I have stolen the concept of the ‘critical inch’ from Richard Carlsen’s excellent book Don’t Worry, Make Money. If you are running a business, the critical inch is the action you need to take today which will make the biggest difference to the success of your business. It could be to chase a large unpaid invoice, make a sales call to a prospect or even book yourself a holiday because you’re exhausted.
The concept of the critical inch works for weight management, too. All you have to do is find your own critical inch – the single action which will make the biggest difference to your weight. Not in an expert’s opinion, but in your opinion. To work this out, you need to take a look at your habits. Which of your actions do you think is contributing most to your weight problem. Do you:
eat too many biscuits. You can’t have a tea or coffee without one or three
- eat too much bread because you can’t resist tasting what’s just come out of your breadmaker
- eat too much butter on that bread – and everything else
- drink too many milky coffees
- drink too much wine, beer or cola
- eat between meals. In fact, you never stop picking
- eat healthily all day at work in front of your colleagues then binge-eat in the evening when alone in front of the television
- finish the kids’ leftovers?
Imagine how successful you will be if you put all your effort into the critical inch – your particular weakness. Concentrate on that and nothing else. In the last year, my brother-in-law has lost eight stone (112 lb), not by counting calories or joining a slimming club, but by deciding to cut out booze, cheese and carbs.
You probably wouldn’t need to be as strict as that if you’re not in a hurry. Just work on your single biggest weakness and see how it goes.
My weakness is not a particular food but a time of day. I’m very tempted to pick between 3pm and 6pm. It’s natural for everybody’s energy to dip around then and when I’m stuck in what I’m writing, I’m very tempted to raid the fridge. There’s another danger period around 6.30pm when I’m ready for dinner but want to wait until my husband gets home so we can eat together.
One solution I’ve tried is to have a protein snack, say, a sliver of cheese or ham on a crispbread or oatcake, at 4pm. This means if I’m tempted at 3pm, I know it’s not too long to wait. If I want to munch nervously at my desk, scrubbed raw carrots, mange-tout or an apple chopped into slim segments and dusted with mixed spice work well. Round about 6.30pm, I’ve tried a cup of chilled or hot vegetable soup, a large mug of tea, a walk in the park, or, when desperate, tucking myself into bed and listening to my favourite radio programme. A call to a friend usually does the trick.
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What action would make the most difference to your weight management success? I’d love to hear what has worked for you.