Do you know who Roger Bannister was? He was the first person to break the four-minute mile. Before him, no one thought it was possible, scientists claimed that the heart would literally explode at that pace and therefore was an irrefutable impossibility. But Roger didn't buy into that and ran the first sub-four minute mile ever recorded. And as if an impenetrable barrier had been broken, nine other runners also ran sub-four minute miles that same year.
My youngest brother Jon was the Roger Banister of our family, but not for his running ability, rather his ability to not run, or rather his ability to not move at all that earned him a place in our family record books.
You see, like many of you, I grew up in a house where we had to finish everything on our plate before we could leave the table. It didn't matter how much we didn't like it, or how full we were. And any protest was smothered by the time-tested parental favorite... "You should be grateful, there are children starving in china, Africa," or whatever other impoverished third world country came to mind.
And protest as I might, both my parents and I knew that I would break sooner rather than later. I simply wasn't strong enough to sit there in defiance for longer than five minutes knowing that it was only delaying the inevitable. Nor was I willing to risk further punishment of not getting dessert, being able to go outside to play, or worst of all having to miss my favorite show. (the Dukes of Hazard if there was any question at all)
And so after a short period I gave up the fight completely, resolved that I had to play by their rules and would simply have to wait it out, only 1,635 more days till I was 18. But then came along my brother, Jon. Sure, there were urban legends of a child who would be born among our midst, a child who would look like us, but would be able to do things, things that the rest of us couldn't. And he would be the one that would set us free, never again having to eat more than we wanted, or having to explain how we still had room for dessert.
The youngest of three, he was maybe 10 when his time had come. It started in the typical fashion, Jon claiming he was full, followed by the standard threat, "you're not leaving the table until you eat everything on your plate." And then it happened ... he stayed at the table.
At first it was no big deal, it wasn't like I hadn't tried that technique in the beginning also, but come on, after five or six minutes I wasn't sure which I hated more, eating the cold portion of beans and carrots on my plate or the thought of having to sit still for one more minute. And so when Jon said fine, he'd stay at the table, I gave him five, maybe 10 minutes on the outside since it was his first time and everyone's fight is a little stronger the first time out. Ten minutes came and went, 15, a half hour, then an hour, then two hours, then three and it was bed time. Truth be told we had kind of forgot about him and when we came back into the kitchen there he was, fast asleep right there at the table. His unfinished plate of food next to him, my parents in their shock, didn't know what to do and had to carry him to bed. I was in awe at this little warrior, and I'll never forget as I watched my dad lit him from his chair, even though he was fast asleep, I swear I could see the slightest hint of a smile on my brothers face. He was exhausted, but he had won.
And it wouldn't be his last victory. For the next several weeks the same situation repeated itself several times. My brother proclaiming he was finished eating, my parents throwing their weight around, determined to have their rules followed and my brother spending hours at the table, ultimately falling asleep, unfinished plate of food at his side.
And little by little he wore my parents down until it happened. One day my parents simply withdrew from their occupation of the clean plate mandate. And because of my brother's interminable resolve we all benefited from not having to eat more than we wanted. Another example of what one person, in this case a boy of no more than 10, can do with enough determination and willpower.
It was just like the British leaving India after Gandhi's years of protest. Both standing for what they believed in, trusting that they had justice on their side and that there was an effective non-violent way to protest that was infinitely more effective in the long run than fighting force with force. Okay, it wasn't exactly the same, but you get point.
And the moral is this...Most of us are actually full long before we stop eating. And by simply listening to our body and stopping when we are full, we would shed pounds faster than any diet currently out there. And we would keep it off. In the Innergizer program we teach a lot about listening to your body, especially when it comes to the amount of food we eat.
For more tips on how to easily improve your health and nutrition by listening to your body, and to here more stories of my fearless brother please visit www.completebalance.com
Be the change you wish to see in the world,
The Baietto Brothers.
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