THE ART OF GRADUAL IMPROVEMENT

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”  – Confucius

 

AVOID EXTREMES
One thing I realised about the hardships of dieting is the extreme changes. It’s almost as if one moment you are in the cosy environment of your home, then the next thing you are in the dark wilderness, all cold and naked. Such sudden shifts might be too much for us to handle especially in the beginning. This is why most people eventually quit during the early stages of dieting. The best method is that of gradual improvement: one subtle improvement at a time. People make the mistake of being too hard on themselves early on. This is exactly why they quit the moment they cheat or don’t follow a regime properly. Taking two steps forward and one step back throughout a prolonged period is better than taking ten consistent steps then quitting. It’s the jelly-fish motion that eventually gets you there. Give yourself time to adapt and truly enjoy the new subtle changes. This is the key to true consistency. The moment you perceive your weight-loss regime as some strict military style punishment, you are in trouble. This is exactly why most people cannot sustainably lose weight. They may hold out for a month or two only to regain all that weight during their third month. This time however with much less motivation to try again. So don’t be too hard on yourself and please do not take any extreme measures: i.e over exercising, fasting, fad diets and strict routines.

 

AVOID TOO MANY RULES: KEEP IT SIMPLE
Let’s face it. Who takes the time to weigh their food? Let alone constantly calculate the calorie content of every meal. The moment we perceive something as complicated, it becomes exactly that. Not to mention unappealing and strenuous. Use simple guidelines i.e: avoid carbs, go to the gym, play sport as often as possible. Most importantly enjoy life….

 

ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME
I encourage you to tackle one challenge at a time. Don’t try and adopt everything in one go, it might overwhelm you. When I started exercising, that in itself was already a big challenge. I had to look for a convenient gym to join and then learn how to use the equipment. From there it took some time to figure out useful routines for targeted muscle groups. Start with the easy then gradually work your way toward the complex. Trying to do 3 challenges at once often results in completing none. It’s the same when it comes to cutting bad habits such as drinking and smoking at the same time. Rather deal with one thing first then move on to the next one.

 

MITIGATE YOUR LOSSES
Try and live in daily compartments. Did you cheat yesterday? No big deal: today is a new day and life is all about TODAY. So forget yesterday, and strike out tomorrow: NOW IS ALL THAT COUNTS. The mistake I used to make was waiting for Monday. If I cheated or messed up my routine on Thursday, I would wait for the next Monday so I attempt to do it perfectly this time around. Perfection is an illusion of perspective; improvement however is a constant reality. An interesting principle I came across in law school was the principle of mitigating one’s losses. This is a notion that illustrates how the Court will not award you full entitlement to damages if you did not play your part in preventing them as well. So instead of backsliding and getting discouraged by your bad day, put it upon yourself to pick up where you left off the following day. Each positive gesture counts.

 

STOP OBSESSING
I personally do not advise anyone to be a dieting martyr or to be obsessed with the concept of losing weight that it becomes the only thing in their minds. Life is a balance and if you strive for your ultimate happiness, weigh-loss will occur naturally. Adopt your weight-loss regime as a complementary supplement to your lifestyle and not the only thing going on for you. You will be surprised that there’s much more to life than having six-pack abs. From one guy to another, muscles do not automatically convert themselves into dates. Have other interesting things going on for you and you will be more fulfilled.

 

VISUAL RESULTS TAKE TIME
Most people strive to see visual results in a few days. Not gonna happen! The body doesn’t extract fat only from your tummy. In fact, the tummy is the last place that the body extracts its fat from for energy. Picture it this way, your body uses up 1mg of fat from the surface area of almost your entire body. Realistically, strive for visual results on your 4th week where it will be more prominent, rather than obsessing daily in front of the mirror. If you are on a weight-lifting regime you will be shocked to find out that your gym instructor has been working out for over 8 years ( hence the action figure physique). Most people actually need 2 – 3 years before developing sculptured muscles. So don’t be heavy hearted in the first few weeks. You will get there eventually.

 

1% IMPROVEMENT A DAY
Enjoy challenging yourself and getting better with time and effort. As you get to work out, you will notice gradual improvements in strength and endurance. Strive to set personal best benchmarks and keep breaking them as often as you can. This is the secret to great results: gradual improvements. These same improvements will motivate you to work harder because you get evident imminent results. Don’t be that guy who looks over his shoulder and gets demoralised because others are lifting much heavier than he is. DO NOT COMPARE YOUR CHAPTER 1 TO SOMEONE ELSE’S CHAPTER 9! This game is a personal challenge with only one contender: YOU. 1% improvement over a span of 100 days translates to 100% improvement. Take some time to think about it.

 

Oscar (Dj Sulfa) is a weight-loss expert, graphic designer , musician, dating coach, motivational speaker and author . A self- proclaimed experimenter who is fascinated by cracking the codes to achievement in order to make life easier, faster, cheaper and more pleasurable in the pursuit of the results that you seek. Follow him on the following social media links:  Facebook    Instagram