Good advice for losing weight

My friend Lance Arthur wrote a wonderful piece of advice which I keep taped up on the inside of my kitchen cupboards:

That debate about fat vs. carbs and what should one eat to lose weight is rearing its head again, and speaking as a person who has recently lost weight, I can tell you what the answer was for me: Eat Less. That's what I did. Oh, sure, I cut some things from my diet completely (donuts, potato chips, soft drinks) but mostly I just cut back on everything. I also stopped eating snacks at night, never ate dinner after 8pm, started eating something for breakfast (it jump-starts your metabolism) and began getting off my ass and exercising. But there's no magic cure. You can adopt a new diet and lose weight, but unless you stick to it (you really never want to eat pasta again? no lasagna? no spaghetti? ever again?) you're bound to gain it back. And you can come up with all sorts of excuses for not losing weight, but I'd probably label you lazy. Get off your ass and go outside and put down that fried chicken leg and drink more water and stop going to anything with a drive-thru and eat less. Eat Less.

(reprinted with permission)

Discard enertia

Discardia is an attitude as much as an act. You don't need to make a lot of massive changes all at once or do every activity I suggest to be a discardian; just commit yourself to change and take more consideration about what new things you bring into your life.

Do what you can. If you don't have time or energy to clean that closet, just do 30 minutes on it or go through the things on one shelf.

Don't fall into the trap of spending a ton of money on new organizational toys unless you're really sure you'll get enough benefit from them. Maybe before you buy that expensive storage compartment system, you should dry-run the concept with some stacked shoeboxes. Finish your first rounds of purges before you lock yourself into a new arrangement for things.

Whatever you do though, do a little something that starts you moving in the direction you want to go.

Do one thing, just a little thing, right now.

Fresh Eyes: Bedroom

Today, go into your bedroom and see what pleases you and what doesn't.

Are there things in there which don't belong? Figure out where they can move instead. If they can go nowhere else (hello, studio apartment dwellers!) could they be contained or disguised in a way to make them bother you less?

Are there things missing, for example, enough dresser space or a rug by the bed to shield your morning toes from a cold floor? Make a list and, if you have something on it which matters more to you in the bedroom then where it currently is, move it in right now.

Would a different layout make you more comfortable and work better? Thinking about the morning light can be helpful here.

For those with larger places to live, are you even using the right room for your bedroom? If another room might be better, play with the idea on paper and make some measurements before you start moving furniture. Trust me on this one.

At the least, find one thing you can do today which will make you happier in your bedroom from now on.

Make a place for pleasures

I asked you new year's day to think about what you love, now I want you to think about whether your home supports you in doing those things.

Do you want to dedicate a little more time to reading for pleasure? Do you have a comfortable place to do it? Can you arrange for a big chair with good reading light and a small bookcase right at hand?

Are you planning to get out and do some backpacking this year? How's your equipment? Buried in the basement or the back of a closet? Or scattered around the place? What about pulling it together and storing it in a more organized way so you don't have a roadblock to getting out of town?

Love to cook, but your kitchen is a disaster area? Well, maybe it's time for another Friday Freedom round and ridding your kitchen of non-essentials. Would some reorganization give you a better workspace?

Figure out what you can do to set the stage for the life you want to be living.

A Room of One’s Own

Do you like tea or cocoa? Make yourself a cup. Or grab a coffee or a beer or big glass of water. Pick up some paper and a pen, sit down and write some things for yourself.

What would qualities would you like your home to have?

Think back over the places you lived. What was great about each of them? What didn't you like and want to avoid in the future?

Write until you're pretty sure you have captured the most important stuff to you.

Now look it over. What do you have in your currrent place? What could you add here? Or do you need to start thinking about a move to bring you more in line with your dreams?

What's the most important thing to you of the changes you want to make? What's the first step towards that? Write that down.

What's the easiest thing? Do it right now if you can or make the arrangements to do it as soon as possible.

Keep your list where you'll keep coming back to it regularly.

Note: the list can change, just like you. That's fine; just keep moving towards what matters.

What do you love?

Today you get to think about the good stuff.

Go for a walk or sit somewhere comfortable. Listen to music you really like or enjoy some silence.

Now, remember the things you really like to do. If you magically had no obligations for three days – no lost opportunities or work piled up when you came back and no expectations of you  – how would you spend your time?

What did you love best to do as a kid?

Think back over your whole life and write down what you've loved doing at different ages.

Next, circle the things you still love to do. Keep writing down any new ones you remember.

Tomorrow, we'll start taking a look at how you get to do the good stuff more often, but for now, just daydream about the best of times.

And happy new year!

Identify Your Anchor

What would you love to be rid of by New Year's Eve next year?

What is slowing you down or getting in your way? Draw a bullseye on it in your mind and start looking for ways to purge it from your life. What's the first thing you can do to chip away at it or minimize its impact on you? Write that thing down on your planner on the first day where you have a free hour. Do it.

Do This One Thing…

If you did one little act of discardia every day for the next year, how would it change your quality of life?

Want to give it a try?

Subscribe to the feed of this website in your feed reader (Sage, Netvibes, Bloglines, whatever floats your boat) or just visit this page every day and I'll give you one little suggestion of what you might want to do.

We're going to start on New Year's Eve…

– Dinah