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Sunday, 10 September 2006

Baby Steps

I wonder what it is that makes one decide to "go on a diet". What is that trigger moment? More often than not it is a significant birthday, a new year's resolution or the thought of attending a school reunion or family wedding much larger than the last time your family or friends saw you.

Whatever it is that makes you chose to change your life, normally we decide to "do it all" at once.

We decide to
- join a gym and vow to workout 5 times a week
- count calories or points
- drink 2 litres of water a day
- give up caffeine
- give up smoking
- give up chocolate fried foods takeaway

Then after barely 2 days we feel miserable!

We are sore and sorry from the workout, hungry all the time, finding it impossible to swallow all that water, have headaches from withdrawal and severe sugar/fat cravings.

Life is unbearable - we give up. We would rather be fat and happy than thin and deprived.

My advice is BABY STEPS. Please don't try to do it all at once or it will overwhelm you. When I started this journey I did one thing at a time.

For the first week, just drink 2 x 600ml bottles of water a day and think about what you are eating. Get up 15 minutes early and do 5-10 minutes of weights everyday with a light weight.

I can guarantee that those small steps should be enough to make you lose weight in week 1.
Keep doing exactly the same thing for the next week and the weeks after until you stop losing weight.

Once your weight stops then start paying more attention to what you are eating. Cut back on the oil in your meals, have takeaway/eat out only once a week, and add more fruit and veges. Build up to 10-15 minutes a day exercise.

Once again keep doing just enough to keep losing weight. Each time your weight stalls, increase your exercise and concentrate more on eating clean, unprocessed food.

This is how I did it. I lost nearly 20 kilos in a few months without doing one minute of cardio, not eating breakfast, still drinking Diet Coke and having a few M&Ms every night as a treat.

Of course, by this time I had developed healthy habits that were hard to break. So taking the full plunge into a healthy lifestyle was almost painless.

I wanted to workout at the gym, I started eating breakfast everyday, I took up running, I gave up Diet Coke [almost], I stopped eating wheat and I couldn't eat fried food because all I could taste was old stale vegetable oil.

We don't expect our children to go from crawling to running without walking first. Why do we expect to change from fat to fit overnight? It won't happen - it can't happen!! Now I know why there are so many people that sign up for WW every week and are never seen again. It doesn't suprise me that it seems too hard before the first week is up. Sometimes enthusiasm will see you through the first couple of weeks but long lasting, sustainable change takes time and must be approaching in small chunks.

If you are able to change everything in one go, you are a rare, disciplined person who I am surprised has a weight problem in the first place.

But if you are like me and have struggled your whole life with being overweight and have tried every diet in the world and invented some yourself!! then try the slow and gentle approach.

Take baby steps one at a time ... and see if you can graduate from crawling to eventually running.

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