Does Real Lasting Change Start SMALL?

Enjoy it one small bite at a time!

All difficult things have their origin in that which is easy, and great things in that which is small , Lao Tzu.

We often over look or diminish the small changes in our lives. We wonder why we aren’t able to maintain the massive changes we initiated at the start of the year (i.e NYE resolutions)… We try to change much in a short space of time, not allowing our brains to really fully adjust to the “New” state of play.

In reality there is no new state of play, there is only a radically altered playing field that is foreign to us. I believe that when we try to change things quickly, most of the time our thinking and processing are not able to keep up. We try to do it all at once, many times I have thought and voiced the idea of  “All or Nothing”, and I can think like this, but in reality and upon reflection, it is small consistent changes  that have impacted on my habits the most and have given me the best outcomes.

Here are some examples of small changes I made;

I began walking 5km about 3 times a week, after a few weeks, unwittingly I increased this to every second day, after a few more weeks, I increased it to everyday…. Then over the coming weeks I increased the distance to 10km every day…. I did not start out at 10km every day – I allowed my body and mind to adjust slowly over time… Building the habit, increasing the frequency and the intensity. Had I said at the start, “I will walk 10km everyday” I doubt I would have developed it into a habit….(In fact I know it wouldn’t have because I had tried that before) But I did over time build it up… And it was only on reflection that I realised that this was what I did, originally I didn’t have a plan, I only liked getting out and walking on the beach and because it made me feel good I did it more often. The walking lead to running, short distances lead to long distances – but all of this was over time and done gradually.

Recently I have been moving to a more protein focused diet and reducing my carb intake. I started with the focus on one meal a day, moving from breakfast, to lunch, to dinner…a friend said start small with breakfast,  very smart advice; I am still working on this change in diet – but am making small incremental changes over time that will hopefully add up to healthier habits in the end.

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Now that I have less weight to lose it doesn’t come off as easily – I now understand the pain of losing that last 5kg – It seems like a small number, and it is hard to move… I used to be able to move 5kg quite easily (but that was when I had a lot to lose). Now I am down to the thin end of the stick 😉 – where it is all about the small changes, the small choices. It is where choice builds on choice. I need to remember that I can divide this number into smaller numbers, look at it as 1 kilo at a time, essentially breaking down the job into smaller jobs – take those first steps and make the small incremental changes.  Because I know that if i am true to myself they will add up to a healthier me.

Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
Lao Tzu

And while this blog is about losing weight, and reclaiming my life, I think that these principles can be applied to most areas of our life where we want change. Finances, weight, fitness, career progression, study etc.

Someone once said, “take a bite and then chew like crazy!” – I say  “Bite off a little, and enjoy it one mouthful at a time so you don’t go crazy”

It is about taking stock of the situation, being honest with ourselves and not getting overwhelmed by the reality – then – breakdown the problem into SMALL changes that overtime will allow us to enjoy the greater journey of overall impact.

Till next time, Lin xox

Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.                                              Henry Ford.

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The Law of Attraction

What am I choosing to attract in my life?

One of the best things about losing weight is feeling better about yourself; inside and out. It is the journey of feeling better on the outside that has changed dramatically for me, I have  started to make changes in how I view myself; and I have noticed that other people now view me differently too.

When I was walking everyday after I had the lap band in, I walked at night so no one could see me easily. At my heaviest I used to get people (particularly young guys) hang out of cars and yell abuse at me during the day, when I was walking up the shops, crossing the lights – Believe it or not but  near my highest weight I once had an apple thrown at my head when I was out walking at night..                                                                                                                       It was devastating & demoralising – I did not feel good about myself, Inside or Out.

I was speaking to someone the other day about the idea that we (as in individuals) shouldn’t care about what other people think about us. He challenged me when I said this, and suggested that the idea may be flawed in some aspects. He then suggested that we are social beings, we live, work and exist in community and what we say and our actions  impact each other…. Given this he suggested it is logical that we care about what other people think about us, it is a normal part of life. We care about what family and friends think of us and we don’t want people to think poorly of us. He is a well respected Psychologist and I got what he was suggesting, and agreed with it…

The fact is as much as I didn’t want to care about what other people thought about me, I did care that people yelled abuse at me, I did care that apples got thrown at me from cars; I did care and It hurt.

