When I decided I wanted to start losing weight I did my research. I looked into diets, exercise plans, and asked my friends what they found that worked. There was some trial and error, mostly error, but I found my way.
Looking back now, there were three, seemingly small steps I took to start the process. These are steps I still follow to this day. At the time they felt large, but after a short while I barely missed them, and now I barely notice.
NO MORE FAST-FOOD
This was a tough one to start with for two reasons: I’m cheap and I was on the road a lot. Those value menus and drive-thru’s were heaven for me. When you’re driving from St. Paul, MN to Des Moines, IA and you don’t want to add even more time onto a boring drive, a McDonald’s drive-thru was great, and plentiful.
Three bucks tied me over until I got to my destination. However, the problem was that’s three bucks of low-grade, God-knows-what. It definitely wasn’t doing me any favors, and it wasn’t that cheap in the long-run. If I averaged three stops a week, that came out to $468 a year, to make myself unhealthy. And three times a week is being conservative.
Substitution: Now I go with some trail mix (small bag) and a banana or two. While trail mix isn’t quite like celery, it’s better for you and gives you that sweet and salty your body wants. Plus bananas are cheap as Hell.
NO MORE POP/SODA
I’m from Michigan, so I say pop, plus Faygo Rock & Rye is the truth! Anyway, that stuff is horrendous for you. Let’s ignore the preservatives, dyes, and fillers for a moment. Each can of coke still has close to 40 grams of sugar…40?!?!?!
If you drink a can a day you can cut out over 2,000 grams of sugar from your diet. That’s insane. Same goes with most energy drinks and a lot of juices as well. This is one of the best ways to cut out calories.
Substitution: Sadly for this one, there isn’t much of a substitute. There are some sugar free options out there but you have to be careful and read labels. Some of the best advice I got from a friend was “Don’t drink your calories.” Black coffee, unsweetened iced tea, water, etc.
NO MORE ELEVATORS
This one is pretty simple. Taking the stairs is better for you than the elevator. Now if you have to get up to the 12th floor, maybe take the elevator. However, if you work on the third floor, why not try it? It requires very little effort and can often save time. When I get into our HQ and there’s a line at the elevator I can usually make it to the fourth floor before the elevator.
Substitution: In terms of getting up to the floor you need, nothing. However, if you work on a floor too high, you can try going for walks on your break. Get the blood flowing and some fresh air never hurts.
Doing one of these will get you some results, but if you do all three for a month you will see results for sure. But you have to do them for a whole month. Not “Oh I had one coke this week” or “Well I just got two things from McDonalds.”
This isn’t forever though. Occasionally I’ll have a coke (typically with some Jack Daniels) or swing into a Taco Bell. As Oscar Wilde said “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” But you have to kick-start it with some cold-turkey sacrifice or you won’t see any results, let alone quick ones.