We’re moving in a couple of weeks. Our new house is only 12 miles from our current abode, but it may as well be across the continent. Packing is the same regardless. I am not freaking out only because it’s not happening today.

Inside, I’m dreading the process with the force of a thousand suns.

It’s not just the physical move, although that’s part of it. Lifting and hoisting heavy boxes will not do my knees any favors, something I did not worry about the last time we moved a dozen years ago.

So that’s fun.

Emotionally it hits harder. Things have changed, and this move is a reminder of the magnitude of that change.

Let me say upfront I am not a particularly sentimental person. I find it easy to let go of most things and move on. But for some reason I’ve been having a slightly harder time lately.

I hate to admit it, but age definitely plays a role.

In my 20s and 30s I felt as if I had my whole life ahead of me. Forty and 50(!) were way off in the distance, not even a thought.

What’s 12 years from now when you’re only 20? You’ll still be only 32.

Now, at 58, I realize this same stretch of time means I’ll be 70 years old.

Excuse me for a minute while I do some deep breathing and call my therapist.

Okay, I’m back.

No matter how young I feel at heart, time is of the essence. I no longer have “all the time in the world.” Well, I do, but the time in that world is less than “all.”

It’s a particularly disturbing thought, especially when I feel I’m just getting the hang of things, including who I am and what I’m doing on this blue marble.

Change itself obviously isn’t necessarily bad or good, but in either case it takes adjustment.

It’s the difference between going on vacation for a few days or moving into a new home.

When you’re on vacation you’re willing to put up with things you wouldn’t normally – living out of a suitcase, a teeny bathroom, a shower in the middle of the living room, (true story, but that’s fodder for another blog), paintings of shipwrecks anchored to the walls, etc. – in order to enjoy the ocean, sightseeing, or whatever makes the trip travel worthy.

You know the small inconveniences aren’t forever. Once you’re back home you can once again take a shower in privacy instead of in a stripper cage in the middle of the room.

But I digress.

Making short-term, drastic changes in the hopes of rapid results is a lot like taking a vacation. Results are short-lived, then you’re back to your old ways.

Hence, the overused term (I am guilty as charged): “lifestyle” change.

Here’s how to tell the difference:

TEMPORARY CHANGES include:

  • “Going on a diet”
  • Trying a new fad diet or exercise plan because “everyone else is doing it” and claiming ridiculously dramatic results 
  • Sacrifice and deprivation for the sake of results that last for as long as you can deal with the discomfort
  • Starts out hard and gets worse over time

PERMANENT CHANGES…

  • Take some planning
  • Require some self-discipline
  • Get easier over time, not harder
  • Are not a quick fix 

Cutting calories, starting an exercise program, meditating to de-stress or whatever changes you decide to make require shifts in other areas of your life to accommodate this new thing.

For example, cutting portions may require fewer dinners out, since restaurants literally use ladles of butter on everything from steamed vegetables to broiled fish.

This may, in turn, mean more advanced planning to cook at home.

Maybe someone else in the house isn’t thrilled with this new plan and argues against it.

The mere act of cutting calories sets off a chain reaction of events that may turn what seems like a simple event into one fraught with obstacles you didn’t anticipate.

Ditto for joining an exercise class, hiring a trainer, and looking for time alone to unwind.

In short, it’s the weight loss version of the Butterfly Effect.    The key to create permanent results

Be prepared for setbacks and have plans to tackle them as they arise.

Here are a few ways to help you transition:

1. Be patient

Realize the initial awkwardness and time involved in planning meals, etc., is only temporary. After a couple weeks these steps become second nature and your “new normal.” Expect to fall off the wagon on occasion, it’s all part of the process. Just be sure to get back on your path and you WILL get there!

2. Stand your ground

Do it for YOU. Not everyone will be on board, and that’s okay. In fact, your getting in shape is likely to rear the guilt monster in people in your life who know they need to take similar steps. At the same time, try to get others to do classes with you. Maybe take a healthy cooking class together, join a yoga class, etc.

3. Ease into it

Cutting back on calories is one thing. Cleaning out the pantry of anything containing a molecule of sugar or not labeled “organic” when you’ve been regularly munching a bag of Fritos every night may be too much too soon. Extremes in any form rarely last long. Cut back and adjust to the new “level” before taking further steps. Add on to each healthy habit each week instead of throwing yourself into new patterns with reckless abandon.

By the way, there’s ONE more webinar session — How to Beat the Weight Loss Odds After Menopause – this week Tuesday, March 21, at 6:00 PM EST. So if you missed last week’s event be sure to sign up and show up for this one! People who attend live will also reap the rewards of a SPECIAL BONUS.

I hope to see you there!

NOW YOU…  Did you make a healthy change that had repercussions beyond your expectations? Let me know in the comments below…

Other posts you may enjoy:

How to handle fitness setbacks

3 “harmless” diet beliefs that sabotage weight loss

7 Reasons you’re STILL not seeing results

Your Ageless Body Coach,