That One Small Adjustment: Finding Your Way to Health


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  54 comments   :  12,722 Views

There is a quote I like that has made a big impact on my healthy lifestyle journey: ''We’re all just one small adjustment away from making our lives work!''--Tosca Reno. Think about that for a moment.

I have been at this journey for three years now. Along the way, I have had to constantly remind myself that big progress can be made over time with small adjustments and continuous effort. It’s the over time part that is hard for us to grasp sometimes. It's easy to get stuck in that ''all or nothing'' mentality, where we will want to give up if we don't see fast results on the scale. So here is a physical example of what I mean by small changes over time making an impact:

My husband and I go to a theater near this piece of land shown in the photograph. For quite awhile it was just a grassy field. Then, one day, we saw men out there measuring and marking things off. This was followed by a worksite that was set up, and then by supplies being dropped off and sorted into rather large sections. Next came the men in hardhats and the giant cement trucks, and construction began in earnest. For months now there has been a large construction crew out there working. That grassy field has now turned into this:

Looks nice, right? A brand new hospital in our area that started from that small grassy patch and the placement of the first brick has grown into this beautiful building.But wait….what if you stand at a slightly different angle and look at the other side? You get this:

Still a work in progress, isn’t it? Hospitals take a lot to function.  I’ve worked in one before, and I loved it. They are much like a small city with backup power to keep the facility running no matter what happens outside. You can’t have the power going off during surgery, right?!  Even when this building is finished, guess what it will have? A maintenance department!  There will always be something in the large space that has to be touched up, repaired, made new, added to or changed. 

I think this perspective has helped me in my quest for health. It takes a lot of hard work to lose weight and keep it off.The thing about the building rising up in the grassy field is that it started even before the men stepped foot out there to mark that first brick placement. It had to start with the idea of the building, followed by architects designing the building, and then action. Much like that, we have SparkPeople, which has already been thought up for us, designed and waiting there patiently for each of us to use it. The site wasn’t created with the thought that you could transition from overweight to perfect in some extremely small period of time. It was designed for the long haul, to teach us one step at a time how to overcome the lifelong negative tendencies and to become that strong, healthy, fit person that we all want to be.

''It’s the 60 seconds that it takes to make a decision that can make or break a person’s life''-- another Tosca quote. One small step, after another, after another….brick, by brick, by brick – they all add up. You can transition from that unhealthy couch potato to a race-runner.
Are you tempted to give up because you don’t think your results are fast enough? Are you discouraged by the number on the scale? Take a deep breath, slow down, and make a small step that will add another success in your lifelong journey to get and stay healthy. 

Share with us what step you can take today to start or continue on in the right direction.

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  • 54
    Great article! Thanks - 8/8/2017   4:28:41 AM
    I saw this quote on a daily calendar: Little and often makes much! - 3/15/2017   6:42:06 PM
    Cool - 3/25/2012   10:30:49 AM
  • 51
    My small adjustment for the last month has been to stay at the bottom of my goal calorie range instead of the top. It's definitely helping! - 3/7/2012   10:55:45 PM
  • 50
    Great post. You inspired me to go back to the gym after a week of no excercise. Thank you. - 3/5/2012   2:53:36 PM
  • 49
    This is great. We are always changing, and everything happens in steps, some of them very, very small. Good analogy. Thanks! - 3/5/2012   11:18:07 AM
  • 48
    It really is about keeping your perspective. - 3/4/2012   11:52:46 PM
  • 47
    Great analogy - brick by brick. I would like to extend the analogy slightly - the bricklayers placing the bricks had a picture/plan. I'm sure it rained some days and bricks couldn't be placed (mortar doesn't set well in heavy rain). But the bricklayers didn't quit - they had a vision - they went back the next day and set more bricks - continued on the path. Brick by brick, small steps work, and even better when you have an inspiring long-term goal. - 3/4/2012   11:22:55 AM
  • 46
    Instant or rapid gratification is not sustainable, unless you lay down some self support and peer support too.

