We’re forming a community of kick-ass guys across Canada who are proudly getting healthier without changing much, and we need your help to get this started. Be the first among your friends to share the small steps you’re taking to get a little healthier by leaving a comment below, or use the hashtag #DontChangeMuch on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
“I’m so happy I finally did it!”
Meet Jamie, who started small by cutting out pop and juice. At first, he didn’t change much . . . and that changed everything.
Like many guys out there, Jamie was a sports enthusiast that enjoyed playing basketball, but when he injured his knee nine years ago “All the ways I was active in my life slowed down and eventually came to a stop. Suddenly I had an excuse for everything.”
Jamie’s restaurant job didn’t help. “I wasn’t eating properly . . . temptation was always right there in front of me.”
That moment you decide to make a change:
A year later, he had gained about 60 pounds, and for the next five years, nothing changed. “I noticed that doing anything—skiing, snowboarding, even walking up the stairs—became hard for me. I started snoring heavily at night.”
Eventually, he’d simply had enough: “I didn’t want everything to be this hard.”
Jamie knew he needed to make changes, but not only to shed the extra weight. “This wasn’t about weight loss. I really wanted to focus on making better choices in my everyday life, for the rest of my life.”
A straightforward step you can handle:
A little online research revealed a straightforward starting point he could handle: He cut out sugary pop and juice from his diet for a month, and drank water when he was thirsty. It wasn’t easy at first: “In the restaurant business, pop is everywhere!”, but after two weeks of resisting temptation he knew he could do it. “I remember thinking, ‘I got this!’”
This feeling of accomplishment inspired Jamie to make another small change: He cut out deep fried foods and reduced the red meat and starch consumption.
The snowball effect now in motion, Jamie started jogging around his Vancouver neighbourhood. A month after ditching soda, Jamie had lost 30 pounds! “As I noticed my body losing fat, I started refocusing and researching, and began weight-lifting to build up my strength.”
Why the “start small” approach works:
Jamie’s “start small” approach is backed up by science. According to the American Psychological Association, “breaking down your goals into small, manageable steps” is one of the keys to lasting lifestyle changes. “Unhealthy behaviours develop over the course of time, so replacing unhealthy behaviours with healthy ones requires time,” the APA Help Center says. “Many people run into problems when they try to change too much too fast. To improve your success, focus on one goal or change at a time. As new healthy behaviours become a habit, try to add another goal that works toward the overall change you’re striving for.”
Jamie is living proof that anyone can do this!
So much has changed for him since that first simple choice to stop drinking pop: His friends, family and coworkers see a more confident guy. But one thing hasn’t changed: “Every single day is about making choices. It can be a struggle. The first month you see improvements, but if it’s not happening quick enough, you just have to stick to your guns.”
In the end, perseverance pays off. Just look at Jamie: “I love the life that I’m living,” he says proudly. “I’m happier and healthier, both mentally and physically, than I’ve ever been.”
Do you know anyone who would benefit from this article?
Share this health story to encourage and inspire other men or email us at [email protected] to discover how you can help others by sharing your own journey to wellness.