Keywords for Healthy Living Begin with Control 

Russell Rawlings

North Carolina Bar Association


If anyone ever asked me what is the most important word when it comes to losing weight or keeping it off, that would be my answer: control.

Several other words come to mind, including determination, dedication, willpower, fear, exercise, faith, perseverance and patience. Experience has taught me the importance of simply hanging in there and never giving up, even on days when you have given in.

But at the end of the day, control is the key. Control is the thing that I didn’t have before I lost weight many years ago, it is the thing that has been missing whenever the pounds have crept back on, and it’s the thing that must be rediscovered in order to get back on track.

Several colleagues at the North Carolina Bar Association have done a phenomenal job over the past year in losing weight. I am so proud of them for taking control of their lives through smarter choices and a sustained commitment to achieving a healthier, happier lifestyle. Their success is not only inspiring, it’s contagious.

Although each has followed a different path, in every instance control has been a significant factor. They have taken control of what they eat and what they don’t eat. They plan ahead, they pick their spots, and they have stayed the course over the past several months and longer.

 They’ve owned it.

 Backsliding comes with the territory. I recall telling someone years ago that if I didn’t mess up, I’d weigh zero. That is, of course, an exaggeration, but the point is that no matter how much control we have, we’re still human. We’re still subject to the influences of stress, fatigue, adversity and any assortment of situations that arise through the execution of our daily lives.

 Somedays our brakes just don’t work. That’s OK.

What is important is to learn to look forward and not back. What’s done is done. Whether yesterday was the best or worst day of your life, you’re not going to relive it. The only day over which we have any influence is today, and what we do with it will in turn influence tomorrow.

I like to look at this situation in terms of 15s. That is, whatever bite I’m about to take, it’s going to take me about 15 seconds to finish it. But how is that going to make me feel 15 minutes from now? Happy or sad? Satisfied or depressed? And what about 15 days from now, or even 15 years?

So no matter where your backsliding takes you, keep pumping the brakes.

Starting out or starting over, losing weight can be a miraculous journey. The transformation, no matter how great or small, can make a lifelong impact on the way you look and feel and live.

Lessons learned along the way will stick with you for the rest of your life. They don’t define you, but they do define what you are capable of doing when you put your heart and mind and soul into it. The benefits are immeasurable.

 All it takes is everything, from believing in yourself to believing in the process. It takes determination, dedication, willpower, fear, exercise, faith, perseverance and patience.

 And control.

 Cherish it, respect it, and never take it for granted.