Ten Steps to Building Your BEAM Box
It all starts with baby steps. I ’ ve laid out ten basic steps to get you started on building your BEAM Box. While I suggest a few general time guidelines in some of the steps, there’ s no rush or pressure to get through any of them. Many people can complete the ten steps in six to eight weeks, but I want you to rely on your internal timer. Some steps you ’ ll breeze right through, and others may take more time. What ’ s most important is following each step until you feel comfy dent that you ’ ve mastered it, and only then moving on to the next one.
- Discover the real you. Evaluate yourself by taking all four minis – quizzes in this chapter. Your score will determine what tools you will need and where you need to focus particular effort. Everyone is unique and has a different starting point. You might already have the right tools in one area but need more help with another. You may want a fresh start and need to build a foundation from the ground up.
- Visit your doctor. If you haven’ t seen your primary care doctor (or gynecologist) in the past six months, schedule a visit. No primary care doctor? Talk with your friends and family to fi nd one. Check with your insurance company for a complete listing of physicians in your network.
- Upgrade your equipment. Purchase a simple pedometer (no talking, calories, or strides required) that just counts steps. Accusplit (www.accusplit.com ) is one that meets my three criteria for a pedometer: it ’ s economical, easy to use, and accurate. If you want to invest more money, go ahead and select a more elaborate model, but it ’ s not a must – have to track your activity. The most important thing is to wear it every day.
- Pick the tools for your BEAM Box. Review all the tools described in each of the four BEAM chapters (or consult the quick list in appendix C) and pick some tools from each group that mimedately interest you. Write them down, and review them daily. Scan the list for those that jump out at you as tools you are both willing and able to try. It ’ s also worthwhile to take a look at the Fernstorm Fundamentals to stay connected for daily inspiration. They are listed briefl y at the end of this chapter and explained in more depth in chapter 3 .
- Get started! Chapter 7 lays out a twenty – one – day plan with activity goals and meal plans. A starting to – do list will help you call upon all four points of your BEAM Box foundation. Here is where you will begin to put your tools to work for you. The fi rst seven days of the Real You plan are meant to help you form new habits, and the next fourteen days are geared toward sustainting those habits. As you implement the twenty – one days of your Real You eating plan, you will begin to discover which tools are working for you and which ones you might want to change.
Maintain and Sustain for Life
You’re new eating and activity plan is now a lifestyle. You’ ve mentally ingrained your own BEAM Box, and your responses are automatic. From this time on, revisit your BEAM Box every two weeks. Make sure you weigh yourself at least once a week, but not more often than once a day. Check to make sure you are not bored with your food choices and are maintaining structure. Make sure your activity level is consistent and you ’ re getting at least thirty minutes of daily living activity, with vigorous activity two or more times a week. ( “ Vigorous ” means you ’ re using enough energy that you can ’ t talk while doing the activity.)
At the end of eight weeks, or whatever time period you feel comfortable with, you should be reasonably confi dent that your BEAM Box is fi lled with the essential tools that work for you. While you can add and switch tools in all categories, you ’ ve done the hard work to establish the foundation of good health. You have your “ workhorse ” tools for every day, and then the tools you pull out now and then. When you feel stalled, or need a change, go back to “ boot camp, ” where you can revisit and adapt your BEAM Box to reflect your current needs.
At the end of eight weeks, or whatever time period you feel comfortable with, you should be reasonably comfy dent that your BEAM Box is fi lied with the essential tools that work for you. While you can add and switch tools in all categories, you ’ ve done the hard work to establish the foundation of good health. You have your “workhorse” tools for every day, and then the tools you pull out now and then. When you feel stalled, or need a change, go back to “boot camp, ” where you can revisit and adapt your BEAM Box to revel ect your current needs.
When to Consider Using Power Tools
Months 3 to 6: Interested in prescription medications? Review chapter 8 to see if you meet the medical criteria for medications, and if the action of these medicines meets both your medical needs and your eating style. A visit to your doctor will help you evaluate this next step.
(Important note: If you are not a candidate for medication, and your body mass index [BMI] is 40 or over, you can go directly to considering a surgical option for more help. Check out appendix A to learn how to calculate your BMI.)
Months 6 to 12: If you’ ve tried a medication and it is not a good support to your lifestyle, you might want to consider obesity surgery. Review chapter 8 to see if you meet the surgical criteria. Start with a visit to your primary care doctor to discuss this option, and get a referral to a Center of Excellence Surgical Program.
While we all have strengths we can rattle off when it comes to weight loss, it ’ s the personal barriers we face that sabotage our lifestyle effort and get us down and discouraged. No one is a perfect eater or exerciser. We all get stressed – out, go off track, and struggle. There is always room for improvement. While it ’ s important to feel good about the positive changes we make, it ’ s equally essential to tackle our barriers to success. Honestly sizing yourself up helps you to better start selecting your fi rest set of tools. Chapter 1 explained the four kinds of tools you’ ll need to build your BEAM Box. Now it ’ s time to take the fi rst step and do a self – evaluation of your starting point. For some of you, this task is easy, a no – brainer. For others, it takes some time and effort to tease out the essential, and missing, tools. With that in mind, I ’ d like you to take four mini – quizzes to identify your vulenable areas in each of the BEAM categories. Don’ t worry if you need help in all four of them. Most of us do. The number of tools you begin with is unimportant, it ’ s just getting started that counts. These are tools for life, and in the process of building your complete BEAM Box, you’ll continue to add tools at your own pace.