I’m just back from a fabulous fishing trip to Haida Gwaii with my father and my brother.
The islands are so ruggedly beautiful, I was often distracted from the fishing by the
nature around me. Snow capped peaks surrounding steep fiords and eagles lining the
banks like sentinels every quarter mile or so. Oh, and the lodge served gourmet repast!
My father is one of the most dedicated fisherman you’ll ever meet. Turning 90 next
month, he only stopped salmon fishing on Lake Michigan BY HIMSELF three years ago. He’s caught more salmon since they were planted in Lake Michigan in the mid-1960’s than most west coast anglers can even dream about. My brother and I have caught our
fair share as well.
But none of us had ever fished for Ling Cod, and my bro and I hadn’t ever caught a halibut. Mission accomplished! We got plenty of each, and of the 46 people at the lodge on this trip, I landed the third largest halibut (45 lbs.). Former UW and NFL quarterback, and 710 ESPN radio personality Brock Huard had the biggest (like his life isn’t charmed enough as it is).
Other notable firsts included my big bubba reeling in a dog shark, and my losing a salmon right off the end of my line to a sea lion! At least I didn’t lose any tackle. However, there was one aspect of the adventure I didn’t foresee coming. We caught more salmon without our guide than with him. Far more. Six times as many. We couldn’t blame the guide for the salmon going cold just before we got there, but his trolling skills weren’t really up to snuff. Well, at least not up to Mange standards.
You have to understand, my dad is a master. Of the thousands of salmon he’s caught in his life, almost all have been while trolling. As a kid I vividly recall four of us in a 12 foot aluminum boat in Platte Bay, fighting wind, choppy waves, and hundreds of other boats, AND dad helping us haul ‘em in. He can maintain course and speed upwind or down, and maneuver to best advantage for playing a fish in his sleep. Our guide could not.
As with the bottom fishing for halibut and Ling cod, the guide knew the location. He even knew the theory of the technique, but unlike the other styles, he lacked in the execution. He couldn’t keep a steady speed, nearly slowing to a stop at times into the wind, and mishandling following seas vacillating between too fast and getting swamped. And when a fish was on the line, he was always too slow to react with his positioning. I bring the guide up because this is where I found the tie between our trip and successful weight loss.
In real estate it’s “Location, location, location.” In fishing (and weight loss) it should be “Focus, focus, focus.” That doesn’t just mean focusing on the details, but also finding your focus. Our guide’s focus was on bottom fishing. There he knew the location and the technique, and he had attention to details. Trolling, he wasn’t only lacking as a skipper, he got lazy on the details. He was satisfied with putzing along doing the same old thing for an hour without a hit. It was as though he was thinking that trolling is trolling and that’s all he could do about it.
I know there’s technique to bottom fishing, but it’s not as complex as trolling. You might have a more enticing jigging action than someone else, but “just off the bottom” is “just off the bottom.” Trolling requires constant attention to multiple factors, and my father’srule with presentation is that if something hasn’t worked in 15 or 20 minutes you should change some aspect of what you’re doing. Change depth, or lure, or speed or any
combination of the three. With the ancient mariner at the helm we got more hits, were able to land a higher percentage, and everything felt right with the universe.
But that shouldn’t have been surprising to me. His trolling skill had been an integral part his life for decades. So whether into the wind or with nasty following seas, he does what he needs to do, almost automatically. It’s what he does. It’s his specialty within a specialty. It was ingrained in his lifestyle.
With weight loss, we can tell you the techniques but that doesn’t mean everyone is going to find the same focus or have the same results. We can all head to different fishing holes and find the style that works for us. There are a lot of details to attend to if you’re going to lose weight and keep it off, and it’s nearly impossible to stay focused if you haven’t found your focus. You have to find your niche.
Your life has to change in some way to make it work. I can’t take a three day trip and say I’m a fisherman. To be a fisherman, fishing has to be your lifestyle. To maintain a healthy weight you can’t go on a diet and then resume your “normal” life. The thinner, healthier you is only going to appear, and then stick around, if you adopt a thinner, healthier lifestyle. That’s why we don’t push meal replacement systems at Kitsap Medical Weight Loss. Nobody is going to want to stay on powdered mixes for the rest of their life.
Thankfully, we don’t have to focus in the same areas. Healthy lifestyles are highly individualized. Not all fisherman are interested in the same type of fishing. For example, my dad’s never been anywhere near a fly rod. But if you find yourself trolling for weight loss, and you’re not getting results – tweak something. Consider changing depth, changing bait, or changing speed, but definitely change course. Mock mashed potatoes may never be your cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only alternative to starchy white.
People on the same diet and activity schedule can have vastly different weight results, just as people fishing in the same boat with the same bait won’t catch the same number or size of fish. But, your odds of success are going to increase sharply when you find the boat you want to be in. It’s hard to pay attention to the details if you’re miserable with your circumstances or if you’re somewhere rife with distractions.
The National Weight Control Registry has records on over 10,000 people in the United States who have lost significant weight and kept it off. The average person in their data has lost 66 pounds and maintained that loss for 5 1/2 years. Their losses have range from 30 to 300 pounds; some lost quickly and others took as long as 14 years. Whether they lost the weight on their own or on a program, almost all modified their food intake and increased their exercise level.
Multiple study’s show the people who are then able to maintain the weight loss, are the ones who maintain the consistency of the process that accomplished that loss in the first place. In other words; don’t go on a diet – CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE.
If after you hit a target weight (or lose any significant weight at all), you revert to the eating habits that put you in poor health to start with, you will relapse. You have to change some behaviors to lose the weight, and making those behavior changes permanent is the key to maintaining the new lower weight.
The studies also show that among those able to maintain weight loss, most are motivated by a major health scare or a desire to live longer. So, focusing on the health benefits of weight loss should be the focus, not just numbers on a scale. You can improve your health outcome tremendously by losing 10% of your total body weight. We had a successful fishing trip without limiting out. Likewise, someone who loses 10% of their body weight (but doesn’t hit their ideal weight) will notice improvement in their blood pressure, and their blood sugar control, which will lower the risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
My dad captained the boat better than the local pro because it was my dad’s lifestyle. The new location didn’t throw him. The rough weather (and boy did we have it!) didn’t throw him. His extreme age didn’t throw him. Sure, he wasn’t used to dealing with sea lions, but we landed more fish than most of the other boats because dad was in his element.
We’ve seen many of our patients do great the first month, only to have their progress slow way down in the second and third. I believe that’s because it’s hard to stay focused before you’ve really changed your lifestyle. At first, the novelty of the journey helps you pay attention to everything, but there’s so much to get used to that it’s easy to be overwhelmed and miss details that hold you back.
It took me about three months to feel like the old me as far as mood and energy level when we changed our eating lifestyle, and it was hard. I also remember my body had to change its’ “thermostat,” as I was always cold when I first lost weight. Now I run hot again, and following the eating plan is getting easier. A healthier eating pattern is my normal.
The wind and waves that are so hard to battle at first can become familiar foes, and you can develop your boat handling. And though the mountains and the eagles (ice cream and donuts) will always surround you, you’ll be able to focus on what’s really on the line.