Friday, August 5, 2011

You Can Change But...

I am an old dog who learned a new trick. 

I lost over twenty pounds this summer.  It was the first time I changed my diet in my life.  At 47, I was 229 pounds - too beefy to run consistently given numerous knee and ankle surgeries.  It was a frustrating cycle.  I thought I could lose weight by working out harder - but every time I increased the intensity of my workouts - I hurt myself.  I tore calf muscles, my knee's swelled, my ankle swelled, my back hurt because my legs were weak - it sucked. I never could get any consistency or intensity to burn any real weight.  It took fifteen years for me to commitment to a different action plan.  I had to eat differently. 

Why did it take fifteen years?   I didn't want to do the work; I was in a comfort zone.  Real change takes real work. But if you're ready -  here are some steps to make a change for yourself or your team.

1) Find your inspirational success story.

My inspirations were Marylee and Charlie Walls my brother and sister in law.  They were on the "17 day diet".  They were losing weight.  They looked great.  They explained the diet, the challenges of making it work, their personal experiences, and their goals.  Their success inspired me to act.  They created a new possibility for me.

2) You need new knowledge; get a map.

Once I was committed to a change in eating habits, I needed to find a diet that would work for me. I needed something that would change the way I ate in order to keep the weight off.  I wanted to evolve - not just lose a few pounds.  I checked out a few diets.  I weighed the pro and cons with my self taught nutritionist wife - and chose the "17 day diet plan" as my map.  The plan was simple, sustainable, and doable for me.  I had a my road map.

3)  Find a partner.   

It's always easier to stay on track when you don't want to let someone else down or you want to beat someone.  Competition and companionship are good when you're trying to make big changes.  Fear of failure may give you just enough drive to take another step forward.  This was easy for me.  My wife has tried to change my diet for twenty years.  She would try any common sense eating method to get me to eat better.  Besides, it was her idea to try the "17 day diet" in the first place. 

4)  Be Disciplined.

Change requires new discipline.  You have to break old habits to create new habits.  I had to give up all the things I love to eat and drink - carbs, sugar, alcohol, steak ....etc (is there anything else?)  It's amazing how hard it is to leave a comfort zone.  It requires a new mind set to succeed.  You have to be be strong enough to deny yourself short term satisfaction to reach your long term goals.

5)  You will need fortitude.

The pain and misery are evident long before significant results.  You will need to develop a new level of fortitude to stay the course and overcome the mental and physical challenges posed by a big shift in your life.  There is a mental tipping point when your results inspire you but this takes time, effort, and hard work to reach.  Most people take the first four steps but don't have the tenacity to stick with their plan; they can't do the work to succeed.  But success is a gift in itself - when you change you gain confidence and competence to evolve in many other aspects of your life and you serve as an inspiration for others.

You can make big changes in your life if you're willing to do the work and follow a few simple (often uncomfortable) steps to success.  I know - I just did it.  I hope you can too.

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