Same Old (Auld) Lang Syne
New Year’s Resolutions are the topic of newspapers, magazines, even radio and television as expected this time of year, and although I’ve reached my goals, some of these articles and stories make me cringe! They offer advice in terms of to-do lists. And let’s get real; you’ve had a very busy holiday season. For those with kids, it starts in October with Halloween, for the rest of us; we join the fray in time for Thanksgiving. We shop, we clean, we plan, we cook, and we entertain while working a condensed schedule at the office. You race all the way through the Thanksgiving weekend and those who work in the service industries and in retail, they don’t even get to stop at all! It continues through Christmas with gift buying, wrapping (ugh!), decorating, with more cooking and entertaining. Many of you have to travel to visit loved ones, and even as I write this post many are still stranded at airports across the country. Then New Year’s Eve arrives, more parties, sparkly outfits, staying out late and then football the day after, yes and then its time to take the decorations down. No wonder you are tired. My friend, you’ve just completed an 8-week marathon!
The New Year comes and most of us are eager to start the New Year with a new diet and exercise plan. We all have the best intentions of embarking on self-improvement for 2011. After all you have done for the past 2 months, then the media starts handing out mandates: your fitness to-do lists, your new diet with all the new food to shop for and plenty of “new rules” to carry out as soon as January 1st rolls around. You dutifully choose your diet, buy the groceries, join a gym and realize that you have just added a whole new boatload of tasks to your already busy life. A month into it, you’ve chucked the diet because it is too hard to follow, the gym begins to look like a torture chamber, and you end up only being more frustrated with yourself because “you have failed.” There must be a better way than this little hamster wheel of futility, right? Yes, there is!
First: Let’s Change the Approach to “Dieting”
Do not randomly try to start somebody else’s diet plan and somebody else’s exercise program and expect it to work for you. Trying to apply yourself to somebody else’s model will not be motivating unless it fits your needs and your lifestyle; otherwise it will be an imposition and a grind. Know this going in: that you probably won’t succeed trying to fit somebody else’s mold.
Do not allow your mindset to become “that you should start a diet.” The first three letters of this word are “d.i.e.” which doesn’t sound like much fun to begin with. Don’t start a diet; start now to develop and live a new healthier lifestyle. If you think of the word “diet” you are likely to automatically associate that word with deprivation. When one deprives oneself of something long enough, eventually the will power will break, then we over-compensate with that which we are craving yet trying to stay away from. This is not a successful approach, in my opinion as you are setting yourself up for failure if you look at it this way.
The good news is that when you begin a new healthier lifestyle with the right combination of exercise and food consumption, then you will be able to have the things you enjoy in proper proportions and still attain your goals. I am a Size 0 and ate an entire fruitcake by myself this year and did not gain weight. The key to this is the portion size. I had a sliver to taste the fruitcake each day rather than eat larger quantities at one time. (Refer to the post on “Gourmet or Gourmand” to brush up on the concept of tasting and savoring something wonderful vs. eating too much of it).
So let me repeat, you are not going on a diet, but resolve that you will work on tweaking what and how much you eat. I no longer eat the way I used to eat. I have revamped how I eat to get the results I want. I don’t consider myself as being on a diet; I consider this as “how I eat now”. Remember, you don’t have to follow somebody else’s diet to succeed. You are unique and by evaluating your habits, you can develop your own plan, a plan that you can enjoy and stick with because it truly works for you. I follow “Joy’s Diet”, which by the way, may or may not work for you.
If you have been reading this blog, remember that an eating plan must have two important requirements: 1) sufficient nutrition to keep you going, and 2) enough sensory pleasure to fulfill your senses. You must have both the proper fuel for your body as well as have the enjoyment of things that you eat. There is no denying the fact that we eat for fuel and for pleasure. If these two items are not in proper balance and you aren’t satisfied, then you will over eat and consume too many calories.
Secondly: Add Regular Exercise
The second part of your New Year’s Resolution is to begin some kind of regular exercise. You don’t have to become a tri-athlete or an aerobics queen; you just need to get moving. Find an exercise or activity that you like to do and find a way to incorporate that into your schedule. A little schedule reprioritizing may be called for here. The important thing here is that you must enjoy what it is you are doing, so that you will continue to do it. Who has time to fit in something they don’t enjoy to begin with?
I know one lady who adores Zumba, this is her exercise of choice. She looks forward to her classes and gives it her all and has dropped weight because of it. Classes are fun and a lot of people are motivated by being in the group environment with guidance from an instructor. I do go to Pilates every now and again, but my bread and butter exercise is something more mundane because for the most part, I would rather go solo than go to a class. Know yourself and what you like and get out there and do it. Later you can fine-tune and tweak your workout to make sure you include sufficient cardio, strength training and stretching. Be like a child who does what they like to do at recess. A child doesn’t know the concept of “working out”, a child goes out to play and you should too!
1. Your New Year’s Resolution should be to resolve to begin to live a healthier lifestyle by eating properly and exercising regularly by exploring your own likes and dislikes determining what works for you. Please realize that this self-discovery and fine-tuning process won’t happen over night. It evolves over time and improves as it goes along making it easier to be successful and it will become enjoyable too.
2. Take the pressure off of yourself by not trying to follow somebody else’s diet plan. This way you won’t ever have to worry about going off an eating plan because you develop something that is truly your own because it is designed to match your likes and lifestyle. I could never follow the diets of the skinny little models in the magazines anyway. The good news is, that you don’t have to!
3. Resolve to take the time to discover what eating plan best suits you. Trust me in that there is infinite joy in learning what you require to satisfy yourself to take care of your healthy living needs because you have come up with the best eating plan for your life.
These are the processes I have learned about making the New Year’s resolutions work for me through many years of trial and error. Now, when January 1st comes, there is nothing I have to change, other than monitor and tweak my daily consumption. Joy’s eating plan works for me, now let’s develop one that works for you. As we continue along, I will offer more suggestions on how to do that. When we are living our healthier lifestyle all year long, then futile New Year’s Resolutions are no longer necessary and we can step into the New Year more relaxed and guilt-free and focus on other wonderful things for the New Year.
- Next, I will post an over all blue print of things to consider when building your healthier lifestyle. Subscribe to the blog, so you won’t miss it!
- Then on New Year’s Day, I will post an article on how to conduct a self-analysis to start designing a healthier lifestyle for yourself so you can get started on the lifestyle you’ve always wanted to live and be fit and healthy all year long.
Thanks again for joining us today at the Fit and Fabulous Blog!