As a fat kid in the 90s, I think I tried every fad diet ever to hit your mom’s bookshelf. Every week Oprah would introduce a new book that held Dr. So and So’s secrets to weight loss. There would be some research detailing the unknown fat-storing qualities of this or that food group and the hidden horrors to be found in America’s refrigerator. There would be a step-by-step process and a weekly eating guide and the promise that if you followed the steps, and pretended the cauliflower tasted like mashed potatoes, you would be on the road to better health and a smaller waist size. And at the end of each book there would be success stories, people like you and me, holding up a gigantic pair of blue jeans, their smile being their only over-sized feature. Fad dieting is still part of the American media, but I feel as though it had hit its peak in the early 2000s, just as I was entering junior high, a seventh grade girl wearing size 16 pants.
There was one of these diets that I tried in those early weeks at Hackett Middle School that was very strong conceptually. It was called “Change One,” and the premise behind the plan was to not change everything about your diet all at once, because extreme change is not sustainable. Each week one aspect of your diet was to change. Week one, breakfast. Week two, snacks. Week three, lunch. Each week you were to incorporate the new change, so by the end of week six, it was already habit to be eating well at all times of the day. I did pretty well on this diet, dropping about twenty pounds by eighth grade.
I am trying to apply this same logic to building fitness into my weekly habits. Every time I set out to “make a change,” I attempt to change everything all at once. I stop eating all carbs, or I go to the gym every single day in a week, and then never again. Those changes are easy to sustain during the honeymoon period of dieting, but week two rolls around, and it’s just too plain hard (unless you have incredible willpower, which years of data suggest I do not). It’s really easy to give up when you try to do too much.
Last night I went to yoga at a local studio with fellow 2 Fat Nerds member, Gracie. It was an amazing way to spend a Monday evening, and there will be more about that on Thursday! The abridged version for today is just that I loved it. In an attempt to not make any drastic promises, I am going to say, that for the next month, the only change I am willing to make, is to add Monday night yoga into my schedule. This is a sustainable promise, and something I am sure to enjoy. I realize that going to yoga once a week is not going to shed 50 pounds of fat, but as I tend to struggle as much with following through on plans that I set for myself than I do with straight dieting, it seems…better. This is a goal that is as much about being able to reach a goal than anything else.
I’m challenging you, Fat Nerds, to change one thing. Change one thing about your daily or weekly habits (wherever you want to start), and sustain the change. Try it out, let me know how it goes. I would love to hear about your change, so let’s get the ball rolling, let’s hear them!