For the past two weeks we have been talking about the Habit of Kaizen – the practice of continuous improvement.
Yesterday morning I was thoroughly entertained by a man named Albert who called to tell me that he has been a master practitioner of Kaizen throughout his entire life and how, his dedication to this process almost cost him his life.
Albert explained to me that the practice of Kaizen works equally well in bringing positive and inspiring improvement to realize as it does in wreaking havoc.
Naturally curious, I asked for an explanation.
Albert described how his weight had increased from 185 pounds when he graduated from high school to over 400 pounds by the time he celebrated his 30th birthday.
He told me this wasn’t easy. This required hard work, dedicated commitment. And he was the perfect man for the job.
He said that over a 12 year period he slowly, steadily, continuously and systematically worked on “improving” his eating habits, gaining 20 – 25 pounds each year, all the while practicing a sedentary lifestyle.
He pointed out that he didn’t really notice his ever expanding girth as the week-by-week changes were so small as to be virtually unnoticeable.
A visit to his family doctor shortly after his 30th birthday proved to be a pivotal point in his life. His doctor plainly and coldly told him that he was eating his way to an early grave and that if he didn’t “radically, dramatically and immediately” change his lifestyle the odds of him seeing his 40th birthday were extremely remote.
Albert was shaken. He truly had not realized what he’d done to himself and made a promise to himself that a new way of life would begin that day. He set a goal of losing 200 pounds in 18 months.
He understood that he had reached his 400 pound mass by gaining 1 ounce at a time and that he would have to lose it the same way.
This was the first time Albert ever attempted to lose weight and wasn’t quite sure where to begin.
On his way home from his doctor’s office he stopped at a store to buy a bathroom scale. It wasn’t until he got home and stepped on the scale that he realized that it would only record weight up to 300 pounds.
He would have to lose over 100 pounds before we could even use it.
Determined to succeed, he called his doctor’s office and got the okay to drop in once a week for a quick weigh-in.
He began to keep a food journal, religiously recording everything he ate and drank. The first week he did nothing other than cut out all foods between meals and the scale in the doctor’s office told him he had lost 2 pounds.
He made a note of this in his journal.
For the second week he decided to experiment with his portion control and lost a further 1 ½ pounds.
This too was recorded in the journal.
And week after week Albert studied his results – losing between two and 3 pounds each week – and evaluated his progress.
He constantly made small changes to his diet and then measured the results, comparing them to previous weeks.
After 12 weeks he had lost 35 pounds and started venturing outside to walk around the block.
Over time that became walking two blocks, then three, then four, then running one block and walking two, running to walking three, etc.
And every step was recorded, tabulated, measured and each week small changes were made to his diet and exercise regimen.
After nine months Albert was able to begin using the scale in his bathroom and after 16 months the scale informed him that he weighed less than 200 pounds.
That milestone too was noted in his journal.
Five years have now past since that visit to his doctor and Albert’s weight has remained steady at 187 pounds.
Albert laughingly pointed out to me how powerful a role the Habit of Kaizen has played in his life.
He explained to me that the Habit of Kaizen has taught him a sense of discipline that is carried over into many other areas in his life. He has become fanatical about constantly seeking small and continuous ways of getting better at everything he does.
He described the Habit of Kaizen as being addictive and joyously told me how much pleasure there is in constantly getting better and how relatively little effort is required to do so.
In Albert’s words, “the Habit of Kaizen” provides massive return on minimal investment.
He asked me to let my female readers know that he is single, available and attractive.
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.
P My book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is yours now has its very own website. Please visit us at www.lifesinksorsoars.com and let me know what you think.
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