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Successful weight loss happens one step at a time

It never ceases to amaze me how many people are upset at only losing one pound. While it's good to have a big goal some people are so overwhelmed by the size of the task they never even get started because they can't imagine achieving the whole goal. 

They have an idea in their heads of what they want to achieve but because it feels so far away they don't believe they can ever do it.  Many people give up, some never start.  The kindest thing you can do for yourself is to just focus on the first step.


One Step at a Time

Think about this.  Imagine you really want to climb the steps in the Eiffel Tower. You want the achievement of doing the climb and you know the views will be worth it. Then you look at tower and you learn that there 704 steps to climb (115m).

How many of you would say that you can't do it?  

How do you feel about the thought of climbing 704 steps?

Would you try or would you take the lift?

What if I asked you to just to focus on climbing the first step? 

How confident do you feel about that?

What if I then asked you to do that 10 times?  

How easy is that?  I imagine you could do it without much difficulty.

So now you know you can easily do 10 steps.

Now you know you can do 10 steps what about doing that amount 10 times?

You can pause between each lot of ten. How long would it take?

30 seconds for 10 steps is quite generous but let's go with that and let's allow 30 seconds between each set of ten. That's 10 minutes of climbing with equal time climbing to resting to do 100 steps.

So now we know it would take  around 70 minutes to climb the steps in the Eiffel Tower.

Seems achievable now?

Even if you allowed an extra 20 minutes of rest as the steps felt harder towards the top you probably wouldn't need much more than 90 minutes to do the climb, maximum. If you don't want to break a sweat you can climb the steps as slowly as you want as long as you keep moving.

How do you feel about the task now? How different does thinking about each step or each lot of ten feel? How much more confident do you feel about it?

I've done this myself-literally. I signed up to a charity hike but I didn't have much opportunity to practice on the hills. However, I worked in a building with 9 floors and resolved to walk up the 9 floors at least once each day. I didn't try and do all 9 at once. I focused on doing floor at a time. Had I tried to do all 9 in one go I would have almost certainly given up. Even if I had managed it I would have been such a state I wouldn't have enjoyed it. But by focusing on steady progress I got where I wanted to be and I felt fairly comfortable doing it.


It's the same for weight loss. 

How many people do you know that do crash diets, make progress but find it so unenjoyable they don't keep it up?

How many people do you know that achieve rapid weight loss by only eating shakes but put the weight back on when they go back to eating food? 

Everyone wants the quick win but it's only a win if you get to keep the results. Yes it's true we need to see some progress for our efforts to stay motivated but the mistake people make is that they don't recognise success. They focus on the ultimate success and if they haven't got it they want to give up. Along the way, they forget to recognise the little successes. They don't acknowledge each step and celebrate it for what it's worth.

If you need to lose a few stone don't focus on losing all of them. It will seem like a daunting task. You'll give up before you've begun.  The worst thing you can do is tell yourself "I don't believe I can do all of it so I won't do any of it". Just focus on the first milestone.

Once you know how to lose one stone you know how to lose 5, 10 or 15. 
That's why it's disappointing to hear people say "I only lost a pound this week".  Have you seen what one pound of fat looks like (see above)?   Removing that from your body is a huge achievement. Rather than look at it in the scheme of 2 or 3 stone look at it in is own right. Then focus on the next one.

It's good to have a big goal but set yourself up for success. Break it down and decide on the little victories you will mark along the way and remember to celebrate them. It's more likely to succeed, your results last longer and even better it feels nicer for you.