Monday, June 15, 2009

Sweet Temptations

Let’s face it – if we have a weight issue – and who doesn’t these days? – it’s most often due to a lack of willpower. We tend to use food, particularly desserts, as a salve for other things going on in our lives that make us uncomfortable – things we’d rather not deal with - or forget - or gloss over with something we know we love, like food to switch our focus, if only for a moment.

Once you’ve decided to pay more attention to how much you are eating – you may decide that not having certain items in the house is the best way to battle temptation. If it’s not in the pantry or refrigerator, you can’t eat it, right?

A friend mentioned that she has bought several cupcakes with the idea that she will only eat one a day. If she can do that, keeping track of the calories, that’s great. But what is going to keep her from diving into a second one or a third or even all of them if temptation gets the best of her? Many of us wouldn’t stop at one. If we didn’t struggle with willpower, we wouldn’t be in this predicament. After the first cupcake – it would be too easy to start justifying the second one:

‘OK, so if each cupcake is X amount of calories, I’ll subtract the second one from tomorrow’s calorie count. It’s all about our total calories for the entire week, right? 3500 calories is 3500 no matter how you slice it. A pound is a pound, right?’

But you know what will happen. Tomorrow rolls around, you’re hungry for sugar – you not only don’t like the idea of subtracting last night’s cupcake from today’s calorie count, but you also don’t like the fact you won’t get today’s cupcake. And then there is the shrug-your-shoulders-and-eat-it-anyway, excuse. You only live once, right? And it’s only a cupcake for heaven’s sake.

May I offer a suggestion? Don’t buy desserts in multiples. Resist a full-sized cake or pie or a dozen donuts or anything that’s going to give you more than one serving of dessert, unless you have someone at home to share it with. You’re only making your battle with food, harder. Yes, if you can eat only one cupcake like my friend believes she will, you’ll feel proud of yourself in the morning, knowing you struggled and won the day. But how will you feel if you ‘slip’ and have two or all? You’ll probably feel physically bloated and a little ill from the sugar rush – but more importantly, you’ll risk feeling a failure – disgusted with yourself for not finding that elusive willpower. Not a good way to strengthen your resolve and be proud of what you’ve accomplished. We don’t get very far by taking two steps backward. Do yourself a favor. Buy one cupcake. Eat one cupcake. Be proud of yourself. Move on.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Start Small

Just read a friend’s blog in which she said over the past couple of months, she has introduced little changes into her eating lifestyle to help improve her health: a few more low-calorie meals; yogurt in place of some desserts; introducing healthier items like oatmeal and fruit into her meals each week. It’s a wonderful plan. It’s hard sometimes, to go cold turkey – to get up one morning and decide you’re going to change the way you eat and how you see yourself and there will be no going back. Yes, there are those who can do it, but for those who find that too much change at once – it can set us up for a bad fall and then we end up going overboard in the wrong direction. A gradual change is a wonderful way to introduce and reinforce good habits into your life.

Why not do one new thing for yourself this week that is healthier? Maybe you slowly peel and eat an orange instead of scarfing down that slice of pie? Try a handful of nuts in the afternoon as a pick-me-up instead of that vending machine candy bar? Have a flavored bottle of water instead of that large cola.

It’s a start – it will help you feel in control of your life - and you are worth the effort. Do it for yourself.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

No Quick Weight Loss Schemes

By now, you’re probably well aware of two major weight-related stories in the news. The FDA recall of the weight loss product Hydroxycut due to reports of liver problems that have claimed at least 1 life, and actress Kirstie Alley – famously seen on Oprah a couple of years ago after losing 70+pounds on Jenny Craig. A recent appearance on Oprah showed Alley has gained back all the weight she lost and then some. It’s so regretful that people get hurt by these artificial attempts at weight loss. It’s sometimes tough for people to accept, but it’s true. There is no real and/or healthy short cut to weight loss. It takes commitment, it takes discipline, and it takes a mental lifestyle change. That doesn’t include some quick-fix, “I lost 50 pounds in 3 weeks” diet drug or plan.

