Baby steps and smaller, incremental victories are what lead to the big finish - the one that lasts.
Former Desperate Housewife Bethenny Frankel, healthy living author and maker of the Skinny Margarita and, has this mantra that "you can have it all, you just can't have it all at once."
The same goes for making healthy changes. To change it all, you need not change it all at once.
A new runner wouldn't be expected to run a marathon next week. Likewise, becoming more Badass -- from weight loss and muscle gain to faster race times or simply finishing that first 5K -- doesn't require completely overhauling your eating and fitness in one giant leap.
Which brings me to the Fall 2011 Badass Challenge for every reader and Badass Army recruit: Starting this week, and for the next four weeks, make just two little changes. Each week, you'll maintain the changes from the week before and add two more.
By week four, you will have changed eight little things about the way you eat, drink, shop, and move. And it won't feel like you have drastically deprived yourself or subjected yourself to torture at the gym. When week four comes, I will ask you to let me know how it's going. What worked, what didn't? Then we'll pile on more baby steps over four more weeks. By the end of it, you might not even need to include "lose 5 pounds" on your list of 2012 Resolutions. How 'bout them apples!?
This first week, pick just two of the "baby steps" below.
1. Ditch whole milk, go down a few percentage points. If you drink whole, go to 2 percent. if you drink 2 percent, go to 1 percent or skim.
3. Park further away from the entrance.
4. Take the stairs.
5. Move from whole-milk mozzarella to skim-milk mozzarella.
7. Eat only half of that morning bagel, and shave off half the cream cheese while you're at it.
8. When you're on a conference call, hit 'speaker' and use the time to walk around, stand up, even squat.
9. Take 10 minutes at lunchtime to walk.
10. Daily soda drinkers: Drink one less can per day.
11. Stop SuperSizing. The most expensive food you'll ever eat, health-wise, is "free" or a "value meal."
12. Use half the normal amount of sugar in your daily coffee.
13. Half the recipe's recommended amount of oil or butter, except when baking.
14. For baked goods, make half the called-for flour whole wheat.
15. Sprinkle wheat germ and ground flaxseed in oatmeal or cereal. You won't even know it's there.
16. Switch from regular to Greek yogurt. More protein, less sugar.
18. Half your normal portion of rice or pasta and replace it with veggies or a salad.
19. Skip the bread basket - and shave hundreds of calories from your eat-out meal.
20. Trade white bread for wheat.
21. Add 5 minutes to your regular cardio regimen.
22. Go up in weight, even if it means a few fewer reps, in your strength training regimen.
23. In between strength sets, do 20 jumping jacks. By the end of a full workout, you'll have done hundreds of jacks and burned extra calories.
24. Add 5 reps to your "maximum" reps of pushups. Odds are, you can push out those last 5 and prove you are stronger than you've given yourself credit for.
25. Trade that candy bar "fix" for 2 small York Peppermint Patties - just 100 calories of chocolate mint goodness! And about 150 FEWER calories that those regular candy bars.
Coming this week: A fellow recruit shares her latest salad-for-dinner obsession (meat lovers rejoice!), and a strength routine to sculpt those legs and glutes.