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Using Kaizen to Help You Lose Weight and Keep it Off

Using Kaizen to Help You Lose Weight and Keep it Off

Kaizen is the practice of continually improving. And who doesn’t want that kind of result for their weight loss? Kaizen was first introduced to the West in 1986 by Japanese businessman and author Masaaki Imai. Although it’s generally applied to business practice, its principles can work wonders for your weight loss. First up, I’d like to explore how Kaizen can affect your weight loss mindset.

Kaizen is based on certain core concepts:

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  • Good processes get good results
  • See for yourself to understand the present situation
  • Speak with data, manage with facts
  • Take action to correct the root cause of problems

But the most important concept of all is that big results come from making small changes over time. Sound familiar? This is also one of my core weight loss philosophies. It goes against what the weight loss industry preaches – you’ll probably know from bitter experience that weight loss plans and programs generally encourage you to make major adjustments to your diet and exercise overnight. The result? Unsustainable changes that make you throw in the towel before too long – and then back comes the weight.

Small steps for weight loss

So how does Kaizen’s ‘small steps’ approach apply to developing a weight loss mindset? It’s simple: forget about making a ‘lifestyle change’ tomorrow, and focus on changing one thing at a time instead. You’ll be surprised – pleasantly surprised – by how easily you’ll achieve the results you’re looking for.

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Science backs up this ‘small steps’ approach. It begins in your brain. Any big changes you make in your life, even small ones, are scary. Think about it: if you’re moving overseas for a new job, you might be excited, but also full of trepidation, and nervous about how it’ll all turn out. On a much smaller scale, if you’ve decided to quit drinking for a month, it’s still scary – if you’re used to a glass or two of wine most nights, the idea of going without for 30 entire nights can make you feel similar fears: how will it turn out? Will it be awful? How will you feel? Can you keep it up?

Fight-or-flight

Basically, whatever the change you’re making, you’re breaking away from your routine. And how does your routine make you feel? Familiar. At home. Comfortable. So often, when we attempt dramatic changes suddenly, we trigger anxiety – like the rug’s been pulled from under us – and we get that ‘fight or flight’ response that’s governed by the amygdala, or the part of the brain that acts as the centre for emotions and emotional behaviour.

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It’s not all bad – when you set off that ‘fight or flight’ reaction, you also trigger the part of your brain that’s responsible for thinking and problem-solving. The trouble is that this can be overwhelmed by your emotional response, and when this happens, all those good intentions go down the toilet and the radical change you just made gets reversed. Think of any diet you’ve ever been on, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

But if you skip the major change and go for small changes instead, you won’t send yourself into an anxiety spiral. Your brain can cope just fine with small changes, because they’re just that – small. Manageable. And you still get the benefit of activating that thinking part of your brain.

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Develop your mindset

Use this knowledge to develop your weight loss mindset. Every time you worry about failing or feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, stop and ask yourself what the smallest thing is you can do that you know will help your weight loss efforts. It can be skipping wine at dinner tonight, it can be going for a 10-minute stroll during your lunchbreak. Whatever it is, when you’ve achieved it, you’ll feel good – you’ll feel like you can tackle the next challenge. So on you go, making incremental positive changes, until you realise that they’re having a big effect.

So weight loss isn’t that hard after all – not with Kaizen as your guide. Think small, and you’ll get big results – and you’ll develop a successful healthy living mindset.

More by this author

How To Get Your Weight Loss Back On Track After A Tragedy Using Kaizen to Help You Lose Weight and Keep it Off How to be a Weight Loss Success Story Six Ways to Kickstart Your Weight Loss 10 Ways to Boost Your Weight Loss Productivity

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Last Updated on August 4, 2020

8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

Minimalism is a way to put a stop to the gluttony of the world around us. It’s the opposite of every advertisement we see plastered on the radio and TV. We live in a society that prides itself on the accumulation of stuff; we eat up consumerism, material possessions, clutter, debt, distractions and noise.

What we don’t seem to have is any meaning left in our world.

By adopting a minimalist lifestyle, you can throw out what you don’t need in order to focus on what you do need.

I know first hand how little we actually need to survive. I was fortunate enough to live in a van for four months while traveling throughout Australia. This experience taught me valuable lessons about what really matters and how little we really need all this stuff we surround ourselves with.

Less is more.

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Living a minimalist lifestyle is reducing.There are a few obvious benefits of minimalism such as less cleaning and stress, a more organized household and more money to be found, but there are also a few deep, life-changing benefits.

What we don’t usually realize is that when we reduce, we reduce a lot more than just stuff.

Consider just some of the benefits of living with fewer possessions:

1. Create Room for What’s Important

When we purge our junk drawers and closets we create space and peace. We lose that claustrophobic feeling and we can actually breathe again. Create the room to fill up our lives with meaning instead of stuff.

2. More Freedom

The accumulation of stuff is like an anchor, it ties us down. We are always terrified of losing all our ‘stuff’. Let it go and you will experience a freedom like never before: a freedom from greed, debt, obsession and overworking.

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3. Focus on Health and Hobbies

When you spend less time at Home Depot trying unsuccessfully to keep up with the Joneses, you create an opening to do the things you love, things that you never seem to have time for.

Everyone is always saying they don’t have enough time, but how many people really stop and look at what they are spending their time doing?

You could be enjoying a day with your kids, hitting up the gym, practicing yoga, reading a good book or traveling. Whatever it is that you love you could be doing, but instead you are stuck at Sears shopping for more stuff.

4. Less Focus on Material Possessions

All the stuff we surround ourselves with is merely a distraction, we are filling a void. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy comfort. After the initial comfort is satisfied, that’s where our obsession with money should end.

We are bombarded by the media presenting promises of happiness through materialistic measures. It’s no wonder we struggle everyday. Resist those urges. It’s an empty path, it won’t make you happy.

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It’s hard not to get roped into the consumerism trap. I need constant reminders that it’s a false sense of happiness. I enjoy stuff, but I also recognize that I don’t need it.

5. More Peace of Mind

When we cling onto material possessions we create stress because we are always afraid of losing these things. By simplifying your life you can lose your attachment to these things and ultimately create a calm, peaceful mind.

The less things you have to worry about, the more peace you have, and it’s as simple as that.

6. More Happiness

When de-cluttering your life, happiness naturally comes because you gravitate towards the things that matter most. You see clearly the false promises in all the clutter, it’s like a broken shield against life’s true essence.

You will also find happiness in being more efficient, you will find concentration by having refocused your priorities, you will find joy by enjoying slowing down.

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7. Less Fear of Failure

When you look at Buddhist monks, they have no fear, and they have no fear because they don’t have anything to lose.

In whatever you wish to pursue doing you can excel, if you aren’t plagued with the fear of losing all your worldly possessions. Obviously you need to take the appropriate steps to put a roof over your head, but also know that you have little to fear except fear itself.

8. More Confidence

The entire minimalist lifestyle promotes individuality and self reliance. This will make you more confident in your pursuit of happiness.

What’s Next? Go Minimalism.

If you’re ready to start living a minimalist lifestyle, these articles can help you to kickstart:

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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