Weight Loss Tip Booklet - 151 Simple Ideas

Improving oneself is not difficult. It might be uncomfortable. It might be slow; but difficult? Not so much. Figure out what you want to change; figure out a way to do it, move in that direction, correct as necessary.

So why don't most people change? The unadorned answer is we make it too complicated. The simpler the plan, the more likely we will accomplish it. To that end, here is a straightforward Five-Step Plan to move forward immediately.

1) Write it down

There's nothing magic to this, but once done, it makes it “real.” It also helps if we don't just write down what we want but why we want it. Emotions drive action. Logic directs it. As example, "I will lose weight to lower my blood pressure," is not as effective as "I will lose weight to feel better." As they say in sales, “We buy what we want, not necessarily what we need.” We need to “sell” ourselves on why we want it more than why we should do it.

2) Make it Small

Small steps done regularly generate better results than large steps done intermittently. In other words, it's better to get out a walk a block - and really do it - than to swear you're going to run a mile and plant yourself on the couch. We have to "squeeze" new activities into an already crowded life so the less we have to rearrange, the more likely we’ll be consistent. Ten or 15-minutes with consistency is better than “an occasional hour.”

3) Do Something Every Day

No matter how small the step, do SOMETHING each day, even if it’s simply refining what we wrote. Maintaining top-of-mind awareness retrains our thoughts to focus differently. That alone causes us to notice previously unseen opportunities.

Of course, there are days when “life happens” and we cannot move forward, which can bring out our critical inner perfectionists and we are inclined to think, "As long as I blew it, I might as well really blow it. I'll start again tomorrow.” This leads to undoing our progress. It’s important to remember everyone stumbles; progress is two steps forward and one step backwards.

4) Get Support

There are things we do well and there are things we want to do well. Making life-changes falls in the latter category, not the former. After all, if we were accomplished at our goals, we would have already achieved them. Building a network of support can guide and direct us when we feel lost, and applaud us when we aren’t. There is always more power in a group than in a single person (for better or worse).

One other benefit to group support is it "shuts the back door." Too often, we don't tell people our goals because if do, we have to actually change. Well, short of the fact that you can change your mind, announcing our plans does make us more committed to achieving them. Keeping them “quiet” allows us to back down quicker, which prompts the question, “Am I really committed to this?” (a discussion left for another column)

5) Reward Yourself Often

Change is as much emotional as it is physical. Holding off the goodies from our "inner kid," makes us feel like we’ve got one more chore in an already tedious life. We get resentful and quit. If however, we can make it more fun, we’re more inclined to keep at it Life is short, enjoy it - and remind yourself more often of the pleasures.
When she was a kitten, we were constantly cleaning up remnants of paper. We'd leave the house for a few hours and come back to scraps of napkins scattered about the kitchen, or the roll of toilet paper splayed from bathroom to living room. Paper products lived in fear if KC Whittinger Longstockings Junior was nearby.

I've often wondered if animals think "Why in Heaven's name did I get a bizarre name like that?," or maybe they embrace it as a sign of their special uniqueness. However, I'll place squarely the blame on my sons who chose her moniker (which might not be accurate but I can do that because they don't live here and won't be able to read this). "KC" was short for "Kitty Cat" (not very imaginative, I know). I don't know the derivation of the rest of her handle but it didn't matter; we referred to her simply as "KC" or "Case-ers."

Newly divorced, I specifically chose KC from a litter in 1995 because she was the most talkative of the mob. Spending every other week without companionship, I figured I could somewhat fill the void by having a feline companion who would let me know what she felt with regularity. As they say, "Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it." Not only did she communicate, she did it — shall we say — "with enthusiasm." She had a habit, especially in her later years, of waiting stealthily in the early morning darkness in the kitchen. The first human to enter — keep in mind not yet awake — would be "greeted" with an enormous, howling ululation. Never sure whether it was "Good Morning, I'm glad you're here," or "What the heck took you so long to fill my bowl?," what I can assure you is that after being welcomed as such by KC, there was no longer a need to use coffee to start your heart.

As a kitten, she adamantly refused to drink water inside the house. Oh sure, she'd eat (boy howdy did she eat!), but drinking water, no sirree! We placed bowls strategically throughout the rooms; a guest entering our home for the first time and seeing the water filled containers scattered hither and yon would assume we had the leakiest roof in the neighborhood. It was of no consequence; she refused to drink from them. We cleaned and refreshed them with regularity; didn't make a spot of difference. When thirst took hold, she would sit patiently by the back door, staring at the knob until we conceded to her wishes. Then, without so much as mew for "thank you," as some form of royalty, she'd sway and saunter on to the deck and lap only from the bowl outside. It was a ritual referred to (at least by the humans in the household) as "Water in the Wild."