Save your health by doing it the right way – eating better and eating less. Put yourself first when it comes to your diet. Don’t finish what the kids leave on their plates. Don’t eat the leftovers in the refrigerator that nobody else wants unless they fit into your calorie count for the day. And don’t let getting into that wedding dress or looking good for your high school reunion prompt you to submit yourself to some diet scheme. When you go back to your old habits, (because you haven’t learned a new approach to eating), the pounds you might have shed will all come back, and maybe 5-10 more added to them. If done right, the weight does come off faster and easier than you may realize. And the effects last longer. Hopefully, a lifetime.

You do deserve better. Don’t you?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Visual Rewards

It’s critical that while taking the pounds off slowly, we keep up with what our bodies are doing every day, else we run the risk of becoming discouraged because we can’t ‘see’ progress. It’s why I keep a calendar on the wall of my bathroom, and each day after I step on the scales, I write down the number on that date.

I realize however, that some of you might not feel comfortable staring at the numbers all the time. Besides what’s most important is that you’re sticking to your new eating lifestyle another day. So, how about this? Instead of recording your actual daily weight on your calendar, why not put a symbol on the date to show how you’ve honored yourself and your promise with better eating habits that day? I like to draw a smiley face in one corner of the date box if I’ve come in at or below that day’s calorie limit. If I over-indulge, I draw a frown. By using a symbol to record progress, I’m not focusing on the results of my efforts – like a change in weight – as much as I'm seeing where my chief struggles lay – the commitment to myself.

You’ll quickly see whether you’re actually serious about your weight loss. If you can look at 2 weeks of smiley faces, or stars, or whatever you choose, and you’ve not lost a pound? You’ll know it’s not because you haven’t been trying. Hang in there. It will happen. If, however, every other day, or two days out of the week you have drawn a frown, then you just might not be serious about this after all – and in fact, you might be sabotaging yourself for some reason.

It doesn’t matter what you use – what’s important is to recognize that we are visual creatures. Isn’t that why a plateful of cheese fries or chocolate brownies gets us every time? It looks so good? Therefore, we should fight the battle with something visual, too – a visual confirmation if you will, to our commitment to do the right thing. We can be in control and we can win the battle!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Finding Comfort Elsewhere

What comforts you? Oh, we all know food is at the top of our list! But what other thing comforts you? What makes you feel secure, warm and fuzzy – what other thing makes you feel nurtured and rejuvenated if not food? That is the thing you want to find.

As indicated in the previous entry on stress eating, we know that food is the one thing so many of us turn to first when we are feeling stressed or otherwise overwhelmed. But in the long run, it adds to our stress because the extra weight it creates gives us more to worry about!

The idea is to break that instinctive reach for food and instead replace it with a ‘reach’ for something else – the next best – and positive - thing. Whether it’s great art, crossword puzzles, or sex – replacing the automatic and thoughtless habit of eating, with something that can focus our attention elsewhere for that moment, can help interrupt that laser beam that draws us to the kitchen! The result just might be the same if not better sense of satisfaction that will in turn, better enrich our lives and fill our souls without over-filling our bodies.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Stress Really Bites!

Stress eating. I think it hits all of us who struggle with the pounds. It’s about comfort. Stress makes us feel upset, unsure, and unstable - stretched and pulled all different directions. A child can hug a teddy bear, but where do adults go for that feeling of security and balance again - to recapture our peace and calm? Well, for many of us, it’s our refrigerator or pantry. What’s more comforting than sitting down to a bag of cookies or a big piece of pound cake? (Aptly named, by the way.) Or perhaps instead of a sit-down nosh, your stress eating manifests itself in grazing all day long. Sort of like a smoker who is comforted by the feel of their lips curled around a cigarette – some stress eaters are comforted by mindless hand-to-mouth nibbling.