    Stages and steps are necessary for not feeling overwhelmed...
    thanks for the clarification & reminder - 3/2/2012   9:09:47 PM
  • 45
    Great analogy, and the pictures are worth 1000 words. - 3/2/2012   8:48:13 PM
  • 44
    Great blog! I loved the analogy you used and the pictures were a great visual. I have been disappointed with the scale the last few weeks as I am a stand still. But my measurements keep changing so I am going in the right direction. I just have to keep on with the patience. - 3/2/2012   3:31:41 PM
    Great Blog! Just what I needed today! Thank You! - 3/2/2012   12:29:43 PM
  • 42
    I certainly agree with you. I have been on and off diets for about 30 yrs. I thought the devil had a permanent place on my shoulder. Lost 70# twice, regained with + back. Now am learning to alter my life style and I am going S L O W!!! Habits die hard and going slow helps me adjust my life. Keep it up You can do it!!! - 3/2/2012   10:19:16 AM
    Great concept, really like your perspective on losing weight!
    Thanks so much for helping us see things in a different way! - 3/2/2012   9:47:24 AM
  • 40
    Thanks so very much for sharing this perspective. My personal visual is the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz. - 3/2/2012   9:44:17 AM
    Such a great perspective! - 3/2/2012   4:04:17 AM
  • 38
    ''We’re all just one small adjustment away from making our lives work!''--Tosca Reno. Excellent. Your blog is very meaningful to me today.

    I'm also remembering the construction of a small hospital where we existed for 28 years and that they experienced a tornado there yesterday. I am reminded that different faces/facades can be seen when experienced from different angles and that they are all part of the whole. - 3/1/2012   11:37:59 PM
  • 37
    As always right on and so inspirational. - 3/1/2012   8:35:53 PM
  • 36
    I follow my favorite quote "If you don't like starting over, then don't quit." - 3/1/2012   8:09:16 PM
  • 35
    This time around, I have the mindset that it will take time. And low and behold, it is moving rather quickly! At least it seems to be. I'm setting up shop for maintenance as I'm building my new building. Thanks for the great visual! It will help remind me to keep building for that long term maintenance, not just for the moment. - 3/1/2012   5:27:53 PM
  • 34
    What a great boost this blog gave me today. It was exactly what I needed! Thank you for putting your thoughts so expertly into words. - 3/1/2012   3:10:50 PM
  • 33
    And like so many projects, they can get off course, they require project changes, etc, etc. For me, that is what my journey to healthiness has been all about. Steps in the right direction, some detours, some changes, but finally the hard work and the lessons learned are starting to pay dividends! - 3/1/2012   2:00:28 PM
  • MARGO2012
    Thank you for your insure, it helps to get another perspective. - 3/1/2012   1:13:01 PM
  • 31
    I was feeling depressed about the scale staying the same this week; this blog came at just the right time. I now have this mental image of setting up a "maintainence department" in my brain. So necessary! Thank you! - 3/1/2012   12:57:59 PM
  • 30
    Small steps and adjustments need to continually be made, even after you've reached your weight loss goals. That's why I liked reading about your metaphor to the maintenance dept. at the hospital.

    Right now I am in maintenance mode in a more serious way: I am 13 pounds over my goal weight and need to make a conscious effort to lose that weight again. Truth be told, it has crept up slowly over the past year.

    Ongoing maintenance (with little tiny adjustments) is just a fact of life. If I have lost the weight before, I can do it again. Just need to take small mindful acts like tracking and watching what I eat each and every day.

