I really hate the idea of resolutions or diets even. I think women (especially) assign a lot of emotions to both of those words. I know I did, hell I still do. It may seem like I am splitting hairs when I call my diet a “lifestyle”, my exercise “training”, and my preference to be called “fit or strong”- instead of “skinny”. The words Diet, Exercise, and even Skinny are totally loaded to me. All of them sound negative- as if they are punishments for bad behavior and bad eating. Hell, even “skinny” is a naughty word now… click on FB- it’s loaded with the “Skinny” Girls Vs. “Curvy” Girls graphics and quotes all over the place (I think that skinny and curvy can both find unhealthy extremes, by the way).
I remember a time not that long ago that I did believe that a diet was punishment for a gluttonous appetite, and exercise was the sentence for laziness and sloth. I know now- that I was setting myself up for disaster with this type of perspective. Who wants to eat food that they view as a punishment? Who wants to show up and really work out hard- when they only there to fulfill their probation terms for previous sins? No one. You might last a few days- or hell, with enough determination- a couple of weeks. But, I am convinced that those negative connotations can make or break your ability to succeed.
Once you are on a diet that works for you- then it does just become the way you do things. You don’t feel like you are dieting. The food you eat is just the way you eat now- because it makes you feel good, it relieves you of ailments, and fatigue… It’s just your lifestyle. I now know that I will suffer from a “carb hangover” if I take in too many carbs… and so I avoid them like the plague. Do I get cocky every now and then, and think my tolerance is higher than it really is? Sure! Do I just give up, and keep eating tons of carb-laden food, and other junk that’s not good for me, and makes me feel terrible? No. But it *is* what I used to do. “Oh well, I guess I will get back on my diet Monday”. I can now appreciate how awesome I feel when eating real foods. So, when I get cocky and off-plan, I don’t want to wait to get back on track with my eating. Now, I start right away.
It took me a little longer to come around on the exercise thing. As I have blogged before, I tried straight cardio (again) at the begining of this journey… and found no real results from running alone. Then I got turned on to Kettlebells and lifting heavy weights. I now enjoy working with Kettlebells so much that I truly look forward to my workouts.. If you aren’t having fun or if your workouts are becoming boring and monotonous, then you need to change something. It may be that you just need a challenge, or a friend to workout with to rejuvenate your training time. But don’t just keep trudging away at it, and hating it.
The final issue that I have with resolutions- is the “all or nothing” tension that goes with them. How many times have you said “Well, I have already screwed my entire day/week with that Donut, maybe I will try again tomorrow / next week”? We have all done it. And then the day becomes 2, or 3- and before you know it- your one of the “failed resolution” statistics. WHO CARES that you totally screwed up on that last food choice??… Make a better choice the NEXT TIME you have the chance. You don’t have to wait on some arbitrary date to make better choices. You don’t have to wait till the calendar says “Monday” to pick up some weights, or go run. You can do that TODAY- with your very next opportunity. That’s right- it’s an OPPORTUNITY.
I guess it’s the strict parameters that we invent for our resolutions that set everything off on the wrong foot for me. Resolutions mean diets and exercise that aren’t tasty or fun. They mean little forgiveness for goof-ups along the way. Instead, why not just make a *decision*? For instance- if you need to get your eating on track, then just decide that you want to change your eating habits at every opportunity. The same for exercise- just make a decision to be more active today than you were yesterday. For instance, you can try to replace your beverages with water at every opportunity. Or, you can try to park further away from the door at work to walk a little bit more today than you did yesterday. I think that small changes are far more fair to your body and mind. They are easier to incorporate into our routines, and stick with. And when we feel the rewards and benefits from small changes, it’s easier to be motivated to stick with it- and eventually add more goals. Additionally, when we make BIG CHANGES we expect BIG, QUICK results… and our bodies just don’t work that way. There is a reason that all the gimmicky ads for weight loss include the disclaimer that their *results are not typical*. HaHa!
As I stated back on New Years Eve, I am thrilled and excited for 2013… I hope that you are over your New Years Resolutions by now… and are looking forward to just making different decisions in 2013!