Have you ever seen the movie What About Bob? Bob has an anxiety disorder and he meets up with Dr. Leo Marvin who completely changes his life with just one simple therapy session. Dr. Marvin teaches Bob about “baby steps” so that he can accomplish difficult tasks, like going out in public or getting on an elevator.
What does this have to do with health and fitness?? Well, EVERYTHING! I know that there are many of you out there who are feeling overwhelmed…especially now during the holiday season. You might think that a goal you have is just a little too steep, but I’m here to tell you that ANYTHING is within your reach. You just need to take BABY STEPS!!
Many times people try to change too many things at once when trying to reach their goals. They RADICALLY change their diet and start exercising 5-6 times a week. But then what happens? They fall off the wagon. It’s just TOO much TOO fast.
Doing a complete 180-degree turn at the snap of a finger is HARD. It’s good to fire yourself up to make yourself a better person but what happens when the fire burns out? The fire needs to be stoked every day to achieve results! Drastics changes CAN and DO work for some people over long periods of time. It really depends on your personality. However, for the majority of us we handle change better if done in smaller increments.
Transformations don’t happen overnight. They happen one step at a time. It is the cumulative effect of consistent habits over time that cause change. I recommend mastering one new habit every 2-3 weeks, then when it becomes a routine, you can start on the next one.
Here are a few simple things you can start doing right now that will help you establish long-term habits for sustained fat loss. Why wait unil Jan 1st?? Challenge yourself to do each one for the next 7 days and see what happens!
1. As soon as you wake up in the morning drink 8-12 oz of water.
You’ve just been sleeping for (hopefully) a long time and your body is dehydrated. Water prepares, opens, cleans, and lubricates the digestive tract, getting your body primed and ready for food. Some people say that warm water is more beneficial but I prefer it a little cold. Try both to see which one you prefer. If you think you’ll have a hard time remembering to do this in the morning keep a bottle of water on your nightstand next to the alarm clock. You can still drink your coffee afterwards but you might be surprised at what a drink of water within the first 10 minutes of waking up will do. 🙂
2. Eat a large salad every single day.
If revamping your entire diet seems too overwhelming just start with one meal and make it a big salad. Make sure you use some kind of spring mix with greens like spinach, mixed baby greens, baby kale, etc. and avoid iceberg lettuce which is devoid of nutrients. I like to top my salad with shredded carrots, sprouts, cucumber, tomatoes, red bell peppers, jicama, and toasted cashews. For more protein I’ll add shredded chicken breast, leftover salmon, or boiled egg whites. If you want to stick with vegan/vegetarian protein sources you could add flaxseed, chia seeds, or hemp seed.
Talk about filling!! Just be sure to skip things like croutons and dressings high in sugar.
That one salad will act as your anchor and keep you on track to remind you how good it feels to eat real, fresh food. Eat a big salad for lunch and suddenly take-out for dinner doesn’t seem so appealing. That’s two healthy meals for the price of one. I prefer to eat my big salad for lunch. I cut up all my veggies for the entire week at once and prepare a week’s worth of homemade dressing so everything is ready to go. I throw everything together the night before and in the morning when I’m getting ready for work I don’t even have to think about it.
3. Take a moment before you eat.
We have become a nation of GOBBLERS! Food is often gulped, wolfed, pushed and shoved down the hatch while we sit at the computer, watch TV, or drive to work. This gives us little time for tasting, let alone chewing. And chewing is where the magic happens! Nutrients have to somehow get from the food you eat to the trillions of cells in your body. Chewing at least 25 times initiates the process of digestion. This ensures that nutrients and minerals are released early on in the digestive process. And having enough nutrients in the stomach sends a signal to the brain that you are full! No such signal is sent when you wolf down your food.
Clean, wholesome foods that are well chewed will fill you up much sooner and satisfy you for much longer. This solves the problem of wanting to binge, overeat, indulge and eat mindlessly. Unplug yourself from your gadgets and try to find a sense of calm when eating. If nothing else, take a moment before you eat and just be thankful. You can even go so far as to tell yourself, “I’m about to eat. I will gratefully allow myself to enjoy this moment!”
No matter where you are at in your fitness journey, there is a next step in front of you. TAKE IT!! No matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Your willingness to be faithful with the small steps will lead to huge progress!
Remember, December is a month to FINISH what you started. When everyone else draws back you need to keep pressing on! Why? Because that’s what CHAMPIONS do and you my friend are a Champion!!