I always thought that in order to make any meaningful impact on your life, you had to make a big change.
That is, if I wanted to change my mindset about something or alter my outlook on life, I would have to do something drastic. But, through my own experience, I can confidently tell you that that isn’t always true. You don’t need to climb up to the peak of a Chinese mountain and drink tea to find inner peace. Or you don’t have to go on a 10-day meditation retreat to search for enlightenment.
In fact, in the past three years, I have made three small but powerful changes that have significantly altered my outlook on three key areas of my life: my nutrition, fitness, and mental mindsets.
Let’s start with the first small change…
Small Change #1: The Power Of Oatmeal
It’s a Monday morning in 2014 and I just got into work. As I sit down at my desk, a post-note in my co-worker’s block printing catches my eye.
“Heck ya,” I think to myself. I hastily collect the spare change I have left lying around my desk for these McDonald moments.
Thirty minutes after I’ve taken my last bite of my bacon, egg, and maple pancake sandwich, my belly feels like there’s enough oil to sustain a small factory. I feel the grease seeping out of my forehead and it’s hard to type emails with my oily fingers.
Now fast forward a couple of months. A new girl starts at work. Her name is Vanessa and we quickly get to know each other. One thing I notice about her is that she never joins in when we have a donut run or a quick jaunt to the cafeteria for those extra chocolatey, gooey cookies.
I also notice that every morning when she first gets to the office, she fixes herself a small bowl of oatmeal, disappears into the kitchen and comes back with a steaming hot mixture of oats, hemp hearts, chia seeds and cranberries and wolfs it down at her desk.
She tells me that oatmeal is the ultimate power breakfast, with enough protein and fiber to keep her full until lunch time.
“Hmm,” I think to myself. I like the idea of oatmeal at the office because a) my peanut butter toast slices in the mornings aren’t enough to keep my stomach from growling by 10 am and b) I could eat my breakfast at my desk while checking morning emails.
Not one to shy away from new things, the next time Vanessa goes to buy her ingredients, I decided to tag along.
She shows me all the chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp hearts, dried cranberries, raisins you can choose from.
“Think of them like toppings for an ice cream sundae!” she exclaims.
“Um, sure, I’ll go with that,” I think to myself.
Overwhelmed and with bags weighing more than my first-year university textbooks, I leave Bulk Barn fully stocked.
What Happened Next:
The next day, and almost every day since then, I have eaten oatmeal for breakfast.
This small change three years ago led me to transform my entire eating habits.
It made me realize that what I put into my body is my fuel.
Good stuff in (like oatmeal) = Energy/Satiation
Bad stuff in (like McGriddle) = Sleepy/Immobile
After beginning my oatmeal tradition, I start to take notice of how I feel after I eat and how that feeling depends on what I ate. Why would I fuel myself with garbage which leaves me feeling like garbage? Instead, I can choose healthy options that leave me feeling empowered and full of energy.
After I got officially “hooked” on oatmeal, we convinced another coworker to join and together we started an “oatmeal time” routine. We spend 15 minutes every morning putting together our “ice cream sundaes” while chatting about what we did last night or our weekend plans. This new routine has helped me ease me into the workday, let me tell you.
It has also helped give me energy to power through the day. Instead of being super sleepy, I feel like I have more energy to conquer my work tasks.
The Ripple Effect
Now, instead of bringing processed foods as snacks for work, or worse, buying a daily donut. I’ve started bringing mostly fresh fruit. I have also started paying more attention to food labels and have begun taking an active interest in knowing where my food comes from.
This eventually has led me to become more comfortable experimenting with cooking different types of meals. I have begun to focus on plant-based recipes and Oh She Glows has become my cooking bible.
I also have become more interested in health-food products and trying out different products on the market. Charcoal water, anyone?
While I do treat myself occasionally, I find that I no longer craving my high-sugar, high-fat treats nearly as much. When I do treat myself, I feel sluggish and have low energy. This association makes it easier for me to reach for healthy snacks in the future.
I’ve come so far in such a short time.The power of one small change of eating oatmeal in the morning has led to a larger chain of events – my entire eating habits.
Stay tuned for Part 2, where I spill all the deets on another small change that has led to unexpected, but positive results! Hint: it has to do with public transit.
Do you have any small change-big result stories? We’d love to hear them so comment below!