Today, I find myself thinking through the small changes that help pave the path to weight loss. So often we focus on the big changes like transforming ALL of our food intake or going from zero to crazy with our workout habits. But what about the little tweaks you can do that create positive movement? They’re the tiny pebbles that create large ripples in the water – habits that create lifestyle changes…hopefully.
Here are some of the small changes I’ve been making so far:
- Leaving my money behind when temptation is a possibility. I work across the street from a mall filled with all sorts of fast food delights, from fried chicken to ice cream. It’s a favorite for coworkers to stroll across the street together for a social lunch hour. I’ve started joining them to get extra walking time in but I leave my money behind so that I’m not tempted by the delicious smells.
- Parking on the highest floor. I work on the 8th floor and I’m trying to walk the stairs at least 3 times per day. Sometimes this can be challenging, between meetings and other work demands. So I’ve started parking on the 7th floor of my parking garage (as high as it goes). Now I walk the stairs when I come in, when I leave, and at lunch – I don’t have to fight to make this goal happen.
- Two veggie servings a day. I’m just plain awful at getting my vegetable servings in, but it’s easy for me to have two snacks a day at work. So I’ve started making those two snacks vegetables to make these servings effort-free. I try to buy vegetables that are pre-packed in serving sizes, or I pre-portion them out at the beginning of the week. This also makes packing my lunches/snacks mindless. Plus, having the veggies with me means I’m not tempted to fill my snack times with chips or candy bars.
- Walking as a soothing method. I am big into journaling, particularly when I have negative feelings that I can’t sort out. However, in the throes of my most difficult weight challenges, I found this to be a detriment. If I couldn’t find the motivation to work out, I wrote about it. If I had gorged myself on a mountainous chocolate sundae and was hating myself for it, I wrote in my journal. Journaling became a crutch, of sorts. So one day I threw down my journal and started walking. Now I try to walk out my negative emotions. It helps me clear my thoughts and gets me active at the same time.
- Walking to the store. I’m lucky enough to live relatively close the grocery store. Instead of jumping in the car to drive half a mile down the road, my husband and I have begun to walk to the store any time we just need a handful of items.
- No dessert unless my husband asks for it. This may sound a bit funny, but I love my desserts and, in the past, I’ve found myself having dessert on daily basis even if I didn’t really crave it. My husband is much better. He often doesn’t think of dessert unless I say something. So I’ve made a new rule for myself. I will not be the first person to suggest dessert. If he suggests it, I’m all for it. But otherwise it’s off limits.
- Reading the salad list first. My husband and I eat out about 1-2 times every two weeks. Usually, I have an idea what I want before we even sit down. I’m imagining a big juicy burger or a well-seasoned steak – whatever the restaurant is well-known for. I hardly ever look at the healthier options, like small plates or salads. Now, I refuse to walk into a restaurant with anything specific in mind and I’m making myself review the healthier options first. So much of the healthy food available at restaurants nowadays is really delicious! I think if I stick with this one I’m bound to eat healthier without feeling like I’m depriving myself.
These are just a few examples of small changes I’ve started to make. They may not seem like much but they make a huge difference in the way I feel. I’m a week and a half into this challenge and I already feel much healthier than I did at the start. In my experience, it’s much easier to stay motivated if you can see or feel the difference your efforts are making, so I have no complaints right now!
What small changes can you make that will have a big impact on your weight loss goals? Remember, you don’t have to make all your changes at once. Each of the changes listed above are ones I randomly picked up day by day. There’s no need to make your weight loss goals a stress-factor in your life.