Two Promises You Can Make To Yourself to Help You Make Changes You Will Stick With

Monday, April 30, 2012

I think we’ve all been there. I know I have, more times than anyone can probably get me to admit. For me, I’d be cruising along living life any dang way I wanted, eating cheeseburgers and sucking down sugared sodas while watching the world go by out my window, and mocking the walkers/joggers/cyclers/stroll
er moms, etc. until I’d get one of the following wake-up calls:

•A horror story on the news about an obese person.

•A person at the grocery store waddling around with a fat roll hanging over their shoes.

•An infomercial convincing me I could have tight toned abs and anything else in life my heart desired, if I’d just buy their product.

•The sad/resigned look on my doctor’s face when he looked at my chart.

•My child being made fun of at school, because his/her mom was a “fatty patty”.

When one of these things happened, I’d berate myself and commit to changing everything about my life the next day (or usually the next Monday) and off I’d go in my shiny new gym clothes and brand new Addidas to turn my life around again overnight.


Starve myself eating just fruits and vegetables;

Give up soda cold turkey;

Work out like a mad woman for hours every single day;

Banish all the junk food from the house;

Read every single thing on weight loss I could.....

For one whole week!

Then, tired, sore, burned out, and deprived, I’d get on the scale and see a 1 lb weight loss, throw my hands up in the air, grab a carton of ice cream, and sit my butt on the couch, resigned to my old way of life and feeling horrible about myself because I didn’t have the willpower or the ability to change my life.

Until the next wake-up call came, then it was rinse and repeat all of the above. The only thing that changed was the flavor of ice cream I’d binge on, and my ever ever increasing waist line.

Then, I had one of those light bulb moments you hear people talk about, but never ever witness or get yourself, and I made two promises to myself:

Promise #1 - “I’m never changing anything I can’t see myself keeping for life.”

When someone recommends I do something, or I read about the latest and greatest health/weight loss idea that seems to make sense, I try it and then ask myself “Can I see myself doing this every day for the rest of my life?”

If the answer is no, I don’t do it. Period. End of story.

Eat yogurt every day for breakfast? Um…nope.

Do 45 burpees three times a week? Yeah – not. (I despise burpees!)

Walk on the treadmill every day at lunch? Hmm. Yep. I can do that.

Limit my diet soda intake to 1 a week? Yeah. Not a problem.

Never eat bread again? Nope. I love bread. Not giving it up.

Get the idea?

There are way too many healthy food and exercise options out there for us to force ourselves to eat things or do things we don’t like and enjoy. Change is hard enough. If you find changes you like, that don’t feel like a hardship, or don’t bore you to tears or feel like torture, and you make only those changes, you’re setting yourself up for success instead of failure.

Promise #2 - “I’m only changing one thing at a time. Once a change becomes a habit, I’ll make another change.”

We’ve all heard that slow and steady wins the race, and that the weight didn’t come on overnight so we shouldn’t expect it to come off overnight, but let’s face it: We live in an instant gratification, 30-second cheeseburger world, and we are raised to believe that fast is better than slow, and that winners multi-task and go balls out.

Well, guess what? In weight loss, multi-tasking balls out behavior eventually equals weight gain. Plain and simple.

So, I made a list of everything I knew I wanted to change (and could see myself changing forever), I prioritized them, and started with priority 1. Once priority 1 became a habit (usually took me about two weeks), then I moved on to priority 2, and so on.

My initial list:

1) Drink 8 glasses of water a day instead of soda
2) Get 7.5 hours of sleep every night – no matter what
3) Walk the dog every night for 30 minutes
4) Eat a healthy protein filled breakfast
5) Work out at the gym for an hour 3 days a week
6) Take exercise classes twice a week

So, if you’re on the same weight loss, health-binging roller coaster I was on for many years, or you watch Dr. Oz religiously (the man is brilliant, but I don't want to take 5 minute cold showers every morning and swallow raspberry pills) make yourself these two promises, and then make your list, and get started.

But start slow, ok? You’ll be glad you did. I know I am! :)
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • BUTTERFLY-1976
    Great Blog!!!
    3298 days ago
  • no profile photo CD12317171
    I LOVE sparkpeople. I have found likewise individuals that know exactely what I have been through, and exactely where I am heading. I finally feel like I am not alone, and everyone makes me realize that I can do this. This is the 1st time that I have committed to change that I actually know that I will succeed. Thank you for your awesome blog!
    3298 days ago
    Promise #1 has really helped keep things in perspective for me this time around, and I am happy for success without feeling deprived. Excellent blog!
    3298 days ago
    Made me laugh with the cold showers and raspberry pills!!!! You sure are on the right track! I had a hard time sticking with Weight Watchers cause it was someone else telling me what to do... now that I am making my own plan and slowly making changes I can live with I am succeeding and ENJOYING it! Dance video where tiny women do tricky moves making me feel stupid? Not happening. Me on the treadmill listening to Bruce Springsteen and pumping my fist in the air - definitely!!!
    3298 days ago
    emoticon blog!!
    3298 days ago
    This is a fantastic blog! I completely agree one only making changes you want to do for the rest of your life. Along with consistency, sustainability is a HUGE word in my vocabulary. Way to go!
    3298 days ago
    Great Blog!! emoticon
    3298 days ago
    Great ideas!
    3299 days ago
    Love it. emoticon
    3299 days ago
    Sounds like an excellent plan.
    3299 days ago
    Um - I thnk you were describing me!! (especially the part about the wake-up call causing a drastic call to action!) Great advice. I am really thinking about those two promises. It is time that I stop reaching for someone else's ideal of "the perfect program," and start to make changes tailor made for me.
    3299 days ago
    ANOTHER great blog!

    I too have completely changed my mindset this go-round. I agree that if you can't do it for life, you shouldn't do it at all. I read a blog last week from a 20-something she titled "I'm a worthless failure" because she couldn't stick to some ridiculous low cal, no-carb diet.

    It made me so sad.
    3299 days ago
    emoticon Bright idea!

    I have been on the diet roller-coaster for most of my life also, losing 30-40 pounds then regaining the weight plus a little more.

    This time around, I am changing my lifestyle to eating healthy and getting at least 150 minutes of exercise a week.
    3299 days ago
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