I don't normally buy "People" magazine, but I love this issue. People who lost half their weight!
Their stories are so inspirational. They worked so hard and overcame so much. And now they look so good and are so proud of themselves.
It's such a feel-good issue.
I adore a good makeover. What's not to love about sisters who encourage each other to fight their way from this:
They look adorable! And look at this before-and-after:
Josephine Reed, I want that dress! Those shoes and belt are fantastic, too!
And even though these are big, dramatic changes, everybody overhauled themselves in little bitty steps.
Little bitty steps like substituting 1% milk for half-and-half in your morning coffee.
It doesn't sound like much. But half-and-half is 20 calories per tablespoon, and 1% milk is only 8. That little difference adds up, over the course of a year.
Say you use 1 tbsp. of half-and-half in a cup of coffee, and you drink two cups daily.
One year of half-and-half is 20 x 2 x 365, or 14,600 calories. It takes about 3,500 calories to create one pound of body fat. And 14,600 divided by 3,500 is almost 4.2 pounds.
Do nothing different for the next year except substitute 1% milk for half-and-half, and you will drop 4 pounds. That's all!
Here's another little bitty step. If you can't move away from sugar in your coffee yet, switch over from using loose sugar piled in a spoon to using sugar cubes.
One sugar cube is precisely 15 calories. Every single time.
A spoonful of sugar can be significantly more, depending on the size of the spoon and how high you pile it.
Let's say you use a spoon that allows you to pile on 25 calories of sugar each time you have a cup of coffee. And you drink two cups a day.
That's 25 x 2 x 365, or another 18,250 calories per year. If you switch to using one cube of sugar per cup instead, you use 15 x 2 x 365 calories. That's 10,900 calories per year. The difference is 7,350 calories, or a bit over two pounds of extra pudge around your middle.
Of course, if you want to push it a bit further, go for a sugar substitute. I used Splenda until I discovered Truvia, which is the best-tasting substitute I've found. At zero calories per cupful of coffee, they are gonna help you drop the pounds even faster.
If you substitute one of these for two sugar cubes daily, you will lose three pounds in a year. If you have been piling 25 calories of loose sugar into two cups of coffee daily, then switching to Splenda will mean you lose five pounds a year.
If you are leery of sugar substitutes, try this: Over the course of a month, sloooooowly decrease the amount of sugar you use in your cuppa joe. Use a set of measuring spoons and try to go from a flat teaspoonful in each cup of coffee down to 1/8 teaspoon, over the four weeks. By the time you get below that, you can probably just say goodbye to sugary coffee permanently.
Most people find it takes a month or so to get used to a new behavior.
If, while you're saving calories, you want to achieve a clearer sense of purpose and joy in life, I have two books to suggest.
"The Book of Awakening" is a series of short, daily reflections designed to be read throughout the year, starting with January 1. (I won't tell if you have to gallop through a few at the beginning to catch up!). Author Mark Nepo, a cancer survivor, draws on different faith traditions to create a lovely, luminous book that will rekindle your sense of what a rare and precious gift our lives are.
(Click on this link and you can take a short peek inside the book.)
Each passage is short enough to be read in a couple of minutes (I read mine over my early-morning coffee). But the words will stay with you a long time.
Another wonderful daily companion is Sarah Ban Breathnach's oldie-but-goodie, "Simple Abundance," first published in 1995.
(Click on this link to take a look inside the book.)
Like Nepo's book, the daily passages are short on length and long on wisdom. Ban Breathnach's work is designed more for women, however, so menfolk might want to try Nepo's book, which seems more egalitarian.
A little drop in calories in your daily cup of coffee. A little bit of wisdom to start your day off right.
Little bitty changes can add up to a slimmer, calmer, happier you in 2012.