Well here it is, the end of the 6 week series. For me, I’m writing this at a time of a major accomplishment. I just finished my original goal I started with to get to 220 pounds from December 27, 2011 to August 7, 2012. I actually got to 216.4 (73.1 pounds lost). I am really excited. I feel like I have my whole life back, and this post is going to be centered on what needs to happen to create lasting change. We have to be growing, evolving and becoming better. If I get to my goal weight and then go back to the habits I was living with before, what’s going to happen? The same thing that happens to most people that “go on a diet”. My path is about continually getting better. I have a new goal now, 185lbs, and when I get there, I plan to re-evaluate that as well. Because this is all new territory for me, I know I’m going to have to experiment a little bit and figure out how to live a healthy and SUSTAINABLE life. So, this may be the most important post of the six. I just want to share with you the most important lessons I’m learning as I go on this journey.
1. Experiment to find what works best for you. I used to read books or listen to speakers and just try and take exactly what they said and try it out. If it didn’t have the instant results I was looking for, I would discard it. Even if the idea seemed partially right, and I was able to use some of it, because I wasn’t using all of it, I felt like I wasn’t doing it right, so I shouldn’t do it. That’s crazy. We are all unique and different. People have lots of good ideas, but you have to personalize them to you. I have become more of a buffet style idea guy (and Lord knows I used to LOVE buffets). I try lots of different ideas, and if they aren’t exactly working for me, I try to take the concept and find a way I can use it to improve my life.
2. Be active almost every day. What do you have to do that’s better than that? If you’re severely out of shape like I was, that doesn’t
sound like fun. Start small. Making commitments to yourself and then following through is extremely powerful. Don’t take over the whole world all at once, small steps lead to big changes. Make a small goal. I started trying to walk 1/2 mile more at work/week. Maybe you just decide to walk a mile after dinner every night and then add a half mile every week. Your body is amazing and will adapt to what you demand of it. Exercise, for me, was not something I initially enjoyed, but eventually learned to love. And, the benefits of looking and feeling better are impossible to measure.
3. Be a disciplined eater. As I have progressed in my weight loss, and the results have gotten more noticeable, I have started to field a lot of questions from people looking for the “secret” to my success. I don’t really think there is any secret to my success. There is a lot of hard work, some discipline, and some habit changes. However, changing how I eat has probably been the habit that has made the biggest difference. So, if you are looking for the most efficient way to lose weight, and the habit change that gives you the biggest bang for your buck, this is it. When I tell people about how I eat now, and how they should eat, they all have about the same reaction.
Me: Well you should avoid eating grains as much as possible. My goal is to not eat them at all 6 days a week.
Friend: What’s a grain?
Me: You know like bread, pasta, rice, potatoes (not a grain, but starchy carb that slows weight loss).
Friend: Wait, so what am I supposed to eat then?
Me: Meat, veggies, fruit, eggs, nuts.
Friend: Yeah but I love bread.
Me: Yeah I do too, but I love not being fat more.
Friend: What about cheese? (not relevant to the idea, but the question I get almost every time)
Me: Hardcore people say to avoid dairy, but I still eat cheese.
Friend: (various responses, but usually something to the effect of I don’t think I can do that)
What I have started doing is challenging them to try it for a week. Give up grains for a week. 7 days is not going to kill you. And, I’m confident that the effect will be so startling, and positive that people will want to continue. And, in almost every case, I have been right. So, what are you waiting for? Try it for a week and see what happens. However, if you try it, you have to be strict on it. I lost 10 pounds in that first week. Was most of it water weight? Yeah probably, but you know what? I haven’t put any of that 1o pounds back on, and I lost 63 more. Why would you not try something out for 7 days that potentially could change your life for the better? If you don’t feel like you can, try to wrap your head around that concept. I’m telling you that changing how you eat will significantly improve your life and suggest you change for just one week. If you’re not willing to do that, why? Is food that important to you? If so, why? Just food for thought (pun intended).
4. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Robin Sharma, noted author and leadership trainer, says that we should be doing something at least every seven days that makes us uncomfortable. That’s a great idea. It doesn’t have to be major. In fact, I’m still a beginner, so I take on small tasks. But, as I do it more and more, my comfort zone expands and I can take on bigger tasks. Just like any other skill or muscle, the more you work it out, the stronger it gets. Also, I recently watched the movie, We Bought a Zoo, and Matt Damon has one of the best lines I had heard in a movie in a long time. He was talking to his son about overcoming the nerves and telling a girl how he feels about her. He says, “Sometimes all you need is 2o seconds of insane courage”. I thought that was awesome. I started to think about times where I didn’t act courageously and times that I did, and you really come to a point where you’re forced to make a decision. And in that moment, the choice you make determines the outcome. The choice is the hardest part, because once you choose, the rest falls into place. Awesome, awesome thought. So, I’m still working on this, but I think the guideline is simple and good: every seven days do something that makes you uncomfortable.
Overall the key is just that we be growing and improving every day. I have been constantly humbled by the response from people about my weight loss and extremely thankful for all the people who have helped me along the way. Losing weight is too small of a goal. Improving yourself, making yourself better, that is a noble goal, and one that will lead to lasting change. Good luck!
EVERY DAY GETTING BETTER