I sometimes still think that people see me as that fat girl, and It is an idea that I have to challenge on an ongoing basis. People don’t treat me like that fat girl anymore and I am starting to train my brain to actually “see” myself as I am now. I have gone from guys throwing insults and apples, to being whistled at on the street, or being flirted with in a bar – A very different experience, and something that is hard to get your head around.

I have noticed that the better I feel about myself, the more confidence I have, the more I smile, flirt and generally have fun with life and people. Confidence is an amazing feeling – and while I don’t have any delusions that I am some sort of super model (I do have curves for a start 😉 ), I feel good about myself and this is nice for a change.

Basically I liken it to the law of attraction – the idea that “like attracts like”… I am more confident, happy and loving life and therefore live a life like this. I now attract people in my life that are confident, happy and loving life.

I am sharing this because I think looking back I was not that person, I was not happy in myself and perceived other people who were successful as a threat to me.

The law of attraction for me back then was “I feel crap, and will attract crap in my life” –  I viewed life and people negatively.  That is no longer the case, I view life more positively now, and will continue to embrace life and understand that confidence begets confidence, it is this cycle and knowledge, that I believe, will help me to keep hold of the gains and progress that I have made.

Till next time,

Lin xox

Study Shows Why It’s Hard to Keep Weight Off – NYTimes.com

Study Shows Why It’s Hard to Keep Weight Off – NYTimes.com.

Read the article above 1st….It is very interesting.

I read this article and It struck a chord with me… I have lost a lot of weight, and it has been one of the biggest challenges and struggle that I have fought! And boxing or fighting is what I compare it to.

I was speaking to a friend about the weight loss and the struggle that losing weight is. Something that I believe deeply (and that research is starting to show)  It is not simply a matter of willpower, there are other factors going on.

I often felt that I was fighting with my body to get the weight off and keep it off. There were days when I could almost feel that I was in a fight, another round in the ring – another chance of a knock out that I wouldn’t get up from…

I am NOT saying excuses are OK, I am not saying that I was not responsible for the weight I got to, because I was! What I am saying is that when people want to change, and realise that they need to change… It is BLOODY HARD…

I don’t think that giving up is OK, We need to be a fighters & find solutions that work for us on an individual level. Lap Band worked for me (it is not the right choice for everyone), it wasn’t easy, in fact I think that option took more discipline and hard work than almost every diet i tried.

SO Everyday, (like everyone else out there) I watch what I eat and exercise…. It is a lifestyle thing, I can’t stress that enough… and I won’t let my own body and whatever hormones are choosing to float around in there, sabotage my desire and reality of living a real life!

Till next time, Lin xox

Food Day Tuesday; Choices

Which Path To Take? What Outcome Do You Want?

So today’s Food Day Tuesday is a Day Late and a recipe short!

Yes Christmas has come and gone, the hype and spending of too much money is over for yet another year! It was nice spending time with the family, seeing my little nieces, especially with the 2 1/2 year old talking about Santa and opening all the presents (the little poppet was a wee bit overwhelmed!) But back to the post.

As I said There is no recipe today – It is about choices… The hard ones too make   I found that I was still trying to make good choices at our Christmas Family Dinners… It was hard (and I did succumb to the pavalova) but overall I chose well, limited my intake and didn’t feel like I had spent the time mindlessly eating.

Tonight I went out with friends for dinner. Again I tried to make positive choices, low carb, high protein, but did indulge and enjoyed dessert at a friends place afterwards!…

Food choices are a funny thing, it is often a culmination of the small and seemingly insignificant choices we make that add up to real and lasting outcomes for our lives. It is easy to justify the chocolate, wine, cheesecake, beer, cookie at the time, forgetting that it is the culmination of these choices, the everyday, every moment choices that make the difference… The small choice adds onto the choice from the day before and the day before that and it is easy to forget about the overall impact…

My mother saw a saying when we were children and would often quote it when we were growing up in relation to our education and making decisions for ourselves to have the best outcomes. The saying was this

“The Choices we make dictate the Life we Lead”

I got this saying when I was a teenager about the choices around education, drugs, obeying the law etc… What I did not understand (then) was that the food choices I was making was having a very real impact on my quality of life. It was easier to justify the choice each day and not see the overall picture.

