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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Little Steps Make You Grow Smaller

It's the 7th of January and many of us are wondering about our New Year's Resolutions to lose weight and get in shape. We are still actively pursuing these goals but there is a shadow of doubt about our abilities to finish the race. We are still showing our enthusiasm but it has started to be a little more acting that genuine.

Our problem is that our goal is to lose weight and get in shape. This isn't a lifestyle change. It exists until the goal is reached. We will return to our old lifestyle with any decent excuse. Eventually, we say, "What's the use?!" and give in to our natural cravings.

The answer is to change our natural cravings rather than set a goal of weight. This means a lifestyle change rather than setting weight goals. So, I will tell you what I am doing. You need to have your own cravings changed.

I no longer look for the closest parking place. When I go to the grocery store or church I park further away (unless it is raining). It is a small walk but remember, everything adds up.

I bike to work. I have to go to work anyway. It takes a little longer but I burn off about 20 lbs. each year by riding my bike. (I don't weigh 20 lbs. less each year. I burn the calories that would have put 20 lbs. on each year.)

I take the stairs when possible. I visit a lot of hospitals. Most people wait forever for the next elevator. I grab the stairs and often beat the elevator riders to their floor.

I stopped eating everything on my plate. Restaurants typically overfeed us. I sometimes split the meal with my wife. I am no longer afraid to ask for a take-out container. Other times, I just leave some of it on my plate. I can almost guarantee that I will overeat if I eat everything on my plate. I just decide before I start that I will leave something behind (or else it will become part of my behind!).

There are other things I must do but haven't mastered yet. I must stop eating while I am doing something else. I eat while I watch tv. That takes my attention off of the eating. I don't even know I have eaten and I certainly don't notice how much. It is easy to eat a whole bag of potato chips without any knowledge of doing so while watching tv.

I must stop waiting until I am very hungry before I eat. Hunger causes me to eat faster. In doing so I don't react to my body's natural responses to being full. I, then, overeat before I have noticed what I have done.

I need to eat on a schedule. This is extremely hard. My life does not have a schedule. I should insert snacks during the day. They should be at a certain time with the other meals. This would keep me from getting very hungry and keep my stomach small.

It is the little things that can be done that will make the big difference. I know that most of us would like to lose the weight we have overnight but this so often results in a very rapid return to our previous condition. The goal has been reached. There is nothing more to work for. Why not go back to the lifestyle we adore?

We must change our natural desires by replacing them with stronger ones. That takes a lot of time and a whole lot of little steps.

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