In June 2010, when I made the decision that I needed to lose 100+ pounds, I really didn’t have much of a plan, but I did know one thing. As a 41-year-old fat guy, I had tried and failed to lose the weight multiple times over the course of my life. The way I had approached getting fit in the past hadn’t worked, so I need to make a fundamental change. As I thought about it, I kept thinking back about my past failures. It usually went something like this:
- Sit up late at night for no reason.
- See Tony Horton selling P90X (or some variation thereof).
- Get disgusted with my current condition and decide “it’s time to do something about it”!
- Day 1 of my new lifestyle: Make drastic changes to my eating habits and activity level.
- Day 2 of my new lifestyle: Discard all changes and continue life as before.
- (The reality is that half the time I never got past step 3.)
So what’s different this time? What’s sustained the change in my life? It’s really a simple, fundamental shift of thinking. I started to think that I didn’t need to try to lose 150 lbs. I needed to lose just one…one pound…and then do it over and over.
From that, I decided to break it down even further…all the way down to a single meal and a single workout. All I needed to worry about was eating as healthy as I could, making the best choice I could, at my next meal. I didn’t have to train for a marathon or try to get six-pack abs, but just concern myself with getting to my next workout.
Sounds too easy, right? Not necessarily EASY, but very SIMPLE. That simple change did a few things:
- It made the task do-able. It was something I could wrap my mind around. Anybody can eat good one day, right? Anyone can put in one good workout.
- When I failed, it eliminated the guilt and condemnation. I hadn’t “blown it”. There was no diet I had failed. Instead, I just needed to do better at the next meal, or put more effort into the next workout.
- Procrastination was taken off the table. No more “I’ll start over after the holidays”, or “on Monday”, “or next month”, or “next week”. Start now!
That’s how I did it. That’s what worked for me. I put a string of healthier meals and more active days together. One meal at a time, one workout at a time.