It is after a day that included biscuits and gravy for breakfast, sandwich and chips for lunch, a holiday feast for dinner, and multiple trips to the dessert table that I decided I needed to write about my plans for the upcoming year. They are as much for me as anyone else.
The holidays are a time that many splurge on calories, only to find themselves cursing the second helpings of turkey and pumpkin pie as they huff and puff on the treadmill in January. My last few years have been characterized by so much weight yo-yoing, that my family has renamed me “Duncan.” (A joke tailored for children of the 80s.)
I know I’m not the only one that will undoubtedly include “weight loss” on their resolutions. Unfortunately, I’ve had to list it there every year since college. However, through trial and error, I have picked up some pearls of wisdom along the way.
Lifestyle Changes, effective January 2:
Death to Diets–A diet implies temporary change for quicker results only to return to past behaviors. I’ve done crash diets in which I lost 40 pounds in six weeks. I looked and felt great afterwards but I celebrated by returning to my old ways.
Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day–Not only was it not built in a day, neither were my love handles. Since diets are a thing of the past, a lifestyle change is what I’m working towards. The ingredients are time, effort, and patience. The pay off, while it may take longer, will be more satisfying.
Where’s My Motivation?–This is a big one for me. Much of my motivation in the past has involved obtaining more attention from the opposite sex. That would work if I could prove that attention from girls created sustainable happiness. It doesn’t. My motivation should be attaining a level of health that provides me with more days on this earth so that when I do get the girl, I can be here for her.
Matthew 6:33–Sole focus on fitness is no better than a focus on food, money, job, sex, or rock and roll. Time spent in the gym should not be at the sacrifice of time on my knees. “…and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Schedule the Burn— “Organization” is not a quality that I can commonly claim. I’m not into to-do lists. I don’t color coordinate my closet. However, I’ve found if I will make a schedule that includes time allotted for work and play, I am more faithful to the gym. Flying by the seat of my pants often comes back to bite me in those moments I’m lacking motivation. Stick to the script.
Learn New Cuss Words–These should include “white” and “fried.“ I’m not a registered dietitian, and every person is going to adhere to slightly different lifestyle eating; however, the quickest way I have found to battle the bulge is to cut out white carbs and anything fried.
Agua!–A high percentage of my makeup is water, so it only makes sense that I drink at least eight glasses, seven days a week. When I adhere to this, I always feel infinitely better no matter what I eat. Additionally, by drinking more water, I avoid countless calories that will sneak up on someone who regularly consumes juice, sports drinks, and/or soda.
“Treat Yo’self!”–Not only is it my favorite episode of Parks and Recreation, it’s also a good way to sustain a lifestyle change. Whether it’s one meal on one day or even moderate splurging on weekends, taking small amounts of time each week to enjoy a guilt-free meal or a morning/evening away from the gym creates the balance needed to pursue a healthier lifestyle the rest of the week.
I have pledged to make this a year of dynamic change in my life starting with my health. The only person that can make that happen is me. It’s a novel concept I know. I control me. Everything that goes in my mouth came from my hand or fork. The snooze button that gets punched every morning at 6am…and then again at 6:14…and then again at 6:28? Me.
While my New Year’s resolutions deal with weight loss, not everyone else’s will. But we’re already a few weeks into the new year. No matter what they are, it might be time to reassess your resolutions. What’s the motivation? Are they simply short-lived “diets” destined to show up on next year’s list again or impactful, permanent changes that will inspire growth?