Eating the Elephant

Wanting to loose a lot of weight or getting back into shape (when it has honestly been years) can feel so completely overwhelming no matter how sincere the desire. And frankly the older we are the more enormous, and perhaps even unrealistic, the task appears to be. In fact so unobtainable that we may end up not even starting. And yet often if we could take that first step our whole perspective might shift. So how do we make it different this time?

It’s not new advice, but try to only focus on today and specifically only the things you can directly control. “What can I do to make a difference today?” is the only question to ask. Without it becoming a major drama, how could you be more physically active today? What small change could you make to your eating habits for the day? For instance perhaps you could not put sugar in your tea or coffee. Maybe you could not add butter to your toast.  If you want to be really hardcore, perhaps step away from the Gin bottle or don’t pour that first glass of white… Just for today. You are not giving up alcohol, you are simply choosing to not have any today.

Being “more physically active” does not require a gym membership and three hours shopping at Nike. A fast walk for thirty minutes, a twenty minute home workout with no equipment or perhaps take the kids swimming?

The bigger the final goal the smaller the steps. If they feel almost inconsequential then so much the better! And the less we see change as a “hardship”, a “punishment” or denying ourselves the better.

A small aside, I used to smoke back in my youth (from about 15 to some point in my 30’s…). Giving up for me was about NOT giving up, it was more a case of deferring my next cigarette. Initially I simply chose to “leave it an hour” then after that hour I decided that it would be OK to leave it till tomorrow. It has now been well over 15 years, but if I wanted to smoke tomorrow that would be OK. But I just chose not to. I am not denying myself I am just making a conscious choice. Same with alcohol, I have not consumed any for three years. I know… I sound a right bundle of laughs don’t I !!! 😉  

But the reality is that when we start to focus on today, and the things that we can directly control, we start to feel more empowered and successful with each small decision. The task starts to feel much more manageable. All the little changes start to add up and in aggregate they are no longer “small and inconsequential”.

Tomorrow feels easier when we are building on the successes of today. And losing a lot of weight, getting back into shape… or even (as was the case for me) getting into shape for the first time, seems so much more achievable when we motivate ourselves with more and more wins every day.

Make that first ridiculously easy change today and you might just never look back… Because why would you! 

Credit Photo by Kevin Luke on Unsplash