I”ll ask you what I ask my clients and students: if you were to start to intervene on your own behalf, if you were to make adjustments in one place to make the most significant change in your health, what would it be
Here is a Tanzanian proverb to illustrate this point:
Little by little, a little becomes alot.
Here’s the thing. Many people get overwhelmed when it comes to making significant changes to their health. If you can relate to this, I have good news for you. Not only does every little adjustment help, you can start with one or two things to dramatically alter your course toward greater health, vitality, and weight loss. I’d like to use an excerpt from a letter I received from someone I am currently working with to illustrate my point. I’d also like to show you how you can Start Small for Big Changes.
I’m just about diet soda free! The last small one that I had was on Sunday! And, I’ve been putting my baby (he’s almost 2) down by 9:30 every night since Wednesday night. I’m in bed by 10 and other than the first night, I’ve been asleep by about 10:30 (I’m assuming). I’ve been feeling much better in the mornings! Much more rested!
She then proceeded to share with me the details of her long journey with weight loss (up and down), her struggles (gastric bypass surgery that didn’t work), and her personal challenges as they relate to her self-esteem, health, and frustrations.
Although she was reluctant to participate in the Health Coaching program taught by me and that was offered through her place of work, she finally wrote, Last Wednesday, something clicked! I felt like I really related to you and I felt like you cared about me! So, here I am again, on the weight loss journey….
When asked what is the one thing that if you changed, you would get the most mileage out of moving in a different direction with regards to your health, she answered that getting to sleep at a reasonable hour would be the number one thing. When she made a firm decision to do that, she discovered that perhaps her addiction (her word) to diet soda might be an issue. With the caffeine coursing through her veins all day, there might likely be a correlation between her drinking that and not being able to go to sleep at a reasonable hour. Now we have two things. (You might find that when you make a decision to make one adjustment, you will discover other habits that go hand-in-hand with the behavior or habit you want to change. This is a good thing, although you must realize that a relatively small intention might lead you to another.)
Now she had two things: Going without diet soda and getting to bed earlier. You read above that she feels better already. If you are used to reading my blogs, you have seen me write many times that all feelings of subjective improvement are clinically significant. That means that your body is getting healthier when you feel better whether you can explain what is happening scientifically or not.
Here is what lies ahead for this generous and courageous woman:
- Better sleep means more hormonal regulation. This supports many functions during the day including but not limited to an easier time losing weight and feeling much more on her game. The weight loss comes from a positive double-whammy. With the regulation of hormones comes a normalized hunger-satiety cycle. That means it is easier for her to eat when she is hungry, and to stop when she has had enough to provide adequate nourishment for her body. In addition, with the reduced stress that comes from being rested, there is no fire to quell, thus a dramatic reduction in craving foods that help overcome chronic fatigue.
- Since she decided to drink water instead of the diet soda, she is now more hydrated. This supports everything from feeling better in her joints, helping her liver to flush toxins, having more beautiful skin, having more energy, to an easier time losing weight.
- The reduction of caffeine enables her body to sleep normally, which supports the loop I am describing here. The added advantage is simply releasing the stronghold that this substance has on her. Some caffeine can be good for immune support, but an excess puts too much stress on our bodies, the adrenal glands in particular.
- The reduction of the artificial sweeteners in the soda enables her body to suffer far fewer toxins. The liver is an extremely popular organ among health advocates. There is evidence that the liver is much happier and much less prone to disease in the absence of artificial sweeteners.
It should blow your mind that so much can happen from just one thing. I am completely inspired by this woman for her dedication to get her body to love her back, and from taking such a big step forward. It should jump off the page to you that she did not overhaul her life or her diet. And yet, you can see the far-reaching benefits of her decision. She could potentially alter the course of her entire life.
What is your one thing What simple adjustment can you make to steer your body in a new direction toward feeling better and possibly even avoiding disease? Optimal health is never just about one thing. But one thing is the best way to start.
I wish for you peace, health, happiness, and a body that supports you to live and enjoy life.
With love and encouragement,
Board Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
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