Small Changes, Lasting Results
People want big results, fast. We live in a world where many things are instantaneous. We have Amazon Prime, Netflix, and SkipTheDishes. It is pretty much instant gratification. When it comes to weight loss, people also want quick results. Often one of two responses happen. Either they don’t see immediate weight loss and give up. Or they lose weight quickly only to re-gain it again. I want to encourage you that lasting, long-term results come with small changes.
In our quick-fix society, is it any wonder that only half the population gets the recommended amount of physical activity? Exercise requires effort.
Mike Kelly (IG: @cynicaltrainer) asks, “Do fit people really love exercising?”
He argues, “They do not. What they love, is the after effects of exercise.”
Benefits of Exercise
Here is what people love:
- The satisfaction of finishing
- Having increased functional ability
- Weight loss
- Increased basal metabolic rate
- Increased strength
- Improved aesthetics and self-esteem
- Decreased health problems
- A way to combat stress
We know that exercise has undeniable benefits. Yet our world is facing an obesity epidemic. Obviously it is easier to sit on the couch and watch tv and eat ultra-processed foods.
ParticipACTION’s 2021 report card on physical activity for adults found that only 12% of adults achieve less than 8 hours of sedentary time in a day. In other words, 88% of the population is sedentary for more than 8 hours a day.
Physical inactivity costs the Canadian healthcare system $29 billion per year.
Why are we so stuck?
Part of the problem is diet and transformation culture. People expect that they can go on a diet for a few weeks and lose the weight. It may have taken months and years to gain the weight, but there is still an expectation of quick weight loss.
There may be a few reasons why quick weight loss is not sustainable.
- The diet is too severe. Even if it works for a while, eventually people have to go back to eating more, which may mean eating the way they did that caused them to gain weight in the first place.
- Diets may slow the metabolism. The body will try harder to store energy as fat and not let it go.
- Diets are hard. The brain does not want to be in a caloric deficit.
The other part of the problem has to do with behaviour change. There is not a lack of knowledge that exercise is beneficial. We all know exercise is healthy. There is, perhaps, a feeling of being unable or unwilling to do something about it. We call that ambivalence, or feeling stuck.
The motivation for change has to come down to your deeper values.
What is important to you about being healthy? Do you want to live to see your grandchildren? Do you want to have quality of life so that you can tie your own shoes?
Top athletes push themselves, NOT because it is always fun, but because they have internalized the importance of the action. Eventually this leads to enjoyment of the outcome, and enjoyment of the process, which reinforces the motivation.
Habits: Small Changes
It really comes down to habits.
We cannot get rid of old habits. We can only create new ones.
Nathalie Plamondon-Thomas , author of the THINK Yourself® series, teaches about this change of mindset. Tell yourself, “The old me [would do such and such habit]. “The new me [is going to do such and such habit]”.
“The old me would have stayed up too late watching Netflix. The new me is going to bed on time.”
That is how we acknowledge and create new habits.
Fitness and healthy living has to become a life long habit. It is not a one-time, short-term thing.
We need to create habits that we can sustain for a lifetime: Small changes, lasting results.
This is something Darya Rose calls Home Court Habits. Once you have developed your home court habits, weight control will be relatively effortless. It does not require thought or willpower. It becomes automatic. You don’t have to eat perfectly all of the time, but you do eat well most of the time. You find activities that you enjoy, and you stick to them.
Mike’s tips for long term success
- Set your expectations lower
- Find a workout partner (or trainer) for motivation and accountability, that makes you feel good to be around.
- Give yourself at least 3 months to see some change
- If it took you 5 years to get unfit, sustainable change won’t happen overnight
- It is okay to carry some extra weight, as long as it doesn’t negatively affect your functionality.
Bonus – Give yourself self-affirmation. Say it out loud to yourself!
Small Changes, Lasting Results
Some transformation coaches will sell you a workout plan and a meal plan to follow.
At Vital Active Living, we believe in small, sustainable habits:
- Workouts that you can fit into your schedule, that you know you can accomplish.
- Eating patterns that involve making one small change at a time.
Everyone is different. Each of our clients have a different “One Thing” that they are working on. What is your “One Thing” that you can focus on that will help you to be healthier?
Contact us for a free consultation to begin your journey to a healthier you!