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“The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.”
You have just started a new weight loss plan! That is always exciting, and maybe a little daunting, but you are full of enthusiasm.
You went to CostCo bought drums of protein powder to refuel post-workout, as well as new shoes and a new yoga matt (okay, your first yoga matt). You bought a membership at an “Anytime Fitness Center” so you can exercise either before or after work. You saw some secret supplements on Dr. Oz that are guaranteed to boost your metabolism and burn fat, so you bought a monthly subscription for delivery. Amazon will deliver the exercise bike that is wifi-linked to Alexa. You found some excellent recipes on Pinterest, and bought a 50-pack storage container set for all the food prep and home-cooking that you will do. And you bought Premium LoseIt.
And for a few days, you actually follow your plan.
Then, on day four, you wake up late and skip the gym. You can’t go on your way home because you need to pick up the kids. You think protein powder tastes terrible. You were the only student in the yoga class, so the class was canceled. The supplements gave you heartburn and diarrhea, and Alexa yells at you because you are using your bike as an auxiliary closet. Cooking in real life is not like Food Network, and you needed to take the battery out of the smoke alarm. The kids—and your spouse—won’t eat the crappy low-calorie foods you make anyway. You don’t like logging all the food—who can remember everything?
Don’t do what I just described. Don’t try to change everything in your life. Weight management is a lifelong process. I don’t care what event is on your calendar, trying to tackle weight loss from every possible angle will not work.
Take a single step. Do one thing that is new on your weight loss journey. The first thing morning, the day of your “first step” weigh yourself. Write that number down. Now ignore the bathroom scale. Set a reasonable budget (for most, that will be 1 pound a week.) Eat those calories. Log the food. That’s it. Develop a new skill set—measure and log all your food. Do that for a month. Don’t worry about “special diet foods”. Make the food everyone loves, just make certain you portion your plates correctly and log it all. Do that for a full 30 days.
On day 31, weigh yourself again. Compare this number to the first number. You probably lost weight. Maybe you lost three pounds. Maybe six or more. That doesn’t really matter. What matters is you’ve taken the first step.
Now, take your next step. Find an activity you enjoy. Do it. Keep eating the foods you love, and logging everything you eat, but don’t eat your exercise calories. Whichever activity you’ve chosen, try to gradually increase your workouts, but only as possible and tolerated. Do that for 30 days.
On the next “day 31”, weigh yourself. You probably lost three to six pounds. You finished step two.
Now you will either reduce or eliminate one food, or make one other food change. Maybe stop drinking diet soda. Maybe drink more water. Maybe you want to stop eating foods with added sugar. Pick one food change. Focus on that new change (while continuing to log your food, good portion control, and increased activity) for 30 days.
On the next “day 31”, weigh yourself.
By now, you understand my plan. One change for 30 days, then a new change every 30 days. And you only weigh yourself the day of a new change. That concept is the most significant part of this. By making a single change and then measuring at set intervals, you can determine if the change you made had the effect you wanted. If you eliminated added sugar and that month only lost 1 pound, maybe that change isn’t worth the effort. But you cannot know if you change everything at once.
Will you lose weight as fast as the Biggest Loser? No, but as I said in part nine, the speed of loss is unimportant. Continued loss, or continued maintenance, is the goal of this entire journey.
Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com
Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. Follow his Facebook page to learn how to better use social media. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!
All images are Creative Common Zero