How to Sustainably Change

It was over my first summer in Colorado was a big one!

It was 2015! I was making new friends in my new home. The last good season of Game of Thrones just came out. And I decided I was going to change my body to be the more fit version of itself.

At the time, I was 235 pounds (106.6kg), and not thrilled about it. That summer I decided things were going to change! I started eating fish and rice for the majority of my meals, and biking to work every day. Thankfully, I had a friend that worked with me who could pick me up at work, or drop me off so I only needed to bike one way!

It was a major overhaul.

It felt like it was happening overnight. I was losing so much, it was great! I was living that #fitlife. I was surprised that my cold turkey method and just changing things drastically worked. I lost 50 pounds (22.7) in those warm months. Chillin at 185lbs (83.9kg), I was a happy camper!

I of course wanted to lose more, but I was proud of how far I had come. Losing that much takes a considerable amount of effort. It was time to celebrate my achievement!!

Unfortunately, despite my consistent trips to the gym (especially the sauna), I didn’t make my goal weight. I didn’t even stay at the new weight I just made it too. I eventually found my way to about 205lbs (93kg) and stayed there for the rest of my Colorado life.

I mean, technically I still lost 30 pounds, so that’s good enough, right?


When I left Colorado, I decided that I was going to change my lifestyle, sustainably. I wanted to keep whatever changes that I made to my life.

When it came to my health and weight, I decided that I was going to make small changes every couple of weeks or month not all at once. Then I’d stick to those changes for as long as I could, ideally for life.

Change 1: Stop eating when I feel a little bit full.
Can we admit that we don’t stop eating until we fill completely full. Sometimes, you keep eating until you literally can’t and you feel gloriously gross while sitting at the dining table! Yeah, I’ve conquered plenty of all-you-can-eat buffets before. So I decided that as soon as I feel even a little bit of the sensation of being full. I would stop eating.
Oddly enough, I didn’t die of hunger!

Change 2: If I could walk or bike there in under an hour, do it.
When I moved to New Zealand, I didn’t have a car for a while. I was trying to see as much as I could, and soak in the sights. Full disclosure, I was okay with this plan because previously, I wasn’t a huge fan of bus transportation. Also, bus fares are not cheap here and THEY WOULD’NT ACCEPT MY OLD STUDENT ID as a valid to get the student discount.
I admit, it was hard! Walking long distances, riding up ridiculous hills, but after a month of it, I started to prefer it! If it’s raining, ride fast, if it’s windy, walk sturdy, and if it’s sunny, enjoy it! I do take the bus now, and I do drive my car from time to time, but if it’s decent enough weather, and within an hour’s ride, I’ll take my bike.

Change 3: Change what I eating. Goodbye bread, cheese, fried food. Hello apples, peanut butter and veggies.
I’m not much of a snacking kind of person, but I was getting hungry more often from not eating as much and from all the walking and biking. So, if I wanted to eat something, I didn’t want to pop on in to my local Macca’s (McDonalds) for a burger and fries. Instead, I’d chow on an apple and peanut butter, or pour myself a nice bowl of oatmeal.
Admittedly, when I go out, I don’t mind having bread or cheese on my plate. I try to avoid fried food still, but I’m not hyper strict about it. But now, I daily make fruit smoothies, and one of my flatmates says he sees me eat more vegetables than anything else on my plate for the majority of my meals. I’m okay with that.

Change 4: Exercising. In my opinion, riding my bike to church isn’t exercising and going out for a hike is not exercising. Exercising is exercising.
I haven’t joined a gym yet, but I decided that after nearly 5 months of these changes, I should add an exercising routine to my life. 7 days a week I work out. 3 days a week, I go for a run. Sometimes it’s a short 1km to a local park and back. Other times it’s a solid 10k, running home after a morning downtown. The other days of the week, I’m spending 10-15 min doing core workouts, pushups, and sit ups. It’s not a heavy workout by any means, but it’s a solid sustainable start.
Going on walks and bike rides are good for me. However, making the time to actually exercise, (intentionally moving my body with the purpose of strengthening) pays off in different dividends than walking or biking around.


These changes happened over time and now I think of them as my daily routine. It’s just my life. I only have this body for a few years, why not keep it in decent running shape? Today, I’m sitting at 173 pounds (78.5kgs). A 40 pound difference from my last days Colorado. Pretty happy with my progress. I have a few more changes in mind that I’ll do in the near future once I have these changes engrained in my life.

I fully believe that one of the main reason why I’ve been able to change is because it’s been sustainable. Small changes over time, make big differences. Because I’m a sports type of guy: I like to think of a 1 degree difference on the putting green doesn’t make a difference. But a 1 degree difference from the tee, is a major alteration in where the ball lands. (For my non sports friends, small changes change who you are over time.)

We’re all going to change. It’s inevitable. Why not commit to small changes now so you can control where you go next?