We’re sharing some awesome weight-loss advice today from Anne Marie Costanzo, an ACE-certified personal trainer and graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She is a mom to two rambunctious boys and can relate to the struggles of trying to balance it all. She created Project Slim Waistline to help bring awareness to how living a healthy and whole foods lifestyle can bring about amazing changes in lives across the globe, one awesome workout and one amazing meal at a time. Um, love that! Read on for why you should be slow and steady, not fast and speedy if you want to lose big.
When It Comes to Weight Loss, Sometimes It’s Best to Think Small to Lose Big
I want you to close your eyes. (Well, wait, not yet, read first, then close.) Okay, when you close your eyes, I want you to picture something small. Something super small … like a piece of dust on your ceiling fan. What starts off as a tiny speck can quickly snowball into a wild west sized-tumbleweed before you know it. Poof! Just like that.
No matter how small something appears to be, given enough time and constant reinforcement, it will grow and bloom. Now that blooming can be beautiful like a flower, or it can be something less beautiful like extra poundage in the mid-section. What we do every single day truly makes a difference, no matter how small it is. It may start off as innocent, mindless even. Take a bite (or handful) of junior’s french fries here; drink that grande double shot butterscotch latte there, and you will find yourself blooming my friend. Gradual, perhaps, but blooming nonetheless.
Not doing small things can also get us into dangerous territory, in a BIG way. Small things like not eating veggies; forgoing breakfast; not taking the stairs; not reading labels. Looking at them solo these things probably seem small, harmless even. But beware, when bunched together, they quickly gain momentum, just like our proverbial tumbleweed.
When it comes to everyday life, we may take it slow and not notice all that goes on. However, watch out when we decide we’re going to “make a change.” It’s like huge, monster, big-girl steps into the unknown weight-loss abyss. We’ll eat only cabbage for 30 days straight, no probs, we think. Or we’re off solid food and are chugging smoothies and fruit juices all day long. We’re willing to take all that we know and love about food, and chuck it right out the window for the big fix. Talk about daunting. (And totally unrealistic.)
Why not take the pressure off and start small, setting yourself up with realistic (read:small) victories instead of attempting to take one huge giant leap? Take the stairs every time you see them for one day. Instant success. Get in a bowl of veggies with lunch one day. Another instant success. Read a food label before purchasing. Unpronounceable ingredient? Back it goes. All of these are what I lovingly refer to as “easy wins.”
You starting to feel me? All this losing weight, and changing your lifestyle thing takes time. A lot of time, and a lot of small successes. Confession: As a trainer and health coach, it wasn’t until I really decided to take an honest look at my eating did things finally click for me. That’s when those 10 extra pounds I’d been struggling with for a few years finally came off.
At the time I took my honest look, I was one month preggers with baby no 2. Not the ideal time to lose weight, so it became about eating the best way I could without putting pressure on myself. Little by little, I started introducing the good stuff.
Veggies were first on my list, so I stopped going to delis and found the spots that actually served fresh veggies for lunch. Once I did that for a week, I became motivated by that “easy win.” Next thing I did was take grains out of dinner. (Hello? One less thing to cook? Awesome!) Next came reading labels. This one was the most annoying because it took me three times as long to get out of the grocery store. Tip: do not attempt this with kids in tow! After a few trips though, I was getting the hang of it and this turned out to be the big game changer. Two months after baby no. 2 and I had lost all the baby weight, plus the 10 pounds I had on before getting pregnant. All food. My small, easy wins started to transform into some major successes.
Now I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention actually moving your body with a little purpose here and there will certainly go a long way in strengthening your body. Nutrition may be 85 percent of the weight-loss game, but that doesn’t mean that that 15 percent doesn’t count. Start small, build up your successes, and give it time. Slow and steady always wins the race.
You can open your eyes now. —Anne Marie Costanzo