The 1% Rule to Achieving Your Weight Loss Goal

How small changes to your daily routine can help you lose weight.

person standing on white digital bathroom scale

I've been a member of at least 10 different fitness centers in the past 12 years. Now that I recollect it, I could very well mention 'signing up for a gym membership' as a hobby in my resume.

Many of you would've been at this situation a few times in your lives. You would've signed up for a gym membership by paying the 'attractive yearly bird' offer, go for a three days with great enthusiasm and then snooze your alarm the fourth day telling yourself "I'll go tomorrow."

This is a known fact!

Only 47% of people who signed up for a gym membership visit throughout the year (at least 100 times). And the gym owners and fitness chains also know this. Most gyms can only handle 20% of people who sign up for the membership

Why does this happen?

There is too much of friction when it comes to achieving your weight loss goals. Even though weight loss sounds like one goal, it involves following several different habits such as following a diet, getting up and going to the gym, remembering the workouts, etc.

Your brain that had been lazy for a long time faces a tough time following all these habits at once.

Result? You snooze the alarm on your fourth day.

When it comes to weight loss, many of us do not understand that it is not a one-time process, it is continuous. The habits you build during the time of your weight loss should be followed throughout your life. Also, it costs you $600-800 (in the US) and Rs.12,000 - 14,000 if you're in India.

What if there is an effective way to lose weight that has low friction and a high probability of you following it in the longer run.

Mindfulness and the 1% Rule

When I recently read James Clear's 'Atomic Habits', I came across a concept called "The aggregation of marginal gains". By making small incremental improvements (as little as 1%) to your routine, you can achieve outcomes in the longer run.

The aggregation of marginal gains shows how small improvements and one percent gains compound.

But, I already applied a version of it when I decided to lose weight last year. Let me tell you how I applied this concept for weight loss.

On October 2019, I weighed myself and I was at 110.75 kg. My mom and wife were worried about my weight. I tried various things in the past. But I couldn't follow the routine and ended up gaining more weight than before.

This time I tried to follow a different approach. I brought a weight scale to constantly track my weight and document the numbers on a spreadsheet.

I set smaller weight loss goals rather than a huge one. For example, on day one I did not think I want to reduce 10 kg. Instead, I told myself, within the next one month, I must lose 1 - 2 kg.

And, instead of dreaming about the future, I started focusing on the present.

When I woke up, I assured myself that I will have good, healthy, and wholesome meals throughout the day. I was conscious about properly chewing my food rather than gobbling it. Gobbling up food without chewing properly is one of the major reasons for overeating and I prevented that by being mindful when I ate. This made me feel full and I ate less than before.

When I came across junk food, I asked myself whether I am craving for it. If not, I skipped it.

On the other hand, when I craved for something, I immediately ordered and ate it. For example, every Wednesday I have biryani and I did not change it. Holding on to your cravings is the biggest mistake in a weight loss process. Because holding your craving can make you go mad all at once and set you on a 'junk food eating' spree.

By following these simple steps, I lost 2 kg by the end of the first month.

I was happy as I did not make too much of a change to my routine but achieved my goal. During this time, I got used to eating mindfully and avoiding junk food unless I craved for it.

With these habits as my foundation, I set my next goal which was to reduce 2 more kilograms. But this time I added two more habits to my routine. Following a high protein diet and following intermittent fasting on alternate days. By the next month, I lost 3 kilograms. Now, with small increments, I reduced 5 kilograms in two months.

On the third phase, I introduced 1-2 days of physical activity per week. This included long walks, shorter 2 km runs, climbing a flight of stairs, etc. These small changes helped me reach my goal.

And, as per last week, my weight was 101.25 kg.

With small incremental changes to my daily routine, I was able to reduce 9.5 kg. The best part is, I got stuck to most of the habits and I haven't fell off the wagon for the past six months.

Minimum friction and maximum gain.

Some actionable weight loss tips

  • Don't gobble up food: Chewing your food is the best way to avoid overeating. If you're someone who gobbles up food, try chewing more.

  • Eat a lot of Ghee: Add Ghee to all your meals (1 spoon is enough). Adding good cholesterol has amazing benefits like hormonal balance, proper functioning of the digestive system, assimilation of vitamins into your system, fixing damaged cells, etc.

  • Weight fluctuations are normal: Don't be scared if you find out that you've put on 2 kgs in a day. It happens. The weight fluctuation is common. It happens due to your body retaining excess salt and water. So, don't panic. You will get back to normal in a couple of days.

  • Try intermittent fasting on alternate days: Alternate day fasting is proven highly effective. Also, you get to have your favorite breakfast 3-4 times a week.

  • Do moderate workout three times a week: Follow a low to medium intensity workout program 20 minutes a day for three times a week.

Weight loss doesn't work like Steve Rogers turning into Captain America. It is a slow process and continuous process. Take small steps and you will achieve your goal. Start making your 1% change today.

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