Of course the obvious problem with this kind of self-comforting effort is the additional stress we inflict on ourselves when we see the results we’ve “gained.” More weight on a body that doesn’t need it and a mind that doesn’t want it, equals what? More stress. Yikes! The very thing we’re trying to salve only gets worse.

Here are 8 tips, (thank you to help us get over or at least get through stressful moments and hopefully keep us from wrapping ourselves in a blanket of calories to feel better.

1. Anger Management – practice letting go, making a conscious effort/choice not to become angry or upset – too much energy and thought is wasted on this often unproductive emotional state.

2. Breathe – slowly and deeply. Take three deep breaths and release them slowly before reacting to the next stressful situation.

3. Speak slowly – slowing down our speech enables us to think more clearly and react more reasonably to stressful situations.

4. Time management – select one simple thing you’ve been putting off and do it now. Return that phone call, make that doctor’s appointment. Having an undone task or responsibility hanging in the backs of our minds adds to our daily stress level.

5. Get out – fresh air really does help! Don’t be deterred by bad weather or a too full schedule. Take a few minutes – even 5 – standing on a balcony or on your front porch – it can rejuvenate you.

6. Drink water – dehydration can add to our feelings of anxiety and stress without our realizing it.

7. Straighten up! - Check your posture. Stooping or slumping can lead to muscle tension, pain, and what? Increased stress.

8. Reward yourself – plan an end of the day reward like a nice hot bath or a half hour with a good book – putting aside work, housekeeping, or family concerns for a few minutes before bed so you can fully relax and get the rest you need. Don’t spend time planning tomorrow’s schedule or trying to catch up completing chores you didn’t get around to all day. You need time to recharge and energize so you’ll be better prepared to face the next stressful day!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Eating Out Calories

It’s so easy to underestimate the amount of calories that go into commercial foods. While perusing the menu at a popular food chain or walking down the line of steaming entrees and veg at a tried and true cafeteria, I think of how I might perhaps fix similar items at home. I think about the ingredients I might use to make that same dish, thinking that, well it can’t be that bad, what would be on it/in it that would make it so high calorie?

I decided to check out my latest edition of The Calorie King Calorie Fat & Carbohydrate Counter book. If you haven’t got one, run to your nearest bookstore or on-line seller and buy it. You’ll be glad you did. It’s invaluable. Anyway, in the back of the little pocket-sized book is what I consider a pretty reliable nutrition list of menu items from popular restaurants and fast food chains. Some of it will scare you! I’m not saying don’t eat these things or go to these places. What I am saying is to be sure you know what you’re getting. More information allows you to make an informed decision.

Listed below are a few items I found in the book with their calories written alongside. If you're limiting your calories to around say 1500 or even 1700 a day, many of these dishes would be totally out of the question. Check it out.

Appleby’s – Fiesta Lime Chicken – (entrée with sides and sauces) – 1285 calories! (at least Appleby’s does have a listing of Weight Watchers items on their menu which are not too bad.)

Burger King – Original Whopper sandwich – 680; Whopper Jr., (no cheese) – 370

Cheesecake Factory – per slice - Brownie Sundae – 970; Original Cheesecake – 630

Chili’s – Classic Nachos – with fajita chicken – 1630; with fajita beef – 1740

Dunkin’ Donuts – Powdered Cake donut – 310; Bagel – plain multigrain - 410

IHOP – Buttermilk pancakes – short stack (3) [without butter and syrup] - 330

Macaroni Grill – Primo Chicken Parmesan (dinner size) – 2220!

