Rejoice in the Little Wins

So, if you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you know my family kicked off one year of Paleo eating on January 1 of this year. (If you want to know why, click here.). We “eased into it” by eliminating all grains and sugar. Yeah- no ease in that, folks. It was BRUTAL. Sugar is in EVERYTHING!!
Ranch dressing
Ketchup
Chips
Peanut butter
Almond milk
“All natural” fruit spread

We threw out and gave away any food that didn’t fit the profile, and we drastically changed our meal plan. Aaron started stock piling the one salad dressing we could find without sugar, just in case they discontinued it. We got used to eating lettuce taco shells, lettuce-wrapped burgers, and I even started to like mustard.

But I’ll be honest- the hard core stuff faded after a couple of months. I became discouraged in April when we found ourselves eating out again and popcorn had worked its way back into our pantry. I had been trying to lose weight, and I’d been utilizing an app to track what I ate. One day, I found this report that showed the foods I ate the most, and what I saw surprised me.

What were my top five foods? Tomatoes, chicken, eggs, lettuce, and kale.

Whaaaa??? That’s a pretty major shift for me. That evening was an even bigger encouragement, when I noticed my kids asking for seconds on salad and no complaining when we had hamburgers without buns. Prior to this, my 5-year-old would not touch a vegetable unless he was dared to.

The truth is, we had made some serious progress in our path toward healthy eating. If I had just stopped to notice the little wins in the day-to-day, I would have noticed that we came much further than I thought.

We only drink organic cow’s milk or almond milk
We only get bread on special occasions
The kids’ lunches are made up of 2 proteins (eggs, beef jerky, bacon), 1-2 veggies (my kids eat celery!), 1 fruit, and 1 starch
Our favorite breakfast is eggs, bacon and fruit, not chocolate chip pancakes and syrup
We rarely have sweets in the house.

All of these “little” wins add up to something really big for our family, and I began to wonder if there were other people who were discouraged like me, overlooking the steps they had taken in the right direction.

Life change doesn’t happen in leaps and bounds. Babies learn to walk one tiny step at a time. Doctors attend 16 semesters of study before they’re qualified to take an exam to get a license. Kindergarteners learn to read by memorizing sounds, patterns and site words. We may hear it a lot, but our western, microwave culture has trained us to expect quick results and, ironically, has numbed our senses so we fail to perceive how important the “little decisions” are.

Look at the obesity epidemic. Do we get 100 pounds overweight overnight? Do people PLAN to become unhealthy? NO. It’s a slow fade. If we want to live healthy lives, have healthy relationships, enjoy our work, get out of debt, it isn’t going to happen by leaping tall buildings in a single bound. Think “hike” rather than “run.”

What are your little wins?
Look back at the steps you have taken. How far have you come?
How are you celebrating those?
How are you encouraging others in their little wins?

Don’t miss the opportunity to look at your child when she followed your instructions for the first time today and applaud her. When that “set in her ways” team member tries something new, celebrate! Don’t let the speed of life blur the beauty along the way. Stop and smell the flowers. Celebrate the little wins, because they are adding up to something really big.

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