Everyday the food choices I make dictate the type of life I can lead. If i fill myself with junk, I will feel sluggish, tired and not perform at my best. If I eat good, “Clean” veg and protein, limit the intake of sugar and carbs then I feel good, avoid the peaks and troughs and can ustilise my body to Live The life I Want to lead 

All that being said – I did eat carbs, sugar and enjoyed my Christmas… I now need to put Christmas behind me (and all the treats that it brings) and make sure my routines and food choices are on track into the new year !

It begins NOW not tomorrow, It begins with the next Choice and then the one after that – because I know that Tomorrow Never Comes..

So Keep making good Choices, till next time

Lin xox

Trigger Happy! – Planning, Success and Resolutions…

The Loaded Gun!

Emotional eating and figuring out triggers for this has long been an issue for me.

I got to a point in life that I was basically eating for any reason, happy, sad, frustrated, lonely, tired, guilty, anxious, rejected, bored… you get the picture..

But what I have learnt is that  it is not just the trigger and my food drug of choice at that time that is the problem. It was also opportunity and situation.

I had set up my life (over many years of reinforcing poor choices) to have a constant supply of food, situations and opportunities to allow these triggered food reactions to occur. I had allowed my lifestyle to revolve around food – buying food, storing food, preparing food, eating food, blah blah blah..

The lap band took out the ability (for most of my eating) for me to binge eat and stuff my feelings down… The barrier that it put in place allowed me to slowly address the emotional eating and break them down. The opportunities and situations decreased. I began to make smart choices and re-frame my relationship with food and my feelings.

Now that I have had the lap band and it is adjusted to be a bit more open, and I can eat a little more, I have noticed that I need to work on this area a little more and revisit it again.

Earlier in the week I had a situation where I was feeling tired, anxious, worried and a little guilty. I was at work and near the “social club shop” where tempting treats of chocolate, chips and soft drink lay in wait. The chocolate did not survive…

I analyzed my behaviour a little later, figured out what was going on emotionally, and what else was a threat that day – why didn’t I stick to my plans… It was because I hadn’t prepared for work that day properly. I hadn’t packed the foods I knew I would need to have at my desk and avoid going into the “shop”. I didn’t drink enough water and my sleep pattern was more whacked than usual.

I have good, strong plans and work at them (really well) most days!                                        I do not buy junk food for my house anymore, I have a supply of hummus and vegies to snack on, some sugar free 85% dark chocolate, and I have changed my habits.                       I now rarely watch TV (TV and eating used to go hand in hand for me –  I watched (and ate) more hours away than I care to remember) I now prefer to exercise, read, go out, live an actual life.

But the point here is for me to keep acknowledging that successful people plan; they then work their plan, learn from their mistakes, reflect – adjust and move forward…

The Lesson learnt from today;

*Plan and follow through with the plan and have a back up plan in place.

* Work out and write down what is going on and bothering me before I reach mindlessly for the junk food… (If I can see it at the time) If I don’t see it till after, acknowledge what is going on and figure out a way to constructively deal with it.

*If I fall down – don’t kick myself while I am down there! – Help myself get up take stock and reflect;                                                                                                                          What didn’t work, why? who is involved?                                                                         What can I control? (i.e my reaction, behaviour, attitude)                                                   What can’t I control? (other people? their actions and reactions, work load etc)                   What will I change and adjust? What is a realistic new and modified plan? How do I keep moving forward.

And while I think that all this writing and reflecting about it is good, the proof as they say is in the Pudding…. (Did someone say pudding 🙂 )

This type of thinking and reflecting can apply to more areas of life than just food, diet and exercise.  With the craziness of “New Years Resolutions” just weeks away, It may help to think about the cycle of planning, working the plan, reflecting and readjusting plans, rather than, off the cuff resolutions that make you feel crap when you have forgotten about them in a matter of days, weeks or months.

2012 is shaping up to be tough year… It will be tough to maintain the fitness and weight loss that I have built this year… That is the challenge though and one I aim to meet!

Thanks for stopping by, till next time

Lin xox