The Unstoppable power of one small change
Looking back on this year, I am amazed at the power of one small change. I experienced how one small change can create big changes — for the better.
As I recently told a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time, I feel like this year, I “came alive.” I had more energy. I had more drive. I started running faster than I imagined I ever would. I lost 10 more pounds and had to buy new clothes that fit. I went back to working on goals I had forgotten about since having children. And I believe all of these positive changes stem from one small change: I started eating more protein.
Drinking a vegan protein shake started out being a way to recover after running for exercise. (Three years ago, I never ran unless the gym teacher made me. Now I’m training for my sixth half-marathon.) But my muscle-repairing shake habit led me to cut back on starches and sugars. This was hard for me, because I am the queen of carbs. Because I was hungry without eating my usual (gluten-free) fare, I also found myself eating more good fats (like nuts, olives and avocados) because I remembered reading somewhere that eating fat keeps you from feeling hungry. I didn’t eat low-carb, exactly, and I didn’t count calories, but I focused on protein, good fats and vegetables.
My changes in eating led to losing weight, which is why I’m 90% sure I started running faster — my faster pace coincided with my weight loss. Running faster burns more calories, so it helped me even more. To help improve my running even more, I started being more disciplined about doing core-strength exercises, and that helped bring more definition to my body in general. In September, I ran a 5k race in 27:30 — at which I was so astonished that I kept staring and staring at those numbers as if they were going to change to a slower pace.
With a slightly improved metabolism, I had more energy — something all moms need. I got better sleep, and I didn’t dread getting out of bed in the morning. (Although I do revel in naps and sleeping in on weekends whenever the chance presents itself.) Through spring and summer, I practically dragged my family and any friends who would go with us to Florida barrier islands on kayaking day trips. Next thing I knew, I was going back to writing stories the way my younger self used to. I recaptured my imagination and put it to work. I plan to have a completed novel manuscript next year, along with other projects.
Did all of this really come out of a scoop of protein powder? Well, here’s the thing I learned this year about the power of one small change: it leads to more changes and snowballs and morphs and takes you on a pretty interesting ride.
(Just ask anyone who ever wanted to make one itty-bitty change to their home. Paint a wall, then you want to switch out the wall art. Then your window treatments will be all wrong, and after you replace them, the rug and lamps will have to go, too.)
Having more energy begets having more energy. It makes you want to keep that energy level up — it makes you feel unstoppable and vibrant. At the beginning of this year, I wouldn’t have guessed I would feel this way, run this fast, indulge my imagination this much. Even if I can’t run sometime or fall off the healthy-eating wagon, I hope the memory of feeling this unstoppable buoyancy will carry me back.
I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but if you are looking ahead to next year already and thinking about what to improve in your life, I recommend starting with one small change. What would that be for you? Share your tips and what you have learned.
The makers of Children’s MOTRIN® are offering moms the chance to provide helpful ideas on the Motrin Facebook page. Go there to answer the most current question to enter a sweepstakes with weekly drawings for $100 gift cards. Every tip shared means a $1 donation to Safe Kids, an organization dedicated to preventing injuries in children.
*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY, OPEN TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 UNITED STATES & D.C., 18 AND OLDER. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Promotion ends 11:59p.m. ET 12/28/14. Sponsor will donate $1 for each approved Submission made as part of the promotion, with a minimum donation of $30,000 and a maximum donation of $50,000. For Official Rules and complete details, visit www.unstoppablemoms.com. Sponsor: McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc. To learn more about Safe Kids Worldwide, visit safekids.org.