When a baby gets mobile she doesn’t just stand up one day and run. Instead she rolls around, gets up on all fours and rocks, crawls backwards for a bit, figures out how to crawl forward, and eventually stands and walks. It is a process that takes some time. Some babies figure it out by the time they are nine months old and others take much longer. But they all get there in the end.
Weight loss is much the same way. It is a process of baby steps, small steps, tiny bits of progress that eventually get you to the place you want to be. At least that is how it was for me.
I’d get going on my weight loss program by taking a few small steps, fall off the wagon, gain a few pounds back, try again, and repeat the whole process over and over again.
Now it would have been nice to just stand up one day and magically have lose 158 pounds, but that’s not how weight loss happens – even on a show like the Biggest Loser.
Instead there is a process of taking some small steps in the right direction, maybe falling off the wagon for a bit, gaining some more weight, and repeating the process a few times.
One thing about babies is that they don’t give up, and neither should you.
Although I failed about 100 times over the 10 years that I was obese, I did learn some things along the way that helped me finally lose the weight. One thing I learned was that small steps really do matter. Each of these small steps I share below were building blocks to a lifelong journey of improving my nutrition, learning more about cooking and food, and working to stay physically fit.
10 Small Steps That Really Work for Weight Loss
1. Understand What Real Food Is
Weight loss involves eating. It took me a long time but I finally realized that I had to eat mostly real foods and limit the amount of processed foods I ate. Ritz crackers are not real food. Bananas are real food.
2. Make Changes You Can Embrace
Anyone can lose weight by doing crazy diets for a time. But that doesn’t work forever. As part of your small steps, make changes you can embrace and live with – forever.
3. Move More
Moving more just makes sense but it sometimes seems daunting, especially if you have not exercised in a while. Take small exercise steps. I started out walking just a few minutes a day. At 300 pounds, that is all I could do. But it was enough to get me started toward a permanent life change.
4. Get Support
Find some kind of support system. It could be Weight Watchers, an online group, or even some people in your life. Supportive friends or groups can help prop you up when you feel lost or discouraged.
5. Acknowledge Where You Are
A small step that is often overlooked is being honest with where you are right now. How much do you really weigh? How much are you eating? What kinds of foods do you struggle with?
6. Clean Up
Take the step of cleaning up your pantry, your freezer, and your refrigerator when you start your diet. Starting fresh with a pantry full of good foods and a freezer/refrigerator empty of junk will help you immensely.
7. Keep Track
Do not be fooled by people who say that you should not have to keep track of your food choices. You do not have to do it all the time but it is important to keep track on a regular basis.
8. Be Adventurous
Do not be afraid to try foods you are not familiar with. Try kale or something green you think you hate. Drag out your old blender and whip up a smoothie with fresh ingredients, or go vegetarian for a week to stretch your familiarity with vegetables.
9. Accept Imperfection
Accept that you are not perfect and that mistakes will happen. When you mess up, tell yourself it is not a big deal and just start over. Because really – the only fatal error is quitting, not eating something you should not have.
10. Learn New Skills
If you don’t know how to cook a particular food – learn. If you can’t ride a bike or swim – learn. Always push yourself to learn and experience new things.
Without small steps like these, I wouldn’t have lost 158 pounds. Without those small steps in the right direction, I wouldn’t have been able to teach my kids the importance of proper nutrition because I wouldn’t have known it myself. And without those first small steps, I might have been 350 or 400 pounds by now because that’s the direction I was heading in.
If you ever feel as though your small steps aren’t enough, I’d encourage you to turn that thinking around and realize that each small step really can make a difference. It may take you a while to get going as it did me, but if you never give up, you can see your life change in dramatic and amazing ways.
Are the small steps you have taken really “small” or are they life changing? Diane