Happy Holidays again, to you all! I hope everyone has caught up on their sleep deficit, relaxed and destressed with family and friends (or after coming home from family and friends as the case may be), and that you're ready for a fresh start.
It's hard to believe that 2009 is coming to a close tomorrow, so expect a New Years Resolution post from me tomorrow or Friday! For now, I want to talk about something that we all consider to be a negative: holiday weight gain.
It's no secret that we gain weight during the holidays--tis the season of overindulgence, after all. I've read various reports that, on average, an American gains anywhere between 5 and 7 pounds from Halloween to New Years. Yikes!
It's gotten me thinking. I thought about why, if we know it's coming, we find ourselves shaking our heads on Jan. 1, dusting off our running shorts and gym memberships, and vowing "this year will be different." But will it really be different?
I'm having a hard time articulating what I mean, so allow me to use myself as an example.
Remember when I told you about the private blog that my dear friend and I are keeping to stay accountable? We recently had a conversation about sticktoitiveness (it's a word now, just keep reading) and what happens when you start to crumble.
I am an embarrassing yo-yo health person. For being an instructor and having a blog, I'm pretty ashamed to admit this. Chadd could probably regale you with the number of times I've come in after 3 weeks of solid working out and a healthy eating habit and say "I feel so good being thin and in my healthy weight range. I'm going to stick to it!" And then something happens. Friends come into town, I fit into tiny jeans and feel entitled, I go on vacation and it suddenly all goes to hell and I'm bloated and irritable and the cycle begins. Chadd is kind enough to at least pretend to believe me that "this time, I'm going to keep it up."
You see, I follow this pattern:
Week 0: Planning phase. I pick out recipes, make gym schedules, tell everyone I know that I'm losing x number of pounds.
Week 1: Beginning of the workout. I'm embarrassed with how much my athletic prowess has suffered, but I SWEAR I feel like a new person by day 2.
Week 2: Slight changes in my body. This keeps me going.
Week 3: More significant changes in my body, this is where Chadd starts noticing a difference, my yoga pants aren't skin tight, and my right out of the dryer jeans only require a deep breath in rather than a few jumps around the room.
Week 4: Doom.
My co-blogger recently hit Week 4, for what I believe is the first time, though she can feel free to correct me. This is that point where the realizations of what a lifestyle change is kick in. We will always be watching calories, fat, carbs, in restaurant meals where they cut corners on making delicious health food to make delicious, faster to make, fatty food. We will never be able to really truly let loose and we'll likely look at the menu online before going out with friends and be "that girl" at the table who has about a billion special requests. This is a choice, at least if we wish to never yo-yo again, we have to stick by.
It feels like a loss. I could point to articles about why we emotionally eat or how the happy chemical dopamine is created by digesting chocolate, but it would only tell you why and, to some people, marginalize how this point in a lifestyle change feels.
It's a scary decision. It's ONE MORE THING to think about, and on long days (and short days, too), that's a tall order. It's also hard socially. We are a polite society--whether you're trying to lose 5 pounds or 50, we're never going to tell our friend who announces this fact "good for you! I agree with that decision and I support you," because it's sounds like saying "you're right. you did need to lose weight" (even if it's true). Instead we say "really? You definitely don't need to!" It's usually a lie (sorry Miss Manners). At dinner we say "are you serious? Just enjoy yourself, one night won't hurt" but it does. Because 1+1+1+1...rapidly adds up. Do me a favor and stop saying this to your friends at dinner. Be an uplifting supporter in a better way. "Wow good for you! I admire that" sticks with that person a lot more than a dismissive/permissive comment does. We are a difficult society to live in to become healthy.
Doesn't that sound odd? It seems like there is a gym on every corner, hotel, office, right next to the Starbucks. Almost every magazine has some sort of health related tip about losing weight and we obsess over it on a daily basis. It's like Chadd's analogy to money--we're all obsessed with it, but we're too "polite to talk about it."
We are also sharers of guilt. If you and your best friend are out at dinner and she orders something health conscious but you were really eye-ing the creamy luscious pasta...inevitably one of two things happen--you try to convince her to fall with you, or you go the healthy route. Unless your friend has a will power of steel, I'll let you guess what normally happens.
Just socially, there's a lot against you. Don't even start with me on what lies ahead of you when your own willpower begins to fade and a snickers bar sounds good.
This is where as your weight is following the downslide of the yo-yo, your morale is running right along side. It's what happens to me at least 3 times a year and every single time, I tell myself it won't happen again. I've heard that the percentage of people who quit smoking drops with every attempt they have. If you go that route, then quit, and find yourself down the same path again, it becomes well worn and familiar. It's why people who quit quit quit the first time are so much more successful.
Do you see what I mean about the whole New Years Resolution thing? Is this year REALLY going to be any different? Are you going to get to Feb 1 and crap out?
Please don't mistake what I'm saying. What I'm asking of you is something that will change, hopefully, how you go about achieving your health resolution in 2010. I am not saying that you cannot or that the odds are against you, instead, I'm asking you for the next....let's say 48 hours, to really really contemplate what it is that you want to achieve. Making your resolution list should take more than 10 minutes. Put some thought into it and make the decision that you will follow through. Don't let this be a yo-yo year for you--weight or resolutions.
I made it through Thanksgiving to Christmas losing 8 pounds, stayed solid the week I was home with my family, and am back on track to keep losing down to my goal weight just before my February birthday. How am I going to beat the yo-yo?
I acknowledged the yo-yo in my life.
I confronted it and banished it and Promised myself (remember the 2 P's) it would not return.
I made a pact with my co-blogger that will not likely be broken because I found someone who will hold me accountable and who understands/is battling the yo-yo with me.
What were your resolutions last year? Did you achieve them? Yes or no--how did you achieve them or what made you stumble?
Stay tuned for a Resolution post!