P.F. Chang’s – Lo Mein Beef (per whole dish) – 1375

Ruby Tuesday – Lemon Grilled Salmon (entrée without sides) – 505

Zaxby’s – Chicken Finger Plate – (regular entrée without sauce) – 1055

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Battling the Binging

Are you a night eater? I’ll admit that I am. It’s the hardest time of the day for me to resist temptation. I can go almost all day – proud of myself for eating rather light. Not much for breakfast other than coffee and a nutrition bar –oh no, just a lite lunch, thank you. Then it kicks in. I want something more ‘substantial’ as a mid-afternoon snack, because hey, I've hardly had a thing all day. Then dinner comes and I’d like a dessert, of course. I add up my all my calories for the day so far and discover that, hmm, gee I have a lot more calories to use up in order to meet my goal for the day. Must not under-eat. If I’m not careful, though, I’ll end up over-eating because my craving nature kicks in and before I know it, the extra 300 calories I had to spend on dessert will end up ‘encouraging' me to eat 600 and I've blown it for the day.

And perhaps we share this issue, too - the more I eat, the more my body wants to eat. If I over-eat, say give in to that afternoon or night craving, I find the next day my body wants more - even to the point of hunger pains poking at me around the same time I overindulged the day before. It’s as if my body is saying, ‘Hey, you fed us yesterday at this time, let’s do that again! It would be really easy to give in to those urges just to shut them up. That’s where our tough resolve has to kick in. It’s hard. I know. But if you can battle it back –ignore those desires/pains/cravings for one day, it will get easier the next. And the day after that is even a little bit better because you now have a history of winning the fight. If you can hang in there until you begin to see results on the scale or in the way you can now breathe easier when you don a certain pair of jeans or skirt, that will give you more incentive to continue the fight. You can do it!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Study Backs Calorie Counting

A study reported this week in the New England Journal of Medicine says bottom line, it’s calories that count. Yay! Been saying that for ages. Every generation has its fad diets, some a bit more logical-sounding than others: think how 'scientific' the Atkins or Ornish Diets sound over say the Grapefruit Diet or Cabbage Soup Diet. But all of them either tout or damn one nutrient over another. Eat lots of protein! Don’t eat any protein! Go high carb! Go low or no fat! No, go no carbs! According to scientists who conducted the study, the kind of diet doesn’t matter, all that DOES really matter is cutting calories.

More than 800 people were followed for 2 years. In the case study, along with cutting their calories, participants, who were mostly women, were encouraged to exercise 90-minutes a week, keep a food diary, and meet with diet counselors on a regular basis. Well, 2 outta 4 ain’t bad.

On average, people lost 13 pounds in the first 6 months, but had trouble with the pounds trying to creep back up after a year. People who met regularly with diet counselors had a better chance of keeping it off and those who attended meetings lost more weight than those who didn’t - which is probably why Weight Watchers participants do so well on average. The only real disappointment researchers reported was in test subjects actually staying with a particular method of weight-loss for that long. People do like variety. We get bored. We get frustrated.

A point researchers made for calorie counting, which I’ve always said, is that it allows people greater food choices which makes it less boring. If you’re not always cutting out something, depriving yourself of a certain food, you’ll have a better chance of sticking to it. We all need variety in our diets. Cutting out anything, unless it’s medically necessary, is a bad idea in my opinion, because it will eventually backfire.

Some of the test subjects admitting that before participating in the research, they were oblivious to the amount of calories they were taking in each day. After they started measuring and counting, which gives the diet structure, the pounds dropped off.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Surviving Those Servings

Did you know the sugars our bodies don’t use, turn to fat? Yes, our bodies get energy from sugars so when we’re feeling a bit sleepy and leaden at work, a small sweet pick-me-up can do the trick – but if you’re thinking sugar only gives us energy, think again. The body will take what it needs from the sugar you’ve eaten, and then what’s left over turns into fat. That means more calories, more difficult calories to get rid of. So think about taking a ‘bite’ over a ‘bar.’ A piece of cake is too big, a piece of hard candy is better.

And speaking of portions, we all know that serving sizes in American restaurants have pretty well crossed the line into the realm of the ridiculous these days. So decide before you walk through the cafe door, how much of something you’re going to eat. I don’t mean obsess about it, but have a plan. When you get your order, ask the server for a to-go box right then. Then basically cut the order in half: half the entrée, half the veg, etc. You’ll have plenty to eat and you’ll have a second meal to carry home for later!

