“Resistance is proportionate to the size and speed of the change, not to whether the change is a favorable or unfavorable one.” ~ George Leonard
Said another way, the more you try to change all at once, the faster and harder you will fail at all of it. When it comes to behavior change, less is more. As a fitness coach, I think this is possibly the most critical message I can convey to any client.
Just like our bodies have a set point weight that it’s comfortable at (whether this is a point you desire or not), your mind has a similar comfort level. And since your mind drives your behaviors and behaviors determine things like health outcomes, it’s fair to say that fitness and weight loss is all in your head.
So with this in mind (no pun intended), and armed with the knowledge that less is more, how will you now go about getting to your desired fitness and health goal? The right answer is - as slowly as humanly possible.
This may not be the answer you’re looking for. It will not help you lose 10 lbs in 3 days, but it’s the truth and once you're ready to accept it, it’s going to get you where you want to go.
Slow and steady is the only way to lose this weight race.
Now, you might be thinking that this is not the case with the transformation stories that you hear about on Biggest Loser or the latest diet program that you’ve been investigating, but guess what you don’t see? The after-after picture. That’s the picture that’s taken 6 to 12 months after the first “after” picture where said transformation has magically transformed back to it’s “before” shape. I encourage you to Google what happens to the Biggest Loser contestants after they leave the show. It’s sad.
The irony is that weight loss can be the easiest thing to do in the world if you tackle it at the slowest possible pace and focus on changing one tiny little behavior at a time.
What do I mean by tiny?
- Habit 1 - instead of 2 teaspoons of sugar in your coffee, do one teaspoon of sugar and one sachet of stevia. Repeat for 2 weeks or until taste becomes normal for you. Then replace the other teaspoon of sugar with stevia as well.
- Habit 2 - instead of having a coffee and a snack at 2 pm every day, have a chocolate superfood smoothie. It will keep you fuller longer so you'll eat less at dinner and you still enjoy that sense of having an afternoon "treat".
- Habit 3 - when watching tv, take one commercial break to do 10 air squats. The following week, squat during 2 commercial breaks. Keep building on that habit every week.
You see how small these behavior changes are? The key is that they are so small, you literally cannot get frustrated with them and quit (which is the primary reason we fail to reach our goals). Or at least, it’s really hard to fail. You might forget to do them, but if you set up some accountability and social support to keep them top of mind, that won’t happen.
So think of some small, inconsequential behaviors that you know you can do without too much trouble and just work to make them habits. Then build on that. Just don't do too much all at once.
Remember - resistance is proportional to the size and speed of the change, so less speed and less change = less resistance.
So who’s with me on the path of least resistance?