This is the time of year when we make New Year’s resolutions, and in a few weeks it will be the time when we have broken most of them. Change does not come easily; we have developed patterns of behavior with which we are mostly comfortable and to change them means becoming uncomfortable at least for a while. I have heard it said that if you can continue repeating a new behavior for at least a month it will become a habit. Well, that depends on the behavior if you ask me.
A common resolution is to lose weight in this New Year. We have just come through the season of eating a ton of stuff that is so unhealthy but tastes so delicious. I am used to having a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee for breakfast and I’m good with that, but right now I am at my brother’s house in Texas with several of his children and grandchildren, and breakfast this morning, for example, included Belgian pancakes, sausage balls, quiche and anything left from yesterday’s similar breakfast. I ate my bowl of cereal, but could not pass up Belgian pancakes.
I am going to focus on a resolution to lose weight, because, let’s face it, most of us need to lose at least 10 to 50 pounds over the nest few months. I have known a lot of people who have made a resolution to lose weight, but they will complain after a few weeks that they just can’t lose it; and I have found that in nearly every case there is a common reason why - motivation is wrong.
First, the resolution itself. If you say, “I need to lose 20 pounds,” that is not a resolution, that is simply stating the obvious. Of course you need to lose 20 pounds, but there needs to be a plan, and for most of us just not eating bread or sugar or potatoes just won’t do it. We will need to have a plan which, once we have finished our weight loss will help us to develop a healthy lifestyle.
Another way of expressing a resolution will be to say, “I’m going to try to lose 20 pounds this year.” That is a sure-fire way of setting yourself up for failure. “Trying” to lose weight leaves us an open door, which allows us to say, “Well, I tried, but it didn’t work for me. I must have a hormone imbalance.”
No, very few of us have hormone imbalances; we just were not determined to lose weight. Once you get into a diet, it will be hard and uncomfortable. Your body will be asking you, especially about 10 at night, “Are you just trying to starve me to death? Go get something to eat!” and your resolve will melt away.
The resolution has to be, “I AM going to lose 20 pounds! I will feel better, I will look better, and I need to do this.” That will help you prepare for the terrible temptations to cheat, to quit before you accomplish your goal.
The number two reason people fail on a diet is that they do not prepare the house for the diet. What you need to do today is to gather up all the cookies, chips, snacks and whatever else is not healthy and either take it to work with you for others to enjoy or just throw them away. If you have a can of Pringles in the kitchen just sitting there, the 10 p.m. hunger craving will make you go right to them. If they are not there, you can eat something healthy.
Diets are hard work. I lost 20 pounds last year, and I cannot say I enjoyed it at all. I still wanted a sandwich, crackers and cookies for lunch, but I had to eat salad or soup (and not altogether really good soup) and other things. For snacks I had celery and pimento cheese. Supper no longer contained pasta or potatoes or rice, and I really missed all those things a lot! But in about three months, I had lost 20 pounds, and I stepped back out of “Diabetes-land.” I am very conscious of healthy eating now, and I have successfully kept most of the weight off.
Yes, one of my New Year’s resolutions will be to lose weight. I have eaten things I should not have eaten, and some of the weight has come back on, but I choose to be healthy over being unhealthy. I am not looking forward to the deprivation of things I really like, but I am looking forward to a healthier lifestyle.
It has something to do for me with my body being the temple of the Lord, and I want the Lord to have a great place to reside.
Dr. Jay Hodges can be reached at Jayhodges610@yahoo.com