I know this can be a bit awkward and perhaps too intimidating to do if you’re on a date. So think instead about ordering from the appetizer menu. Ask the waitperson to bring it when he/she brings your date’s entrée. That way you won't be sitting there with your dish getting cold well before your date gets his. It’s just another way to keep the portions down.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Surgical Solutions

I’m staggered by the number of people who are going for weight-loss surgery these days. Several of them number among my friends and family who say they had to do something or they would have died. Recently, leaders from a North Texas county, amid voices of protest, announced they would stop providing the health insurance coverage for gastric bypass surgery because in these tough economic times, they just don't see it as something they can afford any longer. They have already spent 3-million taxpayer dollars on such surgeries for 100 employees. First, I’m stunned that any county government would agree to cover such an elective operation, and second I’m reeling at the number of people who needed it.

What people don’t want to realize, is that just as they used food to the extreme for immediate gratification, weight-loss surgery is simply another quick and extreme choice in the opposite direction. It's certainly not a treatment is it? It’s not keeping the person from physically putting something in their mouth. It’s not the equivalent of tying splints on the elbows or chaining the refrigerator door shut. What keeps people from eating after surgery? Knowing they’ll get sick. It’s the equivalent of aversion therapy or shock therapy where every time the lab rat reaches for cheese he’s shocked, so he eventually stops reaching for cheese.

And yet, for some that’s not even enough. Some people are so addicted to food that they gain weight even after their stomachs are reduced to the size of a golf ball. Why? Because none of these so-called life-saving surgeries deal with the real problem - not hunger pains, but the pain that goes on inside the head. How do they do a bypass on the brain??

One of the reasons groups like Weight Watchers have had long-term success for their clients is because they deal somewhat with people’s need to be noticed, appreciated, valued – and yes, loved. For some of us, there is a deep dark cavernous hole that yearns to be filled. It’s why we eat even when we’re not hungry. In fact, even when we’re full. Unfortunately, no amount of food we are able to consume, will ever, ever fill it.
When I was a child, it was customary for my dad to cook rib eyes out on the grill when family came to visit from out of town. One couple in particular could really put it away. I can’t recall what the husband ate, but the wife would eat 2 full steaks and the center out of a third; this along with French fried potatoes and a salad on the side. She admitted once that food looked just as good to her when she left the table as when she had arrived.

If you are thinking of any kind of weight-loss surgery, please reconsider. As major surgery, it's at the very least, risky. And whereas it alters the inside of your body permanently, what's inside the brain is still there - that deep void that makes us turn to food for artificial comfort. Talk therapy - counseling - would be a much better investment in the long run.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Don't Go Too Low

In the efforts to ‘get the weight off’ as quickly as possible, it’s important not to drop your calories too low. As I discuss in the blog entry listed here, “Determine Your Daily Calories,” there are healthy calorie calculators that indicate, for your particular height and desired weight, the proper number of calories to take in each day. Dropping the calories too low will backfire because the body is apt to go into starvation mode, shutting down its metabolism, resulting in NO weight loss at all. And even if you can get away with lower calories for awhile, eventually your cravings will kick in and you’ll end up standing in the pantry or in front of the refrigerator in an out of control binging frenzy, not to mention that hardly eating anything is just dead boring! What kind of life is that?

One to two pounds a week is a good healthy weight loss. I’m talking long term, steady, consistent. I know that’s frustrating when you wake up one morning and decide you really want to do this, have the motivation, the desire. You want the weight gone – now! But slashing your caloric intake or, Heaven forbid, going for one of these advertised plans that claim you’ll lose 20-pounds in 1-2 weeks, are not only ridiculous - they would be dangerous if they really worked. And trust me, they don’t. Think of it, if they did, none of us would be overweight.

So go slow and steady. You didn’t put on the weight overnight