She rumbled constantly, purring simply if you looked at her, louder if you touched her. Of course she purred when she ate (how do they do that?), purred when she cleaned, and purred when she drank. She would purr, well, just because she could.

Although aloof, she was social. Never the type of feline who would sit on your lap, she did like to be "where the action is" and would only sleep in a room where others slept. Since we kept the door to the downstairs closed at night, she trained my younger son to wake up at any hour, open it, and sit drearily by her side in the event of her need for a midnight snack. Brandon, my son, would complain about it; yet would repeat the ritual whenever KC deemed it. My wife and I found it funny, looking at them as an old married couple who seem to irritate each other to no end, but in reality, actually love each other deeply. We might think we are the masters of our household; their relationship was a reminder that we would be wrong.

We almost lost her in 2007, due to severe illness. The upshot was she lost her hearing, causing her meowing to increase by several decibels. Being a sturdy old girl, she adapted and her last years were shared with two partners, Tiger and Motor; whom we refer to as "The Orange Boys." They seemed to accept her over time, probably looking at her as the scraggly old aunt who sits in the corner, babbles, and smells funny; but whom we still love and is, after all, part of the family.

Even though her attitude never changed, she succumbed to the tolls of aging and slowed in her last few years. Due to a metabolism problem, she lost a great deal of weight, her fur became ragged, she moved more cautiously, and would sleep almost continually. A good day was to sleep in he sun (purring) in the caged-in "Catio" we built on our back deck.

Since her teeth were failing, I took her to the vet last week for a routine procedure that would help her eat with less pain causing her to gain some weight, and hopefully feel better. I swear that was the intention. It didn't work out that way.

She never came home.

She passed painlessly in her sleep; never regaining consciousness. I guess if you've got to go, that's the way to do it. But, it would have been nice to know it was coming. I mean, in retrospect, we knew it was near. Yet, it's still just so — shocking.

We're spreading her ashes under the prettiest tree in our backyard, a golden-chain; I'm thinking I'll wait until Spring when it's blooming again. That seems appropriate.

It's funny how we can bond so closely to something that weighs less than a sack of potatoes. I know some day we shall purr again, but right now, it's time to heal.

There was a tragedy in Tucson last week, which involved the shooting deaths of six innocent people and the wounding of more than a dozen, including the congress woman, Gabrielle Giffords, who represents that area. I'm sure you're aware of it; you'd have to live in a hole to not to be.

At this writing, this horrific event does not seem motivated as much by politics (e.g. the Oklahoma Bombing) as it is by the fact that the shooter was mentally unstable, such as the those at Columbine. (I'm sure this is small comfort to the families of the victims.) The fact that I can list examples (and I could provide more) of various shootings "by name" - and that you can understand the references - is a sad, discerning comment about the level of violence in which we find ourselves. As for the cause of the event, finger-pointing began per schedule. Blame will be assessed, and as with a New Year's resolution, promises will be made. For a brief moment, our awareness will be heightened and actions might be be taken. Unfortunately, also like those resolutions, these commitments will be abandoned in short order.

I am loath to wish for the "good old days." First of all, I don't believe that the times when polio existed, racism was accepted, and children would "drop and cover" to practice for nuclear attacks; were "good old days." Secondly, lamenting what has already passed is useless. Even if the past was as pristine and idyllic as some would like to remember, it is indeed just that: past. That said, pundits and pontificators proclaim that during those bygone days our elected representatives, even after vehement disagreement, would gather after debate to have a beer. They might have been at odds with each other on the congressional floor, yet they retained a sense of civility, even friendship, when day was done. This has, so it appears, been lost of late as both sides have become armed camps; shaking out positions, with nary a thought of middle ground. However, one positive outcome arising from this tragedy (if "positive" can be the label applied to anything that comes of it) is the heightened scrutiny on the tone of the political discourse during this fractious era. Only time will tell if it was a partial cause in the shooter's break with humanity; but it cannot be a bad thing to examine.

