How to Lose Weight, Get Nominated for an Oscar and Beat the Oregon Trail

So I was organizing my meals for next week and I got to thinking: Getting in shape is like living in that Christopher Nolan movie, Memento, or getting stuck somewhere on the Oregon Trail

They’re both just as random, so pick your favorite metaphor!

I was going to warn you that the Memento route might be a little dangerous, but anybody who’s ever had a friend die of a broken leg (why didn’t we question these things more when we were younger?!) knows that navigating the wilderness in a covered wagon ain’t no walk in the park either:

broken leg oregon trail

(By the way: if you’re super lost, we’re talking about a movie where the main character suffers from short-term memory loss and the whole reason computers were invented an old-school video game from the ’90s.)

So pick your poison, but keep one of these concepts in mind:

memento poster

In Memento, the main character is constantly having to write notes to remind himself of stuff he already knows. (Granted, he does it with tattoos, which is a little extreme…) But the same idea would be really helpful when trying to get in shape! Think about it: we all set out super excited, with our grocery lists of healthy foods and workout DVD’s and planners with color-coded cardio drills (…maybe that last part’s just me?) and then, somewhere in the middle – usually about three weeks in – we start to get all foggy. Ice cream seems really important, getting up at 5:30am to run seems a little too extreme and we start to question all of the frameworks we put into place to help ourselves get healthy! Wouldn’t it be great, around that three-week mark, if we had a tattoo (or at least a sticky note?) that said, “You’ve been here before. You ate that brownie, you missed your workout and you ended up having no energy. Eat an apple instead!!”

It’s like we all start out with the best of intentions, but somewhere along the way we just get lost…

If only we had some historically accurate landmarks…

Anyone who has ever braved the Oregon Trail knows the importance of trading posts and forts. Sure, it’s great to pick up a few extra oxen, but more importantly: catching sight of one of these familiar landmarks is like winning a huge psychological victory! You’re getting closer! You might just make it before computer class is over!

oregon trail fort

(If you’ve never played and think this game sounds really hardcore, you’re right.)

So what should we do? Well, that tattoo movie got nominated for an Oscar, so we know there’s some good ideas there… And the Oregon Trail taught me about 75% of everything I ever learned in elementary school… So I’m saying we merge the two and see what happens!

New plan:

Instead of setting ourselves up for failure, let’s set ourselves up for the possibility that three weeks from now we won’t be able to trust our own judgement and we might start systematically sabotaging ourselves by abandoning workouts and caving into sugar cravings. Let’s write a couple notes to our future-selves (maybe directly on our calendars? or attached to that hidden box of candy?) so that in a moment of weakness we don’t start undoing everything we’ve worked so hard to get done!

And instead of preparing enough food to last us through a ten-day cleanse, let’s start packing like we’re crossing the Oregon Trail. (See how everything’s starting to come together?) Let’s plan for everything we’re going to need (that includes time – so make a schedule!) and let’s set up some benchmarks so we have a few trading posts and forts to look forward to. (Trading posts… malls… forts… spas… I’m pretty sure we can all work out a few modern translations!)

Don’t forget you’ve been here before!

So next time you find yourself falling off the wagon (LOL!! I swear I didn’t plan that – it’s like the two analogies actually¬†wanted to become one!), remind yourself that you’ve been here before. Think of what your future-self would say and divert your attention to your oxen that are wandering off¬†some fun landmarks you have planned down the road – maybe a spa day after finishing your first 5K? (Just make sure you don’t line your trail with food rewards… this isn’t Hansel and Gretel. We’ve got about as many metaphors as we can handle.)

Stay focused and trust the you that decided to get healthy. The you that doesn’t feel like doing it anymore is just a trick. Check your tattoos notes and watch your wagon. You’ll get there in the end, don’t worry! ;)

oregon trail congratulations

Anybody else have any motivation tricks? Oregon Trail stories? Just want to talk about Memento or the Oscars? lol :)


  1. says

    Boy oh boy did this one hit home!! I really like those ideas! Can you put in your phone now “Text Bella in three weeks to tell her not to ruin her 10 day cleanse”. Hmm maybe you should also call me in a few days to see if I broke down and threw away the candy cabinet because after this post I think that’s what I need to do

  2. says

    I LOVED this post. Maybe it was because you had so many great analogies (and puns) but also because you had some great advice. I think I need a big note on my desk at work to keep me motivated to reach my weight loss goal.

    • says

      You just gave me a really great idea! :) ..I’m still working on getting the website re-designed (should be all finished in a couple days!) but I’m going to try to put something together and post it in the next article ;) hehe

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