The other day I shared an article on Facebook that I really liked (Go like me on Facebook if you haven’t already). It was from Buzzfeed and had stories from people who had lost 50 or more pounds. I skimmed it quickly and liked the stories, so I shared it. I had a client ask me about it today so I went back and read it again. If you haven’t read it here it is:
The reason I like it so much is because of its simple message. Every one of the 10 stories has an underlying theme; starting. Every one of the people lost significant weight. Some of them had made attempts at losing weight before and for some this was their first attempt. The common thread was that they took the first step and stuck to it.
One that stuck out to me the most was number 3. Her advice was to set a small achievable goal. She started out walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes a couple times a week. She started walking for longer and longer and ended up losing 70 pounds in 14 months! Obviously she continued to increase the intensity of her workouts and the frequency, but the point is she started small. People tend to get bogged down in the harsh reality that they need to lose a significant amount of weight and they get scared or overwhelmed. You didn’t put on all the weight at once and you won’t take it all off at once either. However, you can start making progress by simply adding activity to your life. Start small and add to the intensity, duration, and frequency as you progress.
Another one that I liked a lot was number 6. She wrote a letter to her future self. I absolutely love this idea. At some point, you will lose sight of your goal or forget your motivation. Having a letter to remind you of why you started is a great tool to use. If you are going to try this you have to be brutally honest with yourself. Tell your future self how you feel about your current self. Talk about how your current health limits your ability to do the things you want to do. Lay it all out on the table for your future self. Then, I suggest you tell your future self how you imagine you will feel, the things you will be able to do that you can’t do now, and how your new found healthiness will affect your loved ones. Put your letter in an envelope, address it, and stick it on your fridge or on your mirror so you will see it every day and remember what you wrote. When you fall off the wagon or need motivation, and you will, read it and see how you’ve changed. If need be, write a response and a new letter to yourself and continue along your journey with renewed motivation and drive.
Number 7 got a grin out of me too. How simple of a start is just giving up dessert? I know that food can be addictive, especially the types of foods we typically eat for dessert. If you’re able though, giving up something you like is a great starting sacrifice. Most people who don’t eat well know that but the thought of changing your diet can be daunting. Cravings can be tough to deal with and can lead to stress. People try to eliminate all the foods they shouldn’t eat at once. The cravings can get overwhelming and can cause dieters to quit their diets. However, starting small and starting slow can help you build a foundation for future success. You cut out dessert, something you know isn’t good for you, and it becomes second nature to turn down dessert or not order it. Once that habit has been established, you can move on to the next one.
The article has some great advice in it and I highly recommend you read it if you are thinking about significant weight loss or are struggling to find success. I also think it is important to dream big and set large, seemingly unattainable goals. Know that achieving those goals will take time. As your journey continues remember to celebrate your successes and look back on where you have come from. Sometimes just remembering the former struggles can provide the motivational boost you need to get over your next obstacle. Success in weight loss is a result of compounding efforts over time. Be better today than yesterday and success will surely find you.