Did ANYONE keep a food diary? Even for a few days?
Even if you didn’t – you are still allowed to read this column! And keep the idea of writing down everything you eat in mind for times when you suspect that your diet needs improving. Maybe you can’t figure out why you are not losing weight even though you have increased your mileage. Maybe you have lost weight that you don’t need or want to lose (there are such lucky people in our running community)…. Maybe you are having digestive problems that are affecting your running or racing. You get the idea. Seeing what you are doing on paper can give you a new perspective– or you can share your food diary with another for THEIR perspective.
I don’t care how bad your eating habits are, but I would like to challenge you to make ONE SMALL CHANGE. Why only one, and why a small change? Because you are more likely to be successful, and I want to set you up for success – not failure. We all have known people who have made a gargantuan new year’s resolution to get fit, lose weight, save money, spend more time with their families and meditate for 20 minutes every day. But how long does it last? Probably until about the Tuesday after their first Monday back at work.
Leo Babauta writes a fabulous blog called zenhabits.net, and it is from him that I shamelessly got this idea. He recommends that you make one small change for a month, until it becomes second nature. Once one change has been made and it has become a habit, then you can add in a second change. Do this for a few years, and your life can change dramatically. He says that the principles that have allowed him to make repeated improvements in his life are:
- Start very small.
- Do only one change at a time.
- Be present and enjoy the activity (don’t focus on results).
- Be grateful for every step you take.
For example, maybe for this month you want to start only having one caffeinated drink a day. If you are someone who is used to having 4-5 coffees a day, then this will be a challenge. So on second thought, you might want to change it to two caffeinated drinks a day. It might be hard at first, but if this is the only change that you are focusing on making, then after a month you will probably be comfortable with this, and consider it your ‘new normal’. The next month you might want to aim to cut it down to one caffeinated drink a day. And then when you are comfortable with that, for the next month you can decide that you want to switch to having your coffee black. [Why do I suggest this to some people? Anyone who knows me or who has seen the contents of my fridge knows that I am a huge fan of dairy products, but the calories in drinks can really add up – often without fulfilling your hunger. So having a goal of eating and not drinking your calories can be a relatively easy way to weight loss].
How do you choose what change to make? Let it fit into the ‘vision’ of how you want to be eating, and then go for it!
Another thing that Babauta recommends is making a public commitment. Anyone want to commit to what their small change is going to be? Post it on the SWEAT Village on Facebook. And if you are not a member, then please join….