Monday, October 24, 2011

Getting Started

I had a horrible wake-up call today.  For once, the sun was shining in Portland and I went to take a quick walk and get some lunch. The sun was on my back and I walked and enjoyed the fresh air.  Then I glanced down at my shadow and had to do a double take. 

Um, when did I get a fat lady walk? 

My arms can't even hang straight down my sides - they are tilted out a little bit. That is SO not what I look like in my head.  Reality, at times, can be so unkind.

This got me thinking, I have known for years and years I needed to lose weight.  I've been fighting the weight battle since I hit puberty. 

For years I have joked around saying that when I want to be thin more than I want the bowl of ice cream, I will be thin.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that if it was as simple as just a bowl of ice cream then it would be simple!  But it wasn't.  It was a life-long fight.  And one reason I have 'given up' the fight so many times is that it is overwhelming.

If I try to change everything at once, I will become overwhelmed, worn out and give up.  I know, because this is what I have done in the past. 

Anytime I start a new diet or program I am gung-ho for a month or two, then the focus dwindles and so does my motivation.

How can I make life long changes?

Then the answer came: one step at a time

It's the philosphy I preach to my kids as they are learning something new, and now it's time that I enlist it myself.

There is a variety of research out there about how many days it takes to create a new habit, and I'm sure we've all heard the numbers: 21, 28, 66, etc.  I will definitely delve into the psychology of it all later... but for now, my idea is simple.

Each month I will pick JUST ONE THING to change in my health.  One thing that as I continue it on the long term with make an impact.  I know that I will not see results overnight, or perhaps not even quickly.  I start on this path knowing that it will take years.  But that's ok - because it took me decades to get here.

While I ponder my ONE THING to start, what one thing do you think will make the most significant difference in YOUR health?  Or, what's the one thing that you are most likely to stick to that will improve your health?