As someone who has tried to lose weight more times than I can count, my past pitfalls always seem to include the same pattern—taking on too much, too quickly.
When you’re ready to start making healthy changes to your life, you’re excited! You’re sitting at the healthy habits poker table, pushing all your chips to the centre, screaming “I’m all in!” And you should be excited, because you’re ready to make some really positive changes. There are so many points of view these days on what it takes to be healthy—don’t consume sugar, don’t eat past 8:00pm, exercise in the morning, eat organic, and on and on and on—it’s exhausting! Trying to digest it all (pun intended!) can be overwhelming.
I’m still very much in the beginning stages of trying to lose weight and become healthier. Many days I struggle, and I often have to remind myself to slow down. At the very beginning, I was anxious to get started, so I changed everything! I wrote out a whole meal plan, filling it with all the foods that I thought I should be eating (whether I liked them or not) and leaving out all the foods that I thought I shouldn’t be eating (whether I wanted to or not) and I created an fitness schedule, filling every spare moment I had with some type of exercise. I drank eight glasses of water a day, I took my vitamins, I went to bed at 9:00pm each night so I could get the requisite eight hours of sleep. I was all in. Needless to say, I crashed and burned within the first few days. I was so angry with myself and depressed that I couldn’t get myself to do this. Why couldn’t I stick with a plan?
Fortunately, a friend of mine was quick to remind me that it wasn’t that I couldn’t stick with a plan, I was just taking on too much, too fast. By trying to make so many changes all at once, I had managed to set myself up to fail. When I looked back at all the other times (the many, many, many times) I had tried lose weight, it was the same theme each time. I overloaded myself with changes and when I couldn’t make them all work, I quit. So I picked myself up and started again, but this time I made a promise to slow down and enjoy the ride. A few of the healthy habits I can now proudly say that I practice on a regular basis include not drinking soda, drinking more water, and eating breakfast every day. I also eat more vegetables than I ever have before, and have a new found fondness for asparagus.
So my best advice for those just starting out…change just one thing. Try it out for a week, maybe two. Then change something else. Fast might get you there quicker, but slow and steady wins the race my friends.