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Articles Fitness Nutrition

Small Steps Can Lead to a Big Lifestyle Change

By Michele Batz, Ph.D.

News flash: fad diets and celebrity-endorsed supplements don't help you permanently lose weight. They might help you shed a few pounds quickly but even if they do, you'll find the weight comes right back as soon as you stop taking the pills or go off the grapefruit-only eating plan. What does work?  Simply making small changes in the way you eat and live.  That is the secret!  You make small changes day to day and you'll weigh less and move more.  Why?  Because you'll look and feel better about yourself and the joy will return to your life in a more meaningful way.

How many of you out there have done the following:

1.    You announce that you're on a diet and immediately begin a grueling exercise program and strict diet, only to realize after a week (or less) that you've thrown in the towel because you are hungry, tired, bored and sore?  Go ahead, raise your hand.  There is no judgment here, only common sense help.

Or what about the following scenario, does it sound familiar:

2.    You've gone out to the grocery store with your list in hand to purchase products that you've never even heard of (what is chimichurri?) or you cannot pronounce (quinoa?) and now, you're supposed to be excited about consuming them?  Do you find that you come home and let the new products sit on the shelf, because you don't know how to prepare them?  If this has happened to you, raise your hand in the air and repeat after me, "Stop the craziness!"

What can you do now and not spend a dime?  Just breathe and focus on what one small step you can do today to improve your health.  That could be simply cutting back on the soda you drink.  If you drink four cans per day, today, cut it back to three.  In the next two days, cut it back to two cans of soda a day, continue until you are drinking only one can of soda a day.  That is a huge step.  Why?  Educate yourself and look on the can of soda, right now.  See the label?  What does it say?  How many calories is that can of soda?  How much sugar is in that can?  How many chemicals with a bunch of letters in are in that can? Take a look and just for grins, write down your goal on a sticky note the following goal:  Today I will consume ONLY three cans of soda.  Place that sticky note on the fridge.  Look at that note and do what it says.  Pretty soon, you'll find yourself drinking less soda and maybe in a few months, you'll be down to only drinking soda on a special occasion.  Really!  So, take a small step today.  

In my past experiences with this simple approach, my clients find it opening new doors to them almost immediately.  Because they didn't have to revamp their entire diet or exercise routines to see results, they just had to be patient.  What?  You say  you don't have an exercise routine?  Remember, no judgment, here. How about just for this week, try this:  put on your best pair of tennis shoes and comfortable clothing, head out your front door, keep an open mind and just start to walk around your neighborhood.  Do this only three days a week for 20 minutes.  Then do it for another week, then another and watch what amazing things start happening to your mind, body and spirit.

I had a client who just hated to exercise and we applied this approach to her fitness. Within weeks, I saw a more confident woman willing to accept new challenges in her life. What happened?  Her self worth and self esteem rose, making her feel wonderful and wanting to live a fuller life.  She registered for a yoga class and absolutely loved it.  That led to walking her first 5K race and with that, she gained positive momentum. It was so enjoyable to watch this woman's face being lifted, without going under the knife.  

So, what do you want out of your life?  Do you want to full good about yourself?  Do you want to find more challenges?  It doesn't matter how old you are or what type of fitness level you are at for this moment, all you need to do is to take that first small step.


Michele Batz is a 30-year veteran in the physical education field, with a master's and PhD in holistic nutrition and a master's in Administration. She's been a Fitness writer for the past 7 years to help motivate not just in the physical sense but also the creative. The arts with movement is an element she is working on in her classes and with the help of CATCH (Coordinated Approach To Children's Health) to combine all elements of leading a healthy, active life. CATCH involves the whole school community, physical education teachers, classroom teachers, cafeteria, parents and the community. This is a wonderful way to educate our youth to fight children's obesity. Michele enjoys her life with her husband and son, living in Illinois. Visit her blog at mbatz.blogspot.com.

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