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On the Lighter Side

How to Win by Losing: Baseball vs. Dieting


By Linda Trainor, RN, BSN

"Someone once asked me if I ever went up to the plate trying to hit a home run. Sure, every time!" Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle once said.illustration of a slender Bradley the dog in his baseball uniform, from the book Bradley the Dog Who Couldn't Stop Eating (written by Linda Trainor, illustrations by John Ewing, copyright 2009)

Mickey's words are important when it comes to baseball because if you don't step up to the plate thinking about success, then you can easily be taken down by failure. 

The interesting connection between baseball and weight loss is that the odds of failing to hit the ball and the odds of losing weight through dieting can both be overwhelming.

Consider this tip from Babe Ruth: "Never let the fear of striking out get in your way."

The same sentiment is true for losing weight. No matter how many times you may have failed in the past, do not let the fear of failure paralyze you from stepping up to the plate to reach your weight loss goals.

As noted by the sweet swinging Ted Williams: “I think the hardest single thing to do in a sport is to hit a baseball. A .300 hitter goes through life with the certainty that he will fail at his job seven out of 10 times.”

Successful sluggers like Big Papi repeatedly go to bat with success in mind, despite knowing that they will strike out sometimes. But that doesn’t stop them from believing that they can knock the ball out of the park every time.

page from All baseball greats have gone through slumps. Fans have booed them. But failures like hitless streaks, strikeouts and opponents don't affect them. Players keep the same mindset, going up to bat again and again, swinging for the fences and improving their batting average, ultimately finding success.

Like any great baseball player, you too may be experiencing a slump from the curve balls thrown at you in life — those unexpected stressors tossed with or without the intention of striking you out. Family and friends may be foes or fans. Don’t let any of these factors affect you as you trot around the bases toward your goals.

Play hard ball: if you don’t go for it, you will never achieve it. Coach yourself with a “can do” attitude. And practice, practice, practice: visualize success every time you pick up your fork and step up to your own personal plate. Soon, you will find that the odds of shrinking your waistline are in your favor.

When it comes to your health and well-being, remember that it’s all about YOU. So don’t be afraid to swing for success and hit that healthy home run!

Illustrations by John Ewing from the book Bradley The Dog Who Couldn't Stop Eating by Linda Trainor ©2009

Above content provided for your entertainment by the Weight Loss Surgery Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

Summer 2016