Due to the Tucson event, the heat has been turned up on the uncivil rhetoric espoused by some politicians and even more media kingpins. "They" are apparently feeling the heat and the common reply is "We have to tone it down on both sides." Personally, I am not sure that "both sides" share equal blame but I'll leave that discussion to those who write about politics. Moreover, that misses the point: I am concerned that as long as the meme is "both sides are responsible," neither side will take action. As long as we can point a finger at someone else, even if others are pointing at us, we have an "out," an escape, a way to avoid the responsibility we each hold.

I am not just speaking of hate-speech nor of calls to incite violence, this concept also applies to a much more basic level of personal responsibility and change. Until we accept that the "we" must "tone it down;" "we" must change (on whatever level that is applicable), there is always a scapegoat and a way out. Being humans, in seek of comfort, we are quite likely to use it.

If change is truly our goal - whether it be our political discourse or our personal lives - we must understand that the only thing we can change is "us." And the only part of "us" over which I have control is "me."

You and I make up the "we." I will watch more closely what I say, both to you and to myself. I hope you will too but I have very little control over that for the only part of this green planet I do control is the few feet in which I exist, and at least I can make that a better place for all who come in contact with it.

About the author: In 1994, after a lifetime of obesity, Scott “Q” Marcus lost 70 pounds and assists people and organizations who are tired of making promises they have continually broken but are ready to change. Get involved or contact him at www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com. You can also find him at www.facebook.com/scottqmarcus or on twitter @ThisTimeIMeanIt. Plan to celebrate the first ever “This Time I Mean It Day,” a tribute to our personal successes, on February 15 (more info at the site)

Numbers loom large in our lives. We commemorate birthdays and anniversaries in numbers of years. We monitor wealth in number of dollars. We even categorize our state of being via numbers: IQ, BMI, HDL.

Certain numbers are more popular than others. Take the number “3.” We’re conditioned to “think in 3s,” which explains why we use expressions like “Top three reasons…” or “Three examples…” Angry parents rely on “3.” My father, when upset, never said, “I’m going to count to four;” I’m guessing yours didn’t either.

One is a “power number” too, so when I woke up New Year’s day and noted the date, 1.1.11, I thought, “How cool!” Only nine times per century is every numeral in a date identical. My first “matched set” was 5.5.55 - but I was too young to fully appreciate it. Should I get a second chance in these next 100 years, I assure you there will be extreme gratitude.

However, 1.1.11 caused me to ponder, “Is there special significance from four “1”s? Might there be a cosmic sign in the only year that truly begins at the beginning? I’m not superstitious; but what about lucky numbers? What could “1.1.11” be trying to communicate?

In binary “1111” is “15.” Maybe this year’s providential number is 15? However, with the exception of the Fiesta Quinceañera, “15” doesn’t show up much in our society.

So, I turned to numerology. In full disclosure, numerology is a topic about which I know zero (an unfortunate “power number). I could not tell my Soul Urge Number from my street address. But, I believe there is a lot of adding numerals together (or maybe there isn’t; like I said I really know nothing about it). Either way, that's what I did. I added 1+5 from “15” to get “6” which seemed more probable than “15.” After all, it’s literally in the top ten of numbers. (Why don’t we say “Top Nine” or “Top 11?” See… there we go again…)

Yet, if I'm adding, why not use the sum of all the ones? Wouldn’t that make more sense? So, “4” must be the positive omen we need for the next 365 days.

Oy! Now I’m confused. We have three promising numbers: 15, 6, 4. Add those and the result is “25.” Two+5=7. Seven could work; that feels right. But “7” is so commonplace and run of the mill; everybody and their brother uses “lucky 7.”

Maybe I’m working this too hard. It’s obvious. Staring me right in the kisser is the solution; it’s a great big honkin’ "ONE." And if we’re looking at a new year as an opportunity to change, “1” squares perfectly with it. Most people do not achieve their goals (or “resolutions” if you insist) not because they’re too small, but for the opposite reason: they make too many of them and they’re ridiculously complicated. With great intention, but poor planning, they devise 46-step action plans, with options, timetables, flow-charts, and alternatives. Who has time to keep track of all that? The result? We get overwhelmed and intimidated. We feel bad and when that happens, we give up, feeling it’s more trouble than it’s worth, which is usually true. So, nothing happens. It's a horrible vicious cycle we repeat year after year.

To counter that, what’s simpler than “1”?

If “1.1.11” is an omen, it’s telling us “simplify.” Pick ONE thing each day. Do it until completion. Repeat as necessary. After all, ONE goal here and ONE goal there done well can really add up to ONE happy life.