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The Little Things

     We want to lose weight now and lots of it.  We are disappointed if we only lose 8 pounds in a month.  We go for any program that promises big and fast weight loss.  We will fall for a diet that eliminates a macronutrient if we can eat all we want of another.  We are lured and enticed by big things, big changes, and big results.
     Unfortunately,  the magic of getting lean and fit comes with attention to the little things.  Doing the little things day in and day out are what gets the job done.  Can we lose a lot of weight quickly, yes.  Can we make major changes in our life, yes.  Can we turn our entire life around, yes.  When we do amazing things, it is usually because we paid attention to the little things.
     What are the little things?  There are lots of them, but each of our problems in struggling with beating our fat genetics comes from not paying attention to just a couple or a few of the little things.  It's rare that we must change our entire life and lifestyle to achieve a healthy weight.  It just seems like we must make severe and dramatic changes to our daily life and habits to conquer this disorder.
     The little things include:
Eating within the first hour of the day
Eating smaller portions at each feeding
Eating healthy lower calorie snacks throughout the day
Saying no to fast foods most of the time
Doing some form of physical activity above and beyond our usual activity
Getting a full night's sleep
Eating vegetables as a routine
Avoiding fried foods
Avoiding night time eating
Drinking water throughout the day
Avoiding calories in beverages
Logging and writing down our daily plan and results
Setting meaningful goals
Taking personal responsibility
Getting a checkup and testing to evaluate initial health status
Getting a coach or accountability partner
Evaluating and eliminating stressors in our life
Creating positive self-talk
Being prepared
Getting help and seeing a weight loss Dr. if struggling
Giving up being a perfectionist or control freak
Being kind to ourselves
     This list includes nothing that is too hard to focus on and attempt to take charge of.   Not all of them need to be done as some sort of a to-do list.  Take a look at the list and decide where you may have issues.  Focus on that particular small item and begin to work through it one day at a time.  Over time that little thing that has been holding you back can be overcome and a new habit created.
     If I eat a large piece of birthday cake tonight, it will not shorten my life.  If I eat cake every night, it will eventually cause health issues and can contribute to obesity and a shorter life.  If I take a walk today, it will not save my life , but if I do it everyday and get better at it over time, it will create a stronger and leaner body and add years to my life.  It's the positive little things done over and over that give us the edge in accomplishing what it is we really want.
      The number of people that make dramatic changes and severe adjustments to attempt weight loss is huge and the number that give up on their quest is also huge.  We will all find success in the little adjustments we make and maintain over time. We tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in a month, but far underestimate what we can accomplish in a year.
     This time next year no matter what the world throws at us, we can have the body of our dreams.  It will certainly not happen in a day or week, but over 52 weeks of persistent focus on a few of the little things, you and all of your circle of people will be in awe of your accomplishment.
     I know this because every day in my office I sit with individuals who have done this.  The 75 year old man who has lost 132 pounds because he could hardly walk and now is moving around better than he has in years.  The 38 year old young woman who has lost 40 pounds and looks like a model out of a magazine and is loving every minute of it.  The 58 year old woman who has conquered the negative effects of menopause and now feels younger than she did when she was 35.
     None of these individuals made dramatic and difficult changes in their lives.   They each paid attention to and focused on a few of the little things on the list and worked on them until they became second nature day after day after day.  They now continue the habits without giving it much thought.
     We tend to give up too early on what we say we want.  Usually we do this because we make it too hard.  No one wants to do hard.  We want to do simple.  Changing the little things to reduce body weight and keeping at it certainly is work, but over time it becomes routine.  Eating small snack meals 4-5 times a day can become an easy habit.  Taking a daily walk can become an easy habit.  Going to bed on time can be an easy habit.
     Assignment this week:   Review the list of simple things.  Add any you think may be specific for you.  Choose at least one and no more than 3 and get started making these simple changes day in and day out. If you miss a day, don't quit.  Figure out what went wrong and why you were not able to complete the task.  Was it truly out of your control or was it an excuse that got in the way.  Be honest and be diligent.  Make sure the little thing gets done tomorrow.  Keep a log or list and check off when you do the task.
     What is worth doing is not always easy, but the results will be satisfying.  These new good habits formed by changing the little things will become easy to live with.  Your new body will be easy to live with.  You can adjust the little things in your life to benefit you and create the life and body you want.  Now,  Go Live Lean, Live Long, and Live Life to the Fullest. 

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