I recently made a life-changing decision.
I decided to downsize and move into a smaller home.
Many variables factored into me making this decision. But early on in the process something else became obvious to me; something that can help all of you.
As this process unfolded I realized that what I was experiencing in my own life could provide YOU with an excellent roadmap for your own weight loss and physique transformation journey.
During the whole process of my downsizing move, the parallels of what I was going through and seeing compared to what it takes to achieve physique transformation were uncanny. So I made a list.
Below is your roadmap to true physique transformation, and I will use my downsizing experience and compare it to the similar realities of your own transformation goals and how to accomplish them.
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Make a Decision; not a goal! A goal can be wishy-washy, full of question marks, choices, doubts, and uncertainty. But a decision makes you move forward with resolve. There is a world of difference between ‘making a major life decision’ vs ‘having a small case goal.’ I have seen this through my whole career with clients trying to lose weight. By looking at it as ‘a goal’ just leaves too much wiggle room for non-compliant choices, like choosing pizza on a Friday night after a hard work week, or skipping workouts to sleep in.
A decision is more emphatic and absolute. I’ll talk more about that later. But look, I decided it was time for me to downsize for many reasons and so I pulled the trigger on making that happen. Maybe you have come to a point in your life, where you know you need to lose weight and you have many reasons for doing so. So make the decision to do so and pull the trigger.
The best way to do that and to make it happen is to stop calling it a goal!
After a BIG DECISION comes many small behaviors, actually it seems like thousands of them. Once I decided to downsize and move, I had to get boxes, find certain tools, take things off the wall, start getting rid of ‘stuff’, start looking at houses on the market, start going through rooms one at a time.
Then once I found a place, there was change of address stuff to consider, buying and selling furniture, and arranging movers and a moving date.
For your own weight loss journey, after you make a decision and stop calling it a goal, then many small behaviors must follow that big decision. And those behaviors will be different for all of you: How and when to prepare meals, creating new meal structures, finding meals that are palatable to you, and whatever else.
But every single day after making that big decision, there will be many small behaviors required to bring that decision to fruition. And you must remind yourself of this and recognize these small required behaviors as you engage them.
LESSON NOTE: A big decision is followed by many, many small behavior changes (not huge behavior change – you can’t do it all at once!)
HERE ARE THE ABSOLUTE ESSENTIALS – 1) emotional readiness/emotional management, 2) time management 3) “other” management.
Only when looking back at it now have I realized that a major part of making a decision to downsize is having the emotional readiness to do so: And one mistake I have witnessed through the decades in client after client trying to lose weight permanently is they just were not emotionally ready to do it: Oh, they were sincere enough about the desire to lose weight, they just weren’t very serious about it, when it came to those many small daily behaviors I mentioned above.
And then there is the emotional management of it all as well. As the process unfolds, sentiment and emotion can enter in waves and in different ways for different reasons. Downsizing a home is like that and downsizing your body can be like that as well.
Certain behaviors and/or environmental triggers around food require emotional management as they come up. And I’ve seen it my whole career that people want the physique transformation, but they don’t even consider their own emotional readiness, and the requirement to manage emotions to necessitate this change. And this ends up being a huge blindspot for them that leads to eventual failure or giving up the ‘goal.’
Time management is another requirement.
You have to realize that ‘you can’t get there from here.’ I couldn’t just snap my fingers and be in a different home. Before ‘settling’ into a new home, I had to get there first. That destination required its own complete set of circumstances to address. And selling a home, buying a home, packing a home, and moving a home – THEY ALL require new demands on your time.
Well, the same is true for sustainable physique transformation. You can’t just focus on that final destination and think that is enough to motivate you to make things happen.
You have to MAKE TIME and MANAGE TIME all along the way there, accepting that while you still have to maintain and sustain your life; now you also have new demands on your time in order to adapt to this decision to transform your body.
Without emotional readiness, emotional management, and time management – you are as likely to succeed at physique transformation as I would have been to downsizing my home and moving just by ‘wanting to’ do it someday.
LESSON NOTE: No one can do these things for you. Just like moving to a new home, the nuts and bolts and requirements for physique transformation is something no one else can do for you.
Inconvenience – Look, at first it’s likely to get messy, real messy.
On the emotional front, it could even ‘feel worse’ before it ‘feels awesome.’ This is how real change works. Change isn’t a matter of comfort and convenience. To think so, is to just pretend at change.
Selling and buying a home and moving are all marked by inconvenience of different levels and intensity. I was inconvenienced by people coming over to buy my stuff at inconvenient times for me. I was inconvenienced with making appointments to see homes at inconvenient times for me. I was inconvenienced having to get out of my home while potential buyers came to look at my house. I was inconvenienced having to stage my house every time someone wanted to come and look at it. I was inconvenienced having to go and shop for furniture and household items and make frequent trips to the donation center to get rid of stuff I couldn’t sell. These are just a few of the general inconveniences that come to mind. There were dozens more!