    Thanks for your blog! - 3/1/2012   12:39:59 PM
    I really enjoyed this blog and this is my fist time I felt to respond to a blog. My weight loss journey at SP started April 22, 2010. And it took one brick at a time to reach my goal weight on January 22, 2011. Now I have been successful maintaing that weight. Now I have the confidence to start a new building ~ finishing my college education. The tools I learned on SP will carry over to my goal of getting a college degree! One step at a time one brick at a time! I have an eight year plan under construction. - 3/1/2012   12:35:54 PM
  • 28
    Great blog -- I've always loved the 'small adjustment' theory... There is a fantastic quote about that from an astronaut...something about how miniscule corrections are made in space travel in just milliseconds...failure to adjust can send them careening off into space!! Thanks for sharing. :) - 3/1/2012   12:29:43 PM
  • 27
    Thank you for this blog. I have been struggling with the slowness of my weight loss. One step in front of the other enjoy the journey. - 3/1/2012   12:15:43 PM
  • 26
    Small steps or adjustments are sometimes the hardest - 3/1/2012   12:11:31 PM
  • 25
    What a great blog! It is such an appropriate metaphor for our journey to a healthy lifestyle and ongoing maintenance. - 3/1/2012   11:45:52 AM
  • 24
    Thank you for the reminder. Small steps can take you far. - 3/1/2012   11:45:48 AM
  • 23
    Thank you for this. I have been really struggling about getting back out there and I get discouraged at times. - 3/1/2012   11:44:45 AM
  • BZ1005
    Love It! Thank you for a great article!!! Very motivating and oh so true.... - 3/1/2012   10:49:53 AM
  • 21
    Great today's society it seems we want everything now....including a new svelte body. This article helped put things in perspective not tackled before....Thank you.... - 3/1/2012   10:43:05 AM
  • 20
    This is a very encouraging article. I tend to get very discouraged when I don't see the results on the scale. It's hard to stay focused on the long term goal. I have grasped the fact that it is small steps, one step at a time, but again, I tend to want immediate results. Thank you for this wonderful reminder. - 3/1/2012   10:18:35 AM
  • 19
    Well, there is a difference. On you're grassy plot you're building something New. In weight loss, you're starting with an out-of-shape overweight building, and trying to take away, not add to. I think it's easier construct than to destruct. In saying this, I haven't lost the thought of what you are saying: that it takes time, planning and adjustments. - 3/1/2012   10:14:58 AM
  • 18
    What an awesome way to put things in perspective! - 3/1/2012   10:06:21 AM
  • 17
    Yesterday was a good example of slow progress for me. I had an appointment an hour away and passed my two favorite donut shops, both on the way there and the way back. I thought a lot about stopping and buying some. But I also thought about what the aftermath of that would feel like...stomach cramps, uncomfortable fullness...not to mention the mental fallout of feeling like I blew it. I knew as good as the donuts would taste in the moment I didn't want any of those consequences, so I didn't stop. At the end of the day my calories were still over where they need to be for weight loss, more in the maintenance range, but they were all from healthy foods. So yesterday didn't directly get me one step closer to the number I'd like to reach on the scale, but it also didn't get me further from it. But mentally I practiced making good decisions for my long-term health and well-being, and every time I do that it becomes that much easier to do so again. - 3/1/2012   9:40:04 AM
  • 16
    This is a great article & expressed the SP journey expertly!! - 3/1/2012   9:38:43 AM
  • 15
    Truly one step at a time does work, it's "harder" than the miracle "cures" we see on TV, but works better in the end. Who knew the tortoise and the hare story I heard as a child would have so much bearing in my life now. - 3/1/2012   9:38:21 AM
    Great message. I finally broke the all or none mentality this year. I've set a goal to complete my weight loss by the end of the year. - 3/1/2012   9:34:34 AM
  • 13
    Yeah, I can attest to that. It's more about the consistency than about the intensity of effort. I lost all this weight one pound at a time. Sometimes a fraction of a pound at a time.

    Sometimes there were setbacks, too. But I kept getting up and pushing forward. And here I am! - 3/1/2012   9:23:36 AM
  • 12
    Thank you for this. We all need to keep in mind our original idea that this wasn't going to be a "right now" thing. Any time I think "When will this end?" I have to remember the answer is "never". And I need to be happy about that or I'm doing something wrong. - 3/1/2012   9:09:33 AM
  • 11
    A lot of little steps can certainly add up to a LOT! - 3/1/2012   9:05:48 AM
  • 10
    So true .Real change takes time .One step at a time. - 3/1/2012   8:32:17 AM
  • 9
    I just did my weekly weigh in and was feeling frustrated that I am the same weight as last week...then this blog popped up on my homepage and made me feel so much better! Thank you! - 3/1/2012   8:18:13 AM
  • 8
    I love this blog!!! That is my new way of looking at my losing weight.....I am BUILDING a new lifestyle!!!!! - 3/1/2012   8:07:45 AM
  • 7
    "big progress can be made over time with small adjustments and continuous effort"
    Thanks!! I needed that!! What a great blog. - 3/1/2012   8:04:09 AM
  • 6
    I really needed to hear this! Thank you for putting things into perspective for me. I am a work in progress! What a great feeling to really understand what that means! - 3/1/2012   7:59:54 AM
  • 5
    Thanks for the words, "lifelong"! - 3/1/2012   7:52:44 AM

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