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For those older people like me, you most likely remember NFL football when the goal posts were actually situated on the goal line. This was kind of ridiculous, as their presence interfered/obstructed with plays that took place in and around that part of the field.  Then in 1974 to improve player safety and make it more difficult to opt for a field goals, the posts were moved 10 yards back to the end of the end zone.  This, of course, made the making of field goals more difficult, as a successful kick would be 10 more yards than the past requirements.

The expression, “moving the goals posts”  has taken on a much broader meaning than referring to football.  The statement implies that when we are challenged in a certain task, as we get closer to that task, a further difficulty factor is added.  Most recently, this expression has been often used when discussing the Covid-19 lock down.  We were first told that the lockdown would be through April, then schools/restuarants/”non-essential” businesses would open and then as we got closer to the middle of the month, the lock down was extended until the end of May and then this turned into June in some areas.

The “moving the goal posts” concept is VERY frustrating to people as when we work hard at something with a successful end in sight, it becomes incredibly disappointing to learn that we now must keep toiling at that very difficult task for a longer period of time.  Just when we think our ordeal is over, we then learn:  “Nope..sorry…keep working at it”.

Let’s explore this concept in the weight control arena:  The “goal post” in this example is the total weight loss that is desired. We work very hard to avoid the carbs, limit the alcohol, eat lots of protein and find time to exercise.  Then, as we get close to our “goal”, we learn that to keep that weight off, we must continue to work hard at the same concepts.   Basically, there is no “the field goal is GOOD!!!” and then play stops.  We must continue to play, as there is no goal line or field goal to kick.

BUT, let’s look at this in the positive way:  The markedly improved health and happiness that accompanies long-term weight control is well worth “staying on the field”.   Kicking the field goal/scoring the touchdown ( meeting your weight loss goal) and then celebrating and coming off the field (putting the weight back on) brings nothing more than lost money, time and effort.

So, Posner is not moving the goal posts on you in describing the need to remain vigilant in your new-found eating/exercise behaviors.  I am encouraging the mind-set to keep you playing (with your children, grandchildren and friends) for many more years to come.