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Baby Steps

Friday, January 13, 2012

I find the hardest part about changing habits are those first few baby steps. They're the hardest to complete, the most overwhelming, the most daunting. And they shouldn't be, because once you take those few little steps towards change, the next little step is no longer a hurdle but a natural succession to the little changes you've made before.

Take diet, for example. We're fat because we eat too much. Most of us know it. More of us still have a pretty good idea of how to change it.

So why do we stay fat?

Mind over matter, my friends. You cannot honestly sit there and tell me that you do not have the ability to resist overindulging in (insert weakness here). I mean, what will happen if you buy a snack size bag of potato chips, instead of the bigger one, and eat them slowly, enjoy them, and move on? What will happen if you have only one cookie, and then make yourself a cup of tea and relax, instead of eating half the box? Will you explode? Of course not. Will you starve? Obviously not, there are thousands of lower calorie/higher nutritional value foods that would fill you up more than any of that processed garbage.

So what is it we are afraid of?

If you read this and have an answer, I'd really love to hear it!

I have had such a hard time taking those first baby steps, regaining control of my eating habits and staying within a certain calorie range, for example. But, I'm doing it! I don't know what happened, exactly, but something just clicked into place inside my head. Instead of focusing on food, I enjoy it mindfully. I don't eat when I'm not hungry - this was my first baby step, and it's made all the difference. It made me realize how certain stresses triggered a desire for sweets and other empty calories. How seeing onion rings on TV made me want to go and get some, even though I had just finished a meal and was not physically hungry. It made me realize that I can eat any food I desire, in moderation, and still be on the right road to the results I want. I had conditioned my body to expect a treat when my mind was under stress, to eat more than would leave me satisfied if the food was really delicious. It takes time to unlearn these bad habits, but anything is possible.

What was I afraid of? I have taken a few baby steps towards creating a different way of living and have lost 11lbs so far this month (reaching my first mini weight goal)! And you know what? No big deal! Of course there are more steps I hope to take to focus on my health and well-being, but this is a start.

So if you went over your calorie budget for breakfast this morning, or ate that (whatever!) because it really just looked delicious, give yourself a break! No need to give up today. Don't start again tomorrow. Put it in your food tracker, and make sure you eat your veggies first at dinner tonight. Stop when you are full. And relax! Baby steps, guys. Take one small step and the rest will flow.
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