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The Warmer, Colder Game – A Wellness Strategy for 2020.

Do you remember that game you used to play as a child called You’re Getting Warmer, You’re Getting Colder?  Or perhaps you knew this activity as something called the Hot or Cold game.  Anyway, as you may recall, the premise of this child’s game is that someone hides something and then you search for it.  And, while you’re looking, they help you find it by telling you if you’re getting closer to the object or farther away.  As you may remember, they do this by using phrases like you’re getting warmer, you’re getting hot and you’re burning up as you’re nearing the object.  On the other hand, they would let you know when you were going in the wrong direction as well with phrases like you’re getting cool, you’re getting colder and you’re freezing.

With that child’s game as our reference point today, let me ask you to consider the following question.  When it comes to losing weight and living the healthy life that you dream about, are you getting hotter or colder in your pursuit?  Since we are at the beginning of a new year, I think it’s the perfect time for those of you in search of weight loss and healthy living to do a little honest soul searching and determine which direction you are currently traveling.  Because the direction you are currently going will dictate the destination you eventually arrive at when you reach the end of 2020.  So, if you’re getting colder regarding your desire for weight loss, perhaps today is the perfect day to make a course adjustment.

I started thinking about this search for healthy change while rummaging through some old files in my office.  I ran across a story in one of my files that I used to use as an introduction to many of the speeches and workshops that I used to give regarding creating healthy change in your life.  Even if you’ve heard a version of this story before, it’s definitely worth another look because it makes a great point about how to go about finding what you want in life by looking in the right direction.  With that said, let me share an abbreviated version of this story with you.

Steve, returning home very late from a long business trip one evening, finally turns down his street and approaches his home.  As he begins to make the turn into his driveway, he notices his neighbor Bob out by the curb crawling around under the streetlight on his hands and knees. Well, being the friendly, helpful and neighborly type of guy that he is, Steve parks his car and walks over to see what his neighbor is up to.


He says “Excuse me Bob, but I couldn\’t help but notice you on your hands and knees out here by the road crawling around under this streetlight.  I thought that maybe you had lost something and that I could help you find it”.  Bob looks up and says, “Thank you so much Steve. I’ve lost the keys to my house and I can’t get in without them. I’ve been out here for a couple of hours now and I just can’t seem to locate them so I would greatly appreciate your help”.


Steve then says “Well show me about where you dropped them and I’ll get down on my hands and knees and help you search”.  Bob replies “I dropped them in the bushes up by the front door”.  Well Steve scratches his head, gets this puzzled look on his face and says inquisitively, “Now Bob, if you dropped your keys in the bushes up there by the front door, why in the world are you out here under the streetlight looking for them?”  And Bob says, straight faced and without a moment’s hesitation, “Because the light is so much better out here”. 


I can practically hear you all groaning right nowPlease know, however, that it’s not a laugh I’m looking for here and I don’t tell this story because it’s belly busting hilarious.  I tell it because it demonstrates, in a rather humorous way, a very important point.  A point that I learned from my own life experience as well as from many years of doing psychotherapy with people.

That point is this – when trying to create change, looking for the answer where the light is good is what most people do most of the time.  However, the truth is that the most helpful, meaningful and life-altering answers are usually found back in the bushes where they are a little harder to get at and the light isn’t as good – if you follow the analogy.  In the terms of the Hot Or Cold game that I mentioned earlier, Bob was freezing cold and was never going to find his keys looking under that streetlight.

The same analogy can be drawn regarding your desire for weight loss in the New Year.  The key to making that happen in 2020 lies within YOU.  It’s time to stop looking for that perfect diet, the ideal time or waiting for some magical remedy that will somehow transform you because you will never find the weight loss and healthy life that you seek by looking for the solution outside yourself.  The key to healthy living and successful, long-term weight loss is truly an inside job that must come from within you.  Losing weight and creating a healthier life takes a laser focused and unrelenting effort on your part.  It demands that you dig deeply into yourself and create the mindset that finds failure simply unacceptable.  It demands that you love yourself and desire the goal enough to walk the walk even when you don’t feel like it.

So, with that said, let me leave you with this question.  Will this be another year of looking where the light is good and, as a result, letting the pathway to healthier living grow colder?  Or is this going to be the year that you step away from the comfort and security of what you’ve always known and feel the warm glow of progress?

Wishing you Great Health,

Dr. John H. Sklare

The Inner Diet

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