (the total for a menu he provided). This included such meal choices as 7 beef tacos for dinner, and a half-pint of butter pecan ice cream for dessert.
Then he retired. He stopped logging 20 hours a week of practice, training, and games. He realized he was going to have to learn to eat differently, both since he wasn’t getting as much exercise, and since he didn’t want to be 300 lbs if life wasn’t going to involve plowing down other players. With severe menu adjustments — like cutting 4700 calories from his daily total — he’d already dropped to 268 lbs. He was trying to get to 250.
It’s an inspiring story, and also touched on something I’ve been thinking about lately — how we decide to change scripts that are no longer true. For many years, Moore was a big guy who could eat like a big guy. He’d go out to eat with his teammates and order every appetizer on the steakhouse menu. Then his identity changed. Moore was able to stop thinking of himself as the guy who eats a 4-egg omelet for breakfast, and become the guy who eats Multi Grain Cheerios and grapes.
Pro athletes have a lot of discipline, but even so, many can’t make this transition. The rest of us also have a hard time with changing our stories. I don’t eat 6400 calories a day, but I’ve been working on changing my own script of what I choose to eat and what I don’t. I’ve been thinking of other scripts I’ve had to change, too. Years ago, when I switched to a much more demanding high school for my junior and senior year, I had to change my story from “I’m the kind of person who aces tests without studying” to “perhaps it would behoove me to study.” Some people can never change this script — one reason bright kids drop out of college. It’s hard to go from a story of effortless brilliance to a story of success through hard work. It’s easier, sometimes, to argue that no one understands you.
What scripts have you managed to change? How did you do that?
Photo: Is this in the script?