Monday, January 21, 2013
Pick your hard: Sticking with tough resolutions or staying unhappily unchanged
It's the process, not the product.
It's three weeks into January, people! Do you know where your New Year's Resolutions are? Scientists say it's around 21 days that repeating a behavior makes it a habit. We're just about there. What did you choose this year? Quit smoking? Do more charity work? Or like me, did you just resolve to take off that pesky five pounds of eggnog and sugar cookies from December? I don't know about you, but I gain weight when I breathe in deeply around food. And it takes a will of iron to take weight off. So I've hit 2013 armed with a new Jillian Michaels workout video and a freezer full of Lean Cuisines.
To my deepest chagrin, I cannot yet report success in my weight loss endeavors despite some considerable effort. Yeppers, I'm officially struggling. Plateau city. I'm working out, I'm restricting food ... and yet? Nada. The numbers on the scale refuse to budge. It's scientifically impossible, I tell you, but there it is. Magically, my body is holding on to what I lovingly like to call my "winter coat" with a vengeance.
I was in such denial about my holiday padding that I actually bought a second scale in belief the first one must truly be lying to me. Alas, now they work in tandem to make me cry first thing in the morning when I do my obligatory weigh-in. There is no mistake. All scales are in agreement, and I cannot deny: I am chubbier than I was in the majority of 2012. Not by a lot, mind you. But enough to bother me.
And I have been a good, good girl, y'all, this January. I have been a resolutions poster girl. You would not believe the delicacies I've turned down lately in my quest for a more narrow behind. There was that staff breakfast with the doughnuts, muffins, and lovely egg and cheese casserole. Bread pudding, guys. There was bread pudding, and I said no. No small feat for a girl of Cajun ancestry.
And there was that lovely Square Off remote we shot at the resplendent Henry's of Plano, home of gorgonzola-smothered fries and comped creme brulee for desert. Did I bend? No! Who ate grilled salmon and asparagus and demurred from deep fried doughnut holes, all the while screaming internally from the effort? This chick. I'm telling you, if desire burned calories, I would have dropped a dress size at that lunch.
But am I rewarded on my nemesis, that bitch-goddess I call the scale? No! Despite this month's application of what I call extreme austerity measures, that needle refuses to move. I think I quite literally banged my head on the wall this morning after I weighed in. How? How is it possible? More calories burned than taken in ... it's just mathematically impossible! Related: ARGLE BARGLE.
It's so frustrating to behave yourself and have few results. But in the interest of my sanity, here's what I'm telling myself about all this eating well and exercising like mad I've been doing:
It's the process, not the product. Being motivated to get to the gym or go running in the cold is hard. Being unhappy and unable to fit in my pants is hard. I need to choose my hard, because at the end of the day, taking care of myself isn't a short-term project. It's not like there's an end to diet and exercise even when you're at your goal weight. You don't get to be done.
Self-esteem comes from within. A number on a scale doesn't define you or your attractiveness any more than the size tag on your pants. Self-esteem is that feeling you get during the stretch after a run or when you complete your first 5K. Resolutions aren't about reaching a size or a number but changing from within and living differently.
Forget arbitrary start dates. So, you blew it. Maybe you did eat your weight in Doritos during the last NFL playoff game. That doesn't mean 2013 is blown. And for me, that means no matter what the calendar says, every day can be New Year's Day at least as far as resolutions are concerned. Every minute is a new minute in which I can make decisions that feed my self-esteem as opposed to tearing it down.
Just keep swimming. My favorite character in Finding Nemo is Dory. I like her short-term memory loss. It works for her, and we'd probably benefit from forgetting a little more ourselves. And when she doesn't know what else to do? She just keeps swimming. And, taking a page from Dory's book, I will just keeping running ... no matter what that damnable scale wants to tell me. It is, after all, impossible to get nowhere if you refuse to give up.
So wish me well as we head into the latter part of January, 2013. I just know that scale and I are going to make friends in 2013 yet. If you see me, don't offer me anything fattening, please. I know clean living will prevail. I send you Godspeed as you tackle your own 2013 resolutions. We'll just try to remember this is the new normal, right? We've picked our hard. Here's to making our resolutions into habits.
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