I love the show Survivor.
If you are a fan, you know how critical fire is to their survival and what a struggle it can be sometimes for them to get it.
They gather small dry bits of kindling-coconut husk fibers, dry grass, bits of bark-anything they can find that will grab the small spark they create with the flint or even sometimes the friction of rubbing two pieces of bamboo together, and will ignite quickly.
It is a tense moment to witness-as you see a spark, and bit of smoke, and the urgency with which they blow oxygen on the little pile of kindling to nurture the spark into a small flame that can be sustained and grow into the fire that will purify their water and cook their food.
If they rush the process, they haphazardly aim the flint, or blow too hard on the spark, they will sabotage their own efforts.
So it is also with our weight loss. We have a big, important goal (health, weight loss), but getting to that goal, takes small, consistent actions.
It is a series of small accomplishments that are the sparks that fuel the fire of our weight loss.
Often times we feel like if we don’t see big flames right away, it’s not going to work.
Or we are cold and uncomfortable and want the heat RIGHT NOW.
We are in a hurry to reach the big goal, so we can feel better.
And there are ways to rush the process-ways around a small spark…like gasoline:)
If you have ever started a fire with gas, you know it provides a lot of heat fast, but it also burns out quickly.
There is no quick, easy way to lose weight for good.
You try extreme measures to lose weight fast, which has you feeling miserable in the process which then usually leads to a bout of “Screw it. I don’t care. I’ll start over tomorrow” bingeing in the pantry.
You blow too hard on that little spark, you’ll put it out.
If you want permanent results, you have to start small and be realistic.
You have to lose the first 5 pounds, to lose the rest.
I like to look at the first 5 pounds as kindling. You add a spark to the accomplishment of the first 5 pounds and nurture it with planning and consistency and commitment, and you then get to watch the flames rise higher and higher and provide lasting heat and comfort.
The flames move and change. They go up and down. They blow in the wind.
The fire doesn’t continue burning endlessly on it’s own. You have to feed new logs into the fire and stoke the coals to keep it going strong. But if you are attentive to that fire, it can keep you alive.
It’s not useful to focus on all of the times in the past when the fire has gone out, and use them as evidence that you can’t make a good fire.
Just because you have failed to sustain your weight loss in the past, doesn’t have to mean you’ll never be able to do it.
Instead, build a pile of small accomplishment kindling that you can use to try again.
Look at all of those small accomplishments-every 5 pound loss-as proof that you can lose weight and that your goal, though it feels improbable, is not impossible.
Focus on the first 5 pounds, and the next, and the next…all the way to your goal.
Weight loss is simple:
Start small, be realistic, keep going.
It all begins with a thought.