We have all heard the saying "You have to learn to crawl before you can walk." This phrase has very special meaning to me right now as I watch my little boy experiment with all kinds of creative modes of forward motion including his speed crawl, bear crawl, pushing around laundry baskets, and circling the entire perimeter of a room clinging to furniture and walls so he doesn't have to get on his knees. He is so close to figuring out this walking thing. He didn't get to this point over night though. He has been working towards walking since he was in utero. I know that not all babies crawl before they walk, but they all have to learn a lot of things first. In the past 7 months I have gotten so excited over all of my son's mini milestones. He first learned to hold his head up without support, then he was able to swat at a toy with his arm, he learned to kick his legs, he rolled over, he learned to hold his chest off the ground when on his tummy, he sat without support, then he started leaning forward from sitting to get onto all fours. It's not that impressive that he can hold his head up now, but it was a big deal when he was a newborn.
At the risk of sounding like a cheesy motivational speaker, I want to apply this to life in a broader way. Do some goals seem like too much for you right now? I felt this way when I started my weight loss journey. At the time it seemed too overwhelming to make so many changes. The truth is you don't have to switch from a diet of McDonald's to a raw food vegetarian overnight. I hate diet plans that rigidly expect you to completely transform your diet and lifestyle with the flip of a switch. It's just not realistic. Instead of an All-or-Nothing mindset, why don't you focus on making just one extra good decision a day. Get just a burger instead of a value meal. I know what you're thinking. This crazy lady is saying you can lose weight eating fast food burgers for lunch. No, that's not what I'm saying... I'm saying baby steps. If you can't give up the whole value meal, stop eating the french fries. You will realize you didn't need them anyways. Then you may find you would rather get a salad. You can apply it to exercise too. You don't have to go from a couch potato to a marathon runner overnight. Just get up a do a few loads of laundry. Turn the TV off and turn on some music. These are incredibly easy baby steps. You will be surprised how these little first steps will make you want more. You don't have to be just starting out to use this baby step philosophy either. No matter where you are in your journey you can always do one more little thing, so try it out.
Here are my little tips to starting out:
1. Don't be so hard on yourself. A negative attitude will get you nowhere. Tell yourself that you can do it. It may seem silly but it makes a really big difference. Talk to yourself like you would talk to a friend. If your friend is having a tough time, you wouldn't say "It's not worth trying, you're just going to fail." (If you would you probably don't have many friends.)
2. Set a small goal. You may want to lose 80 pounds or run a half marathon but that is going to take a while. Why don't you pick a small goal like losing 10 pounds or jogging 4 miles 3 days a week. These smaller goals will feel good to achieve and fuel your confidence for reaching bigger goals.
3. Don't let slips and hang-ups discourage you. You are not going to be perfect. My son falls over ten-thousand times per day but he gets right back up and tries again. If you do slip up, don't let it ruin the rest of your day. So you had a brownie for breakfast, it wasn't a great choice but that doesn't mean that you should give up and order a family-sized pizza for dinner. Take it one step and one choice at a time.
4. Start now. It is so easy to put it off. "I will start after my vacation", after my birthday, after Thanksgiving, after Christmas, after New Year's, after.... How about right now. You aren't doing yourself any favors by coming up with excuses, just take that first step now.
And in closing, I leave you with this recipe I swiped from someone else's blog, who apparently stole it from skirt.com:
3 cups cubed chilled watermelon
1 cup coconut water
squeeze of fresh lime
Ice if needed
Sprig of mint
Put all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth.
Makes two servings.
90 calories per serving.
Note: I made this today and it was quite delicious. Of course I love watermelon, and I think coconut water is magical stuff. I did not have mint but it was still tasty. It didn't look like this picture though. It was a much deeper red color (I found a lovely deep red, super sweet watermelon) and it had a lot of watermelon pulp in it. If you don't like pulp you may want to strain this. I happen to like watermelon pulp though. I also spiked a glass of this with some dark rum so if there are typos in this post you will know why. ;-)