I know a lot of people who want to lose weight but are stuck, just like I was for
They want to get healthy and fit, but can't seem to stick to a healthy eating or exercise routine. They start, and then fail, and then feel bad about it.
That was where I was too, for what seemed like an eternity. But I'm happy to report that it's possible to change. If I did it, anybody can!
One of my favorite yoga teachers years ago said that a little yoga done frequently was much better than a lot of yoga done occasionally.
He was right. What's true for yoga is true for getting healthy and losing weight.
We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once.
~ Calvin Coolidge
Begin by making one easy change in your health routine and stick with it until it's a habit. Don't step up too fast or too soon or you'll fall back.
The problem is that most of us try to change too many things all at once, get overwhelmed and wonder what went wrong.
Most of us want to skip ahead, but we're just not ready.
Just like when I decided to study Spanish recently using a clever little iPhone app. I tried to test out of the basic modules, thinking I was ready, but the app confirmed that I wasn't proficient enough 🙂
Trust me on this. Begin at Step 1, and advance slow and steady one step at a time. It's the best way to master the game of losing weight and getting healthy.
The Step by Step Approach to Weight Loss Success
Here's my step by step guide to eating healthy and losing weight.
Please, for goodness sake, don't make the mistake of skipping this step because it sounds too easy. This is where you gain your skills.
Do just two very easy things:
- Start walking just for a few minutes every day.
- Replace two sugared drinks with water.
The walking should be as simple as taking a 5-10 minute walk. It shouldn't hurt a bit. If it feels painful you are doing too much.
If you don't drink sugar sweetened drinks, just ADD two glasses of water. Water plays a key role in nearly every function of our bodies, including digestion, waste management, circulation and temperature control. And water fills you up making it easier to eat less.
Once you are able to do these things successfully for a week you are ready to move onward and upward to step 2.
Only attempt this step after you have had a streak of 7 days at step 1.
Do just two things:
- Extend your daily walk by just a few minutes. If you have been walking for 5 minutes, try walking for 10.
- Reduce your eating by a little bit. A very little bit.
The eating could just be as simple as putting a little less on your plate at dinner, skipping an afternoon snack or having one less soda a day. Make it almost unnoticeable. You'll slowly adjust to these new patterns of walking and eating. Do this successfully for at least one week before moving on.
If you've successfully been able to live at Step 2 for a week, you're ready to add step it up.
Do just two things:
- Walk a little more. If you have been walking for 10 minutes, try for 12 or 15. Or take two short walks instead of one.
- Eat a little less than you did in step two. Just a little less — not even really noticeable.
Slowly, you're adapting to this new way of being. Again, spend a week here before moving on.
If you've successfully been able to live at Step 3 for a week, you're ready to move to the next step.
Do just two things:
- Eat or drink less of something that provides no or limited nutritional value - less sugar, soda, beer, bread, booze, chips or sweets. Don't try to quit anything cold turkey, just eat less of it.
- Add a minute of faster walking to your walks. Just one or two intervals of walking at a pace that takes your heart rate up a little. For example, walk for 5 minutes at your regular pace, then speed it up for a minute, then back to your regular pace.
Slowly, you're adapting to this new way of being. Again, spend a week here before moving on. You are making progress.
By now you're getting the hang of this step by step approach. Basically, this is a repeat of last week with just one addition—add a vegetable to one of your meals. It would be great if it were green, but it doesn't have to be.
Continue this way for a few weeks, bumping things up little by little. Eat a little less, walk a little more and increase your vegetables.
Stay here until it seems easy!
Now that you understand how this step by step program works, you can continue to add your own steps, slowly making changes one or two at a time, until it's easy, and then do it again and again.
Keep things easy and achievable. Think baby steps.
Ideas for next steps to take:
- Add some hills or stairs to your walking routine
- Keep adding water until you are drinking at least six glasses a day
- Eat more veggies
- Replace your low fiber breakfast with high-fiber cereal
- Find a healthy breakfast you enjoy
- Replace your fries with a side salad
- Replace 30 minutes of tv-watching with extra sleep time
- Try a new recipe each week.
- Check out an exercise class
- Replace the fried chicken sandwich with grilled
- Have soup for lunch
- Eat more fish
- Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit
- Experiment with new spices
- Add whole grains
- Replace white bread with 100% whole wheat bread
- Go dancing
- Replace white rice with brown rice
- Pack your lunch instead of eating out
- Play tennis
- Replace chips with nuts
- Do a few pushups
- Add a little bit of running to your walks if you want
- Do a few yoga poses on some days
- Reduce empty carbs
- Eat less junk food
- Slowly eliminate fast food
When you slowly change your diet and exercise to include these steps, I can almost guarantee you'll get healthier and lose weight. If you are impatient, this approach might seem insane, but trust me, it's the smartest way to experience lasting change!
If you liked this article on the step-by-step approach to weight loss, you don't want to miss:
Source: inspired by a post I read on zenhabits
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