NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS THAT WORK: WEIGHT LOSS, 2012 (Issue 9)
by Diane Gold
New Year’s Resolutions? When the calendar changes from December of one year to January of another year, we reflect. We take note of our accomplishments, our failures, our destiny, our direction. Whether we are more successful than at any other time in our lives, whether we are making slow progress towards our objectives or whether we are in a funk and working on nothing; we reflect. We use this time to help us set priorities, persevere, motivate, initiate, produce and thrive.
Why is this so universal?
Every day, we, who have freedom of choice and just enough to eat, make decisions about our day, every day. Each time we do our school work or our professional work; we choose a path toward our greatest current priority. Whether we want to stay in our family’s good graces so we have a roof over our head or whether it’s to make enough money to pay for our home or kids; our actions, for the most part, are a conscious effort to proceed toward and, hopefully, succeed at our goal.
Let’s talk about some of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions that pertain to weight loss.
1) I will lose 100 pounds this year.
2) I will lose 10 pounds a month for 6 months in a row.
3) I will stop eating sugar.
4) I will skip breakfast.
5) I will skip lunch.
6) I will eat one meal a day for 3 months.
7) I will stop eating carbohydrates.
What all these resolutions have in common is that they are extreme, not gradual. They cause a biological roller coaster that puts the body into a tailspin. The biological effect of skipping a meal or eating less or changing foods can be big. The idea of eliminating a food or a meal may be disastrous. The psychological effect for anyone with an “urge to eat” issue is huge. The combination of mental and physical effects can cause anything from depression to reduction in kidney function.
The tricky thing about severe diets is that the diet can seem to work as pounds drop off. The body feels better because of the psychological elation from weighing less. There is also a chance that the diet may tax the organ systems, which could cause medical problems. If the body does well, what commonly occurs after the initial period of losing weight is that it is difficult to maintain the weight that has been lost.
We all know that practice, practice, practice gets us to our goal in whatever discipline we are. In music, we always asked, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall,” with that same answer. Practice works in weight loss, too.
Learning a new way to eat requires a regulated and consistent period of time. It cannot be cultivated by removing a main component of an eating plan in a speedy fashion. The dietary change in extreme diets is so intensely different from the old plan that the body doesn’t get the time to adjust to it.
Similar to the idea that we need to eat slowly so that we take the 20 minutes the body needs to realize it is being fed, we need time to acquire the will power to maintain each new step of our new diet. We need to stabilize the new additions or subtractions we make to our diet for several weeks to a month (this would change depending upon the individual) before we go to the next step in any diet. This way, once we have taken the step, we could, potentially, maintain it without returning to the old patterns of eating that brought us to need to lose weight in the first place.
I’d like to emphasize here that some people can handle extreme diets. This is a given. But, on average, for people who have difficulty with weight loss plans, the “slow and steady wins the race” diet usually prevails because the preparation for maintenance in speed diets is usually missing.
So what’s a good New Year’s Resolution for weight loss, and how do I know how far to go?
We all have to look at our own situations. What are our own personal controls? Do we have any medical issues that we need to factor in? What are our motivation and our final desire? Once we answer these questions, we can choose what we want to do. Since the choice, ultimately, is ours alone.
Some interesting ideas might be:
1) To reduce the sugar in my coffee by half.
2) To drink water before every meal.
3) To eat a large green salad with one meal a day.
4) To add one serving of vegetable juice to one meal a day. (Remember that tomatoes are fruits.)
5) To drink one ounce of wheatgrass juice once a week.
6) To use chopsticks, at least, once a day, to see whether they slow down the speed at which we eat.
7) To do one exercise before each meal (personal choice on how long the exercise will be).
8) To reduce our intake of whatever we believe helps us gain weight by one serving per week.
9) To chew our food 20X per mouthful, at least, one meal per week.
10) To eat our last daily food of any kind (meal, snack or dessert) one hour earlier, at least, one day per week.
These kinds of resolutions start to shape a different way to eating. Each one of them, alone, does not traumatize the way someone eats. The slight adjustment that each causes is hardly noticeable. Yet, each starts to become a new habit, if continued, each of them a good habit. And, even, if we decided to do all of them, at once, they would not disrupt the way we are.
The most successful New Year’s Resolutions are those that can be executed in small steps. Their commencement can result in big changes, but they don’t rattle an entire lifestyle. The way used to form who we are is the same method used to form who we become. Each time we learn something new, we incorporate it into our lives. When we learn about adding layers to our lives, we know about maintaining what we have achieved.
We have a better chance of growing with a solid foundation than we do by building on a roadway of sand.
Please leave your comments below or through our Contact Us form.
DIANE GOLD, AUTHOR
Diane Gold, Founder of Warriors of Weight, Moms For Healthy Daughters, is a mentor in tai chi, kung fu and meditation, a music pro and stress expert and a dedicated mom. She believes that we can will ourselves to accomplish tremendous things. She says, “We each deserve our own priority. When we know what it is, we can walk toward it.”
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