You’ll often hear in the media that it is hard to lose weight. For some people that is true. For the majority of us, it is simply a marketing tactic. The weight loss industry, including fad diets and diet pills, is a multi-billion dollar industry. Unfortunately, people who are trying to improve their health and change their body composition fall victim to high-pressure sales tactics and gimmicks.
Oftentimes, all you need is to take a single step in the right direction.
Jessica is a 50-year-old mother and wife. Even though she worked a physical job, her weight had crept up over the years. She is a former collegiate softball player and her larger body felt foreign to her. Jessica didn’t have a consistent fitness program and she ate a standard American diet.
Like many of us, Jessica was quick to complain about her body but slow to make any impactful changes. She would ask friends about diets and exercise routines, but she couldn’t find the motivation or commitment to stick to anything. That is until she found the right path.
Little Changes Add Up to Big Changes
One day, Jessica decided to stop drinking soda. She knew that “drinking her calories” (plus all the added sugar) wasn’t good for her and she felt like she could make this easy change. Well, it wasn’t that easy. Hyperpalatable foods, like sodas and desserts, are created for you to continue craving more.
Even with the temptation, Jessica stuck to her commitment and avoided soda. She didn’t expect to feel very different, so she was surprised by what happened next.
Jessica realized that without her favorite soda, a fast-food burger and fries just didn’t sound as good. It became easier to instead order a grilled chicken sandwich when she ate lunch with coworkers. Soon, the rest of her meals followed.
Note that Jessica didn’t flip her diet completely. She just realized that she could focus on making “better” choices: a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a bacon cheeseburger, a side salad instead of fries, and an unsweet iced tea instead of a soda. She still enjoyed most of her favorite foods, she just chose them less frequently. There were no hard restrictions or feeling like she was missing out.
This is where the real magic happened. Thanks to healthier food choices, Jessica felt more energized than she had in years! It was easier to get through her long work days without feeling sluggish at any point. More importantly, she had the energy to start working out again.
As a former collegiate athlete, Jessica knows her way around a weight room. She also loves walking on the treadmill and using elliptical machines. The biggest thing that had been holding her back from joining a gym was feeling like she didn’t have the energy to fit it into her busy schedule. Now that she had the energy she needed, there was no turning back.
Developing “Atomic Habits” & Influencing a Community
If you’re keeping track, giving up soda turned into eating healthy turned into going to the gym. Just by changing one small habit for her health, Jessica was able to snowball the results into more healthy behaviors. We hear about the compound effect on finances, but we often forget that it works with human behavior also.
Today, Jessica has lost 75 pounds since she gave up soda a couple of years ago! Additionally, her joint pain has greatly reduced, she sleeps better, and she feels energized throughout the entire day. Overall, she just feels great.
Do you want to know what Jessica’s greatest accomplishment throughout this journey is? She inspired so many other people to make their own healthy habits.
When Jessica started making healthier food choices and prioritizing time at the gym, her wife, Taylor, and son, Evan, took notice. Taylor considers herself one of the pickiest eaters, so she chose to work with a nutrition coach. Her nutrition coach was able to teach Taylor about the importance of each macronutrient and how she can meet her needs within her picky diet. Within a few months, Taylor lost over 25 pounds.
Evan also took an interest in healthy living. He met with Taylor’s nutrition coach to learn about what foods are best for his growing body. Since Evan is a multi-sport athlete, the coach explained the importance of properly fueling for performance and getting all the nutrients necessary to grow.
At work, Jessica was spending half of her lunch breaks on 30-minute walks. She invited her coworkers to join her. Some would always walk, and some would join her periodically. They all noticed her weight loss though, and they wanted to hear her “secret”. Many of her coworkers have credited her with inspiring them to make small, healthy changes in their lives.
The other people who noticed Jessica’s weight loss and commitment to fitness were the parents of Evan’s friends. They would chat during little league games about the small changes she had made to her lifestyle. Jessica even inspired many of the parents to join the same gym as her. During her morning workouts, Jessica now meets up with this group of parents who all support each other and inspire one another to prioritize their health.
Jessica has never boasted about her weight loss. She has never chastised her friends or family for eating “unhealthy” foods or not working out. She has never shamed her coworkers for sitting during their breaks instead of getting steps in. She has never pushed her lifestyle on anyone. Instead, her results have spoken for themselves.
Now, a family is living a healthier life than they were a few years ago, with a combined weight loss of over 100 pounds. There is a group of parents meeting at the gym in the morning to get their workouts in. There is a group of coworkers who swap recipes and discuss their workouts. They’re then sharing those tips and tricks with their family and friends.
Countless people have been inspired and positively impacted. All because Jessica chose to give up soda.