When it Comes to Weight Loss Goals: Choose ONE Thing

Why all you need to do is focus on one thing when losing weight, and not your entire lifestyle.

February tends to be the month we lose steam in terms of our weight loss goals. All that energy and willpower we had at the beginning of the year is quickly fading–when in fact this is the most crucial time to keep our head in the game, or as an old man at the gym told me the other day, “Keep your eye on the ball.”

The High

I’ve had countless “day ones,” and gone up and down the same pounds for years. I start with great willpower because I go all in.

When I say I would go all in, I would completely change my diet and exercise routine. Years ago it would be super restrictive, sometimes to the latest fad diet that would promise  quick 10 pound weight loss. “Oh, a good jumpstart!” I would think. And I’d force myself to do a certain amount of time working out, even the times I was working out.

It All Falls Down

Those drastic changes are only sustainable for so long. And what happens when we get exhausted is we go back to old habits quickly and potentially put on all of the weight we lost, and then even more.

The the low hits. You give up. You went from feeling pretty good to quickly feeling awful. Awful that you gave up, awful physically because you’ve incorporated worse foods multiple times a day back into your diet and you’re just stalling.

The All or Nothing Mentality

In my opinion, the cycle happens with an “all or nothing” mentality. You want to be fit now. You want to look the way you want to look now. You have to make drastic changes now to get to where you want to be later, which you want to happen ASAP.

That doesn’t work for many people.

The “slow and steady” mindset is so hard. It is. You want the results to happen fast, but the truth is, nothing happens fast.

I kick myself now thinking “if I’d just taken it slower years ago, I wouldn’t be still trying so hard now.”

Think about it.

Pick One Thing

I listen to the Primal Potential podcast, which over the course of the last few months, has REALLY helped me get in the game mentally.

One of the first things that she said that I’ve been working on this year is to choose one thing to change. Just one. Don’t change your entire diet and working out routine all at the same time. Pick one goal. You can do many other things–but as long as you do the one thing you have decided to put your mind to–that’s all that matters.

For me, it was working out. I’ve never been consistent with it. That’s the one area where I’ve allowed myself to give up, so I decided this year to work out five times a week. That’s my thing.

Have I been perfect? No. But most weeks, I do get five days in. And I’ve never missed a Monday. I saw that posted once and have vowed to never miss a Monday. I feel it really kicks off the week for me.

Experimenting to Make the “One Thing” Happen

I’ve started experimenting around to see how to make it easier to work out five days a week.

For starters, my company has a treadmill desk that I walk on five days a week. That’s the only way I’ll get my 10,000 steps in a day. I know many workplaces don’t have that perk. So for that very reason, I take advantage of it every day.

Second, I wanted to try to get more time back in my day. I’ve tried working out in the mornings, but that’s not for me. I lose steam there fast. In the evenings though, it felt so late.

Last fall when I was learning about weight lifting on a few podcasts I listen to, and trying to find more time in my day, I thought about joining a gym. I had never had a gym membership, I thought the expense was too frivolous when I had a treadmill in my building’s gym, or workout videos at home. But I didn’t like those. And I always had to do those after work since I didn’t like working out before work.

There was a new YMCA opening up in my area that I was super interested in so I decided to try the gym membership. Where I live, you can go to any YMCA in the area. It hit me to try working out during my lunch breaks. A couple co-workers had done/do that, and I thought “what could it hurt to try?”

Sure enough, it has worked out really well. It took me a few weeks to get into a good routine but I’ve mastered getting a quick workout in and back to work quickly.

To Sum Things Up

Since making a conscious effort to hit my goal of working out five times a week, it’s actually made the other things easier. I’m not perfection weekends but throughout the week stay within my eating goals, drink almost all my water and more throughout the week. I’m sure it was because that’s what I had focused on in the past. But it has been easier to do now.

So if you’re feeling like giving up, or you are just trying to challenge yourself, just pick one thing. Anything. But just one thing to focus on for the next month. Everything else is a bonus, but set a realistic goal for the next month and stick to it. Maybe it’s eating within a certain caloric range, working out, cutting out sugary soda, sleeping seven to eight hours, etc. Whatever you need to work on, just focus on the one thing. You may do other things but there’s only one thing to do each week–your goal.

Featured image photo credit: Ms. Phoenix via Visual hunt / CC BY

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