Last semester I had to look at some studies for uni and provide discussion on different methods for losing weight. There was one method in particular that caught my eye.

In the study GPs were advised to identify patients who were 5-6kgs heavier than their ideal, healthy weight. The next step was to plant a seed,  to draw the persons attention to the extra few kgs. Next came a conversation about how easy it is to shift 5-6kgs, while it’s such a small number and before it raises any major flags. It’s not enough weight to trigger diabetes, heart disease or cholesterol, in fact there’s no major health implications for 5-6kgs.

The philosophy was to empower people to take action at the inconsequential marker of 5-6kgs, because while it’s easy to effect a positive change, it’s also a gateway. It segues quickly into 15-20kgs. Then 25-40kgs. To then a really, big problem.

This approach worked on empowerment not fear. It increased self-awareness so the 5-6kg marker would be more noticeable in the future. It inspired people with a doable plan to circumnavigate something more disastrous.

What if we apply this approach to aches, pains, tightness, inflexibility. To the first night, rather than the fifth that we have a sh*tty sleep. Rather than waiting for a knee blowout, a back breakdown, bursitis, a tear, insomnia or stress induced illness.  What if we did something at the first niggle.

Two things are required for this to work. Notice the niggle first of all. Then do something about it.

Niggles are subtle. They are the first couple of steps you take in the morning as you hobble to the bathroom. By the time you’re at the bathroom, gone. No more discomfort, already forgotten about. This is the 5-6kg marker.

It’s really easy to go on with your day but also really easy to do something about it.

This method of weight loss returned amazing results. People felt powerful, in charge. They had options. They could start walking a few mornings a week, or swim, or cycle or run. They could make some small, barely noticeable changes to their diet.

The other option might be no option. Diabetes medication for life. Cholesterol meds. A potentially long battle with weight. Gastric bypass. Obesity. Depression.

I had a conversation with a client the other day, a 40 something year old guy who comes to yoga once a week, never misses one. He came to yoga in his 40’s because of a lower back injury. He tells me all the time how he wishes he’d found yoga in his 20’s. What would his footy career have looked like? What would the state of his back be like, with an hour of yoga a week for 20 odd years?

When you notice a niggle, the options are doable. Totally. Get friendly with your hamstrings. 10 minutes everyday. Legs up the wall. Awesome. Breathe deeply for 5 minutes. Oh the joy!

Niggles. Powerful.