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Breaking it Down Into Palatable Pieces

Posted Aug 23 2008 3:20pm

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I picked up Martha Beck’s book, The Four Day Win , in Chicago and have not been able to devour it the way I thought I would. Rather, I’m savoring it in little bits and pieces.

I realize the analogy is very good for life in general.

And because it’s not something I’ve regularly practiced in the past (I tend to view things “big picture” and get hung up on details) the realization was fairly monumental.

When we take a big bite, we sometimes miss the flavors melding together, the marriage of, say, maple and brown sugar in our oatmeal or the zesty lemon-garlic in which our chicken is marinated.

And when we look at challenges of any kind in the big picture, sometimes we lose sight of the small things that make overcoming the challenge seem so amazing. You can look at weight loss, weight management, disordered eating…any of these things in that frame of reference.

By making steps in a challenge palatable, they are more likely to come to fruition. Studies show this, statistics preach it, and many of us live it, whether we realize it or not.

(Check out Weetabix at Elastic Waist, who blogged about this recently in her quest for optimal health .)

The thing is, if you set out to lose 30 lbs. and lose one pound a week, it might not seem like a huge feat to see the scale drop by 0.3, 0.8, 1.2… but over time, those ounces and pounds add up to a newer, smaller, fitter you.

Likewise, if you struggle with binge eating, and go one night binge-free, and then two and then three…that’s a lot more feasible to grasp than saying from the start, “I won’t binge for 30 days.” Because you might. And then what?

The trick is, when you’re looking at it in smaller pieces, you’re more apt to pick yourself up again and aim for another night binge-free…rather than saying you were a flop in your lust for a Binge-Free Month.

Life hands us challenges of all kinds, and half of how we handle it is our attitude. And during challenging times, when the scale is stuck, or you’re struggling at work, feeling pressure to buy a home or land your dream job, whatever it may be… we need to remember to “give ourselves credit.” for the steps we’ve already taken.

Along these lines, a friend shared with me a Biblical verse that has helped her tackle challenges, “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.” The words hit home. We really do need to live in the moment, embracing the present, savoring the “now.” We need to relish that can-do attitude, because tomorrow will come regardless.

And maybe we’ll see that scale dip a little lower. Maybe we’ll run a little faster.

Or, maybe we won’t. It’s not the end of the world.

If we break life down into little pieces, we can see the trees that make the forest, and have a greater appreciation for each twig, leaf, berry we come across on our journey.

And if we give ourselves credit along the way for taking these small steps, we’ll be that much happier.

How about you? Do you find that breaking challenges down into smaller bites helps you, or are you better off going after the big picture?

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