But once the decision is made, you must accept inconvenience as part of the deal, or you end up not being able to manage the emotions related to the realities of inconvenience.
When you make a decision to downsize your body, there will be many inconveniences to deal with, from the incidental to the instrumental. You may have to deal with hunger as you adjust to a new diet and figure out portion sizes and what not. You may not always have access to smart food/meal choices. There will be many times and circumstances that will be inconvenient for you as you adapt to make this decision happen. If you are going to get frustrated and angry, every time you are inconvenienced, then you are not emotionally managing the circumstances.
LESSON NOTE: Change is never comfortable or convenient. Accept that, or you will likely fail.
Small things first: Giant leaps don’t happen. It all happens with baby steps. Baby steps build momentum. Momentum creates a snowball effect. The snowball effect leads to the ‘no turning back’ mindset, in either deed, or desire!
Downsizing a home and settling into that decision only happens by the snowball effect created by doing many, many small things, sometimes even tedious things. For moving I started with one room at a time, even parts of a room sometime. Sometime, I did even less than that, like one drawer at a time.
So many people fail at trying to permanently lose weight because they try to make all these huge sweeping changes all at once. Most adult minds will rebel against that. It’s just too overwhelming and too much too soon. And so people just freeze and do nothing at all. (Emotional readiness is built with baby steps, whatever that may be for you)
Abandon ‘what is’ sooner, not later, then you don’t miss it: Way before I even found a new home, I started emptying my former house. I got rid of whole rooms of furniture, and books, and bookcases and collectibles. Before I even found a new home, I was living inside a great big empty that ‘used to be’ my home. Therefore, my former place stopped feeling like ‘home’ once it was so empty but I still had to live there for some time.
By emptying my house so early and so completely, there was no sentiment for second guessing. I had abandoned ‘what is’ which just made room for completing the process for what will be.
The same scenario exists for your weight loss journey. If you keep holding on to “Pizza Fridays” or “Movie Sundays” associated with food – then you are holding on to what is, at the cost of not moving toward where you want to be. You have to abandon ‘what is’ sooner in the process than later, so that the only move available then is the move toward where you want to be – not to where you are, or where you used to be. So, ‘abandon what is’ in order to usurp your weight loss decision.
Sacrifice: Downsizing a home and downsizing your life requires sacrifice, as does downsizing your body. And there isn’t just one sacrifice to make, but many. And the sacrifices will be both easy and hard.
For example, let me tell you about “The Elephants in the Room:”
Since the mid 90’s I had been collecting elephants. I had over 100 pieces and collectibles. I bought elephants representing places I visited, or specific memories I wanted to hold, and well, various rare or expensive collectible pieces as well.
In a 3,000 sq. ft. home, over 100 pieces could sort of be tastefully displayed. But in a home half this size this many elephants of various sizes would just look like clutter really.
One morning I looked at a piece and I couldn’t remember what memory or place it was supposed to symbolize. I realized at that time, that the sentiment associated with my collection was now a thing of the past.
And although it was still difficult to sacrifice a hobby I had fervently indulged for over 25 years; it was time to let it go – and I did. I sold the whole collection, and only kept two pieces of the over 100 elephants I had.
What YOU have to do to accomplish your transformation goal is similar. You have to stop negotiating and justifying with yourself when you find you don’t want to make the big or small sacrifices. When you catch yourself doing these things, it signifies a lack of emotional readiness to move forward.
Always remind yourself that when you make a real and true decision, then there should be no regrets in the required sacrifices; and there should certainly be no martyrdom about them either.
So if you make a decision to change your body you need to stop looking at what you are giving up. What you are giving up is the past. It is not so much a sacrifice as it is a choice you make!
Right Focus: My focus on downsizing stayed on all the reasons I was doing it. And I kept my focus there. My focus remained on just how much sense it made for me to make this choice and downsize to a smaller home.
So for your own weight loss journey keep your focus on why you are doing this, not on what you are giving up. Keep your focus on what’s ahead in your journey, not on what’s behind. People making these weight loss transformation choices usually have health concerns combined with cosmetic concerns, or just overall energy for life.
Right focus is essential to live up to any life-changing decision. And you need to constantly remind yourself of this reality.
Pragmatism: This is part and parcel of right focus. BE PRAGMATIC! As much as possible, leave sentiment and emotion out of it. I could have let the sentiment of surrendering my elephant collection get to me. I could have let emotions cloud the decision to downsize and then question that decision. The home I left was the longest I had ever lived in any home as an adult. There is sentiment in that, no doubt.
But at the same time, if you let it in, sentiment will cloud logic and reason. Sentiment will muddy what is otherwise clear.
I’ve seen this many times in clients who want to make a weight loss journey: they attach too much sentiment to food and scenarios that include food. And it leads them to making bad choices and being weak-willed.
LESSON NOTE: Pragmatism clears the path of the decision and makes for a simpler journey – maybe not an easy journey, but a simpler and clearer one.
Be pragmatic this way: Remind yourself that regularly eating fast food and being overweight is risking your health. Risking your health this way should make no sense to you. Keep your focus right there.
Constant pragmatism is what can relieve you of former belief systems that keep you stuck and keep you rationalizing bad choices, especially in those essential ‘small behaviors’ that make all the difference.
Change on change’s terms, not yours: There is a lot of humility involved in making a major life change like moving and downsizing.
A lot of things were beyond my control. But I had to identify when and how those things manifested and navigate them accordingly.
Look, things can’t be different if you want them to stay the same! You can’t live in, and live with, belief systems of your past, if you expect your present to change your future!
You can’t live a new lifestyle of permanent weight loss if your mindset about food doesn’t change from the mindset that led you to become overweight to begin with.
Change means not seeing food as comfort or as an emotional surrogate, or whatever your previous stumbling block may have been.
If you make a decision to change, then change takes place on change’s terms, not on how you expect it to be, or how you want it to be.
This means adaptability: I had to adapt to the demands of selling and buying a home, then moving out and moving in and the hundreds of things in-between. You have to adapt to the demands of learning to eat better consistently, and whatever else goes with that demand; whether it be learning to cook, or doing your own grocery shopping, or prepping meals for several days in advance.
LESSON NOTE: You must adapt to change on change’s terms.
This necessitates compromise and resiliency. You’ve chosen change. You have made a decision to change your life, and change what you know and then establish a new normal. Now you have to accept all of that on change’s terms. And that includes compromise. It includes resiliency:
For instance, I had to look for a new home at various price ranges. I had to field offers for my home and I had to compromise. I had to accept not everyone liked my home who viewed it.
On the path to physique transformation, not everyone will approve of your weight loss efforts; you may have to try on one or more different diet-strategies and tweak the right one till it is right for your body. You may have to compromise in social settings. You may have to stick to your diet-strategy after a stressful week where you would normally unwind with an indulgent meal and wine, or beer. That is all part and parcel of the compromise, and the resiliency involved in accepting change on change’s terms.
Patience: Between moving from there to here, there were a hundred things I had to be patient about, some small and unimportant and just annoying things, and some large major deal-makers/deal breakers that were out of my hands.
Between the time I made the decision to downsize – to look for a place – to find a place – to negotiate to buy a place – to negotiate to sell my place – to set a moving date – to actually pack and move – months and months went by. Simply closing a deal on a home is usually 90 days – and that follows all the work that predates even finding the place to make an offer on as well as putting my former house on the market.
LESSON NOTE: Your weight loss efforts require patience, not just here and there, but throughout the whole process. The more weight you lose, the harder it becomes to lose even more weight as your metabolism adapts. This is where so many people go off the rails.
But again, if you take the view of this being a decision you make, rather than a goal you have, then the numbers won’t matter nearly as much to you.
Limbo: Between the time I decided to sell my house to actually doing so, and then to actually moving, there was a period of ‘limbo.’ And while nothing was happening, everything was happening.
And with weight loss and physique transformation there are many periods of limbo as well. This reality isn’t discussed nearly enough! There will be many periods of limbo between the day you make the actual decision to lose weight till the eventual outcome of that decision, somewhere down the road.
There will be periods when your weight loss plateaus, even though you are following protocol to the letter. Or maybe you don’t feel motivated to stick to what you need to do. There can be many periods of feeling in “limbo” between the time you make a decision to lose weight and keep it off, and the time you arrive at your sustainable weight loss destination where you have moved in, and settled in to your new lifestyle.
It’s a process! I mean how many times in my blogs and books and rantings have I stated that ‘the process is the goal?!’
Well, guess what – MOVING was a process! And everything involved from the short-term to the long-term of moving was a process, with many tentacles, off-ramps, and variables. Some of the elements of the process I could control and manage and some of which I could not, and they were out of my hands, and I had to adapt and be present and be flexible.
And all along the way I kept reminding myself of my own mantra – ‘the process is the goal’ I would say to myself.
I made my decision to downsize in early spring last year and listed my house on the market shortly after; and yet, that decision did not reach fruition until mid-winter – a process indeed!
So I will reiterate to you yet again that the roadmap to your weight loss is bolded and underlined by the fact that the whole thing is a process and that ‘the map is not the territory!’
Finally – all of the above is about Getting Real About Getting Real:
It starts with making a decision, instead of having a goal. And then the reality of the process is that it will be messy, likely very messy.
The whole journey of my downsizing was marked with this reality that it got messy and unsettled before it got organized and settled
Your physique transformation journey will likely be similar and you will have to accept that as part of the reality of change.
EXTRA LESSON NOTE: And all along the way ‘focus on the big wins in what you are doing, and ignore the rest’ which is just extraneous noise in your head. (mental, and emotional)
So, I made a decision to downsize my life. And that decision was followed through to its inevitable conclusion.
You can do the same with your weight loss/physique transformation journey. And I hope the roadmap I provided you above will serve you to do so.
Some of you will get it
Some of you will not