I fumed after reading my doctor’s note following my annual wellness visit.

“Lose weight.”

His advice? Eat more protein. Been there. I’ve passed through the hallowed halls of every diet plan available. My shelves are full of books, cookbooks, gluten-free, low-calorie, no fat, no sugar, no carbs. No. No. No.

No is unsustainable for me, and I’m not alone. You probably have stories of small successes then sliding back to the weight your body seems to gravitate toward and hold onto with a vengeance.

After I calmed down, I looked again at the numbers from my test results. As a data nerd, I knew if I studied the numbers and asked a few questions, I might understand what I needed to do differently.

I didn’t find anything that couldn’t be improved by diet, exercise, and reducing stress. This was not rocket science, but the path seemed as unattainable as a trip to Mars.

Then, I examined my lifestyle, read more to understand my body’s hormonal complexity, and took several very deep breaths. I could do better.

I made a promise to myself. Eat healthily. Exercise daily. Breathe deeply.

Being and becoming your best is hard work. Hard doesn’t mean impossible, but the past taught me that for anything to change, I must change.

I love the way Seth Godin described the difference between persistence and consistency. As he put it, “persistence is annoying.” I agree.

Learning, improving, getting better—at anything—requires consistency.

Do you want to want to learn to draw? Show up, and draw something every day.

Are you trying to cook more nutritious meals? Show up in the kitchen every day and experiment with new recipes.

I’m on a quest to be and become my healthiest self. That includes watching the food I eat and exercise. This is not easy! I have cycled through numerous starts and stops.

What makes today any different? What secret ingredient will I need to stay the course, to press on, to put myself and my health first? Brené Brown’s insight gives me some direction, “The willingness to show up changes us, it makes us a little braver each time.”

I’m a sucker for chocolate and ice cream. For me, saying “no” to sugar is the single hardest decision I must make every single day. Persistence doesn’t help me on this one.

But I can show up every day and pass on the sweet creamer in this one cup of coffee. I can reach for a few almonds instead of a bowl of dutch chocolate ice cream.

Wendy Suzuki explains how exercise is the most transformative thing you can do for your brain and your health. Every morning, and all through the day, I must “show up” for me. That means taking time for walking, yoga, or riding my bike.

If I make better choices day after day, consistently, change will occur. I show up because I made a promise to myself to be healthy.

Seth’s advice can help because “you only have to make the choice to be consistent once. After that, it’s simply a matter of keeping your promise.”

Once you decide to take that first step, you have begun. You change.

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
—Eleanor Roosevelt

What small step will you take today, and every day? I’m always interested in your experiences and thoughts. Leave a comment and share your promise.

P.S. I must confess. I enjoy, without regret, the occasional slice of coconut cream pie or Italian cream cake.

And always—

Be kind. Be brave. Be you.

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Photo: Pie © Kathryn LeRoy