In the world of health and weight loss, we tend to get caught up in an endless spiral of adding things onto our literal and figurative ‘plates’. It’s about more workouts, more pilates, more green juices, more cleanses and more supplements. Occasionally this is sidetracked by a story of a colleague who lost 10 pounds in a month by simply eliminating soda, but that doesn’t seem like it would work for you.
It’s much easier to sell extra “stuff” than it is to sell reduction or elimination. It’s really more of a free tip, which makes it less popular to share by some in the health and fitness industry.
The Pareto Principle, or 80/20 rule, states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. With this in mind, we can look at our lives and attempt to identify either what the most common causes of our success are or the most common causes of our shortcomings are. This is good news because once those are identified, we can increase the things that lead to success and reduce the things that do not.
I realize elimination or reduction can be very difficult because we have developed attachments to food items, beverages and the experiences related to having them. I have a deep fondness for my morning coffee routine, so if this happened to be sabotaging my diet goals I would tweak it, rather than eliminating it entirely. It takes time to get used to, but our bodies are continually adapting and it will learn to enjoy a cappuccino as much as a caramel frappuccino or at least be able to have it less often.
Maybe you go out for drinks with friends every Friday night. You don’t have to give this up entirely, but the types of drinks and food you eat during this time could be largely impacting your health/goals. So tweak it. Switch to light beer, red wine or vodka sodas. Eat before you go. Be the odd one out who orders a salad instead of a burger or leaves the buns off. It will be weird and uncomfortable at first, but such are new habits.
Final note: You don’t have to eliminate things for life. I have found great success eliminating one thing for a week and something else the next. This way you don’t feel deprived, but you are reducing your caloric intake or negative habits gradually.
So take this week and look at your habits. Find one thing that is not helping you reach you goals and tackle it. See if you can last one week and after you realize you can, try something else the next week until you find the right balance for you 🙂