It's January and people all over the US are hitting the gym and changing how they eat. According to experts (on some random website I found by using Google, so you totally know it's accurate...right??? Ha ha), 40-45% of American adults make one or more resolutions each year. Apparently 75% of those people are still sticking with it after one week.
Well, we're almost to the one week mark, so I hope you're sticking with it!
Here's what I want to say about those health related resolutions. You don't have to completely flip-flop your lifestyle to succeed. In fact, I really believe that making SMALL changes gradually will facilitate success more so than making many large changes at once.
I didn't make huge changes. But I got big results in the end. At first, my goal was a small one. At 265 pounds my first number-related goal was to "get into the 250's". I'm a big dreamer like that! BUT, hitting 259, which on most occasions would not be a huge accomplishment, was in fact a big deal for me. I had succeeded. I had done what I set out to do. And just that small victory made me ready for more...ready to move that number a bit lower.
So I set my next goal as "get into the 240's". This time it's a longer stretch because we're talking 10 pounds...but as the scale inched downward I could see that finish line within reach. And that kept me going.
In addition to setting the "number" goal low, I started making changes to facilitate that change, but I didn't implement them all at once. I sat down and made a list of my really bad, unhealthy habits. The list probably looked something like this:
1. Eat fast food too often
2. Little (or no) exercise
3. Eat too much processed food
4. Drink too much
5. Don't eat enough fruits and vegetables
6. I make the "healthy" food unhealthy by pouring dressing/gravy/sauce on it.
I'm sure there were other things, but those are the ones that come to mind first. Now, you might look at this list and think "Well, that's easy enough...just change those", but if I would have changed all of those things immediately, our life would've drastically changed. And I KNOW that I would've gotten sick of that crap and quit.
So I changed SLOWLY. Obviously I changed the exercise issue first. But, I didn't go from completely sedentary to gym rat. I started small and worked out a few days per week. I gradually added time and days until I was working out almost daily. Some nights (and I'm ABSOLUTELY NOT bullshitting you here) I would walk from my driveway up about 4 houses BACK AND FORTH about 100 times until I hit my target calorie burn. Also, I have been found going up and down the stairs to our basement in order to burn a few more calories.
Those things might seem crazy, and a bit extreme, but for me, that's what I HAD to do! I knew the numbers would not lie, so if I had eaten my target calorie intake then I absolutely had to hit the target calorie burn.
I rarely ate out at first. I was a bit psycho about it and my family really got a bit irritated. But, finally I got online and researched WHERE and WHAT and HOW MANY calories I'd get and stuck to it. Having a plan walking in a restaurant was a very powerful thing for me. It made me see that I did not have to give up eating at a restaurant, I just had to be prepared.
Fast food was a tough one because we're on the go a lot and my kids enjoy going to McDonald's every now and then. I can only convince these people to eat so much Subway! So, grilled snack wraps with no sauce or the grilled southwest salad became my fall-back plan. When I HAD to go there I knew I could get something and I knew how many calories I'd be "spending" on that.
So, as you proceed through the end of this pivotal first week, evaluate what you're doing and what you want to get out of it. If you're looking for a long-term fix, perhaps going slower NOW will actually benefit you in the long run. Make a list of your bad habits. Vow to change those, one-at-a-time and even write out a plan for changing them or at the very least, adapting them to fit into a healthier lifestyle.
And, finally, before closing this post, I do want to give you one last tip. Take a picture. Now. I know it sucks and I know you don't want to see it, but take a picture. I wish that I had taken a photo before I started. I have some but not exactly what I want. I generally hid from a camera before or made sure I was strategically positioned for minimal unflattering glimpses! Take a picture and then just put it on your computer and save it. At the end of the year, or 50 pounds from now, or whatever...you will be glad that you have something that you can SEE the difference. You'll feel better and look better, but there is something amazing about seeing the side-by-side comparison. If I could go back in time I'd take a Biggest Loser type photo...sports bra and workout shorts....fat rolls hanging all over the damned place and looking like hell. I still have fat rolls, but I'd love to see the side-by-side comparison.
Good luck as you proceed into the great beyond of the first week. A whopping 71% of you will still be with it after the 2nd week...and after a month, 64% of you will still be plugging away. The more specific you are about the resolution the more likely you are to achieve the goal, so write down a "best case scenario". I think you'll be surprised how much farther you can actually go...stick with it and let me know if you have any questions!