Have you ever heard the phrase “chip away at it”? There are so many things this can be attributed to, it’s hard to make a big change without affecting other things, and when you think about it logically it’s really all the little things that make the big picture.
So I lost 40+kgs a few years ago (over approximately two years), and when people ask me about how I did it I have only two “changes”. Eat less and move more! However simple that may seem on the exterior, there was so much more going on underneath; the daily struggles, I constantly took two steps forward and one step back, and then there was the motivation and self control. It’s too much to take on all at once. What I really did was begin with small changes.
I started be eliminating certain things in my diet. I tried not to eat anything with sugar in it or opted for less sugar, that meant no lollies, soft drink, or really sweets of any kind if I could help it. I did drink sugar free drinks as a treat, but tried to stick to coffee/tea and water, keeping in mind the sugar free didn’t stretch to my hot drinks but I would use raw sugar instead or drink something like chai that didn’t need sweetening. I tried to do some kind of exercise, but that was rarely sustainable. I minimised my carb intake, tried to avoid bread keeping it only for special occasions, and limited my serving sizes.
I didn’t do this all at once, there was a far gap of weeks between each one, and the problems I had in the past were that I was unable to sustain all of it at once. All those fad diets out there expect you to drop all the nasty habits instantly, I’m sure they would all work if we were machines and were able to drop our lifestyles and pick up a new one, but we can’t change that quickly. At least I know I can’t. I tried meal replacements, and detox diets all of which worked for me, but I was unable to sustain them and my own journey has made me realise we don’t need anything like that. What we need is education, small changes and motivation.
The times we fail are when we are tempted, and this will happen all the time. You have to stop and think about balance, you can’t be good all the time, but you have to set goals and treats for yourself or you will have nothing to sustain your motivation. It’s like any big goal in life, saving up for a deposit for a house or car, you need to look at your savings in increments. If you threw all your spare money into it you would lose motivation quickly and splurge. I think it’s the same with weight loss, you have to pick a mile stone, and when you reach it go out and buy a new outfit rather than going out to dinner and ruining your hard work. There is always room for reward.
I’m doing a fasting diet at the moment, mostly for the health benefits and to sustain my weight, and maybe lost a few extra kilos. But, this program allows a lot of room to move, and now that all the hard work is done I just need to find a routine to stay on track. It’s laid back but it seems to be working for me at the moment.
Fasting isn’t as bad as it sounds, and I have talked about it here before, lets face it I got slack and the last few weeks I have been trying to get back into it. It is hard with my rotating roster, but it just means I have to be organised, have meals ready to go and plan exercise in advance around the times I am free. Here’s my plan:
- Eat normally 4 days a week (within a normal calorie guideline)
- Fast two alternating days, not next to each other for example Monday and Friday this week then maybe Wednesday and Saturday the following week
- I allow for a free day, when I can go out for dinner, or have a glass of wine with dinner and dessert. Something to look forward to
- Exercise – I can’t always get to the gym or I need to catch up on sleep so I do yoga at home at the very least, even just for 30mins. I’ve been really good with this lately, I do it while watching tv most of the time so I can make good use of my time
Small changes can be used to achieve any goal, you just have to start small and work your way up. Set milestones and reward yourself or look back at your progress, and use this to keep you motivated. The results will speak for themselves.