Outsmart the Monkey

There is a story about how to catch a monkey. It involves hiding something the monkey wants in a coconut shell that has a hole just large enough for the monkey to reach in with an open hand. But once it closes its fingers around the item its fist is now too large to remove from the coconut. The poor monkey can easily remove its hand by simply letting go of the object, but it refuses to let go. At that moment you pounce and capture the monkey!

I am not sure about how authentic or realistic this story is. However, a more plausible example of this idea did take place on the television show, The Simpsons, that involved Homer being able to reach into a vending machine and grab on to a can only to have his hand trapped inside until rescue workers realize that Homer’s hand was stuck because he also refused to let go of the can! (He actually did this twice!)

We can definitely laugh at Homer. What we don’t realize is that we are often guilty of refusing to let go of things that can keep us trapped and unable to reach our goals too.

We want to eat healthier, but we don’t like to eat vegetables.

We want to lose weight, but we don’t want to stop eating the foods that got us to be overweight in the first place. Or maybe we don’t want to actually track our food intake in order to accurately measure what we are eating.

We want to improve our fitness, but we don’t want to put in the effort or investment to learn how to actually do it right.

We want “firm and toned” muscles, but we hold onto the mistaken idea that barbell training will make us bulky.

We start to exercise, but think a couple times per week is enough to offset a poor diet of too many calories.

Even refusing to start taking any kind of action because we can’t do it perfectly right away works to keep us trapped and stuck where we are!

What are you holding on to and refusing to let go?

If we are at a point that we want to make a change in our lives we should accept that our current behaviors and priorities are a big part of what got us there in the first place. We also need to accept that we may have to let go of the thoughts and actions that are keeping us trapped. What have you got to lose by trying, anyway, except the very things you hope to change?

Vegetables should make up the majority of our plate because they are fiber and nutrient rich. If you are an adult, how will you convince kids to eat veggies because they are healthy if you don’t?

Losing weight will probably require that you stop eating certain foods or limit them considerably. And making the right dietary changes requires that we have an accurate accounting of what we are actually eating. Can we lose weight without logging our food? Sure, but odds are it won’t be as successful if we are not willing to track our food.

If you don’t know what to do to get in shape, ask a professional. This will save you much more in the long run. You will more likely follow through because what costs little is little esteemed.

Building muscle is actually the way to make “firm and toned” muscle. The barbell is a great way to do this. If getting bulky were easy, every high-testosterone teenage boy would look like The Rock. But it takes many hours of dedicated training to achieve that and the bulking has more to do with our diet anyway.

Our bodies were meant to be physically active and challenged more than once or twice a week. While you do not need to train hard for several hours every day, we do see considerable difference between someone who works out 3 or 4 times versus twice per week.

Most of us will never need a strategy to catch a monkey. But we can all learn from Homer. If a coach suggests something for you to do or try, are you resistant to the change? Ask yourself what you might be holding on to and refusing to let go. Is it really worth letting it keep you trapped in a place you don’t want to be?

If you are not sure what your first step should be, schedule a FREE No-Sweat Intro with a coach or sign up for our newsletter to learn more about how we can help!


So, what’s in your coconut?


Yours in Strength,

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