Small Wins – Episode 385

Niki & Gillian discuss the concept of small wins and their value in nutrition (and training).

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Why They Matter

Big goals can be scary and overwhelming, and–regardless of the enormity of the goal–little actions, small decisions, and changes of habit accumulate to make the goal accomplishment a reality. We have to ensure we have a way of seeing and acknowledging these small wins.

If we’re moving close to our goals and improving, these wins are happening. It’s important to ensure we have a way to see the progress, acknowledge the progress, and celebrate the progress. Having objective, reality-based metrics (and they don’t necessarily have to be scale weight) helps provide an easy way to see progress while not allowing subjective feelings to overwhelm us when we feel we have not improved.

This concept becomes especially important during rough patches, when life’s difficulties mount and a win might not be “Instagram-worthy,” but simply NOT binging or NOT drinking large amounts of alcohol. A win might be not succumbing to self-destructive behavior or even simply limiting this behavior (e.g. we overeat, but not as much as we would have months prior in a similar situation).

Another time this matters is as we age and potentially accumulate aches and injuries, or simply our ability to gain strength diminishes. There comes a day when all of our absolute PRs are historical, so we have to celebrate our capabilities and redefine PRs.

What They Are

Identifying and enjoying small wins is another way of saying we celebrate PRs. We may have to redefine PRs away from simply weight on the bar (PRs after 40 or 50 or 60) or enjoying new modified lifts (e.g. box squats) and celebrating what we CAN do.

Some common small wins Gillian and her clients see include (but are definitely not limited to):
  • food preparation
  • portion control
  • limiting sweets or alcohol
  • trying a new, healthy recipe
  • growing awareness
  • taking the time to think
  • preventing “emergency situations” (e.g. binging)
  • taking control of your eating–and feeling empowered
  • less guilt around food choices (is the guilt improving your decisions & ultimately your health?)
  • how we react after a bad decision or food choice
So, find ways to measure and identify, acknowledge and celebrate your small wins toward your big goals.




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