One of the questions I get the most when I tell people that I lost 50 pounds riding my bike, as I am sure you can imagine, is “How did you do it?!”
They want to know what diet I am on. They want to know if I stopped eating carbs. They assume that it was “really hard” and that I had to restrict all of the things.
Honestly? And this might just blow your mind. It wasn’t nearly as hard as I made it out to be in my head.
I have been on a number of diets in the past that have been HARD. Enough to know that hard is not my jam for long term weight loss.
I didn’t have to restrict all of the things.
Additionally, I didn’t stop eating my favorite foods (in fact, I ate kielbasa every day).
So how did I do it? I focused on making small, doable changes. I didn’t do anything to lose weight that I wasn’t willing to do for the rest of my life.
So if you ask if I cut out carbs? The answer is a big fat NOPE.
Did I go on a diet? Absolutely NOT.
Did I count calories? Ummm…. I hate math? So NO.
Curious? Read on for my tips on how to make small changes that lead to BIG results.
#1: Start Small
How many times have you embarked upon a diet or a weight loss program that asked you to do all of the things all at once?
Maybe you had to cut out all the carbs. Or stop drinking alcohol. Or BOTH?
I mean…do you like carbs? Haha if you are anything at all like me the answer is most certainly YES.
Do you like to enjoy the occasional (or more than occasional adult beverage)? I am guessing the answer there too is probably…yes.
If this is you, all of the diets out there that force you to cut out all of the sugar and all of the alcohol are likely not going to work for you.
Will you lose weight at first? Of course!
But, will you gain it all back if you go back to drinking alcohol and eating sugar? Probably.
Instead of restricting all of the things and trying to ride your bike 20 miles a day, what if you were to pick one small thing that you could change?
Something that you will barely even notice?
Maybe something like getting at least 64 oz of water in every day. Or having 2 scoops of ice cream for dessert instead of eating right out of the Ben and Jerry’s container?
These types of changes work over time because they are SMALL, and they are DOABLE, and they are changes that YOU decide to make for yourself.
Tell yourself that “something is better than nothing.” Do NOT listen to that little voice that says, “But I know this isn’t going to have an impact! If I want to lose weight I have to do ALL THE THINGS RIGHT NOW!”
It’s just not true. Start SMALL. And….
#2: Be Consistent
Once you have chosen one thing to change, you focus on that one thing like a BOSS. The idea is to be consistent and make it a habit.
One big trap that we fall into a lot of times when we try to lose weight is to do all of the things all at once. It is almost impossible to be consistent with a bunch of changes long term.
Our brains and our bodies feel deprived of the things we know and love, and even if we get results it can be very hard to maintain them.
When we focus on forming one habit over time by being consistent, we put ourselves on the path to long-lasting change.
It is a lot easier to be consistent with something if it is a small change that you are willing to make forever, not just make until you achieve your goal weight.
When we pick something small, like just having a set amount of chocolate after lunch instead of grabbing the whole bag of sea salt chocolate caramels (so good), we realize that it’s not so bad.
Also, the joy of being consistent is that you start to really trust yourself to get results long term.
You build up the confidence that you CAN do something and stick with it.
When you try to change a bunch of things all at once it is so much harder to be consistent. And when you fail you feel like there is something wrong with YOU, when, in fact you are not the problem.
It’s simply that you tried to change too much too fast.
#3: Pick Easy Things to Change
What I want you to do when you are deciding on something to change, especially in the beginning, is to pick something easy.
Ask yourself, “What is one easy thing that I can do to make today just a little bit better than yesterday?”
Think about different ways you can make it easy. Maybe you decide you want to avoid eating potato chips out of the bag at the end of a long day.
Is this going to be an easy thing for you? If not, HOW can you make it easy?
It was NOT an easy thing for me. At one point in time I was in the habit of buying a bag of Organic Doritos after school (I’m a teacher) and eating at least half the bag on the way home.
When I was tackling this habit I had to ask myself what the easiest way to change it would be.
The easiest way was to pack myself a small bag of chips or Doritos and put it in my lunch bag. I didn’t need to stop at the market and buy chips, I already had some!
Cutting them out completely was not the answer for me at that time (it still isn’t, I still often have a little bag of chips that I packed for myself on the ride home).
I could eat the chips on the way home and still get my salty treat, but not eat mindlessly out of a bag until my tongue literally burned with the salt or the seasonings from the chips.
I made it easy. When we make changes easy, it makes it that much easier to be consistent and lose weight biking.
A Final Note
Patience with your little changes is everything.
Because the changes you are making are small, they add up over time.
That means that you have to get through that time.
There will be times where you get frustrated because you think that what you are doing isn’t enough.
Remember, something is better than nothing. ESPECIALLY when it’s consistent.
Doing something once, twice, even three times?
Probably not enough.
Doing something consistently? When you start adding on more and more of those little changes?
It will be enough. You will lose weight for the last time. Keeping weight off is easy when you have taken small steps consistently. These steps add up to big results.
Once a small change becomes a habit? Pick another. Then another, and another.
If you’re wondering if I still eat kielbasa for breakfast every day, the answer is actually no.
Because, over time, I wasn’t so attached to it and wanted to be healthier. I now have chicken sausage for breakfast just about every day.
It took me almost two years, though, before I had made enough small changes that I was ready for that one.
And, you know what?
I truly don’t even miss it. Because I made that little change when it was easy for me to do it.
(Also, my husband told me he was sick of the house smelling like a diner…so there was THAT!).
Something is always better than nothing. What is one, small change that you can make now, to make today just a little bit better than yesterday?
Start small. Be consistent. Make it easy.
You absolutely can do this, and I am right here, cheering you on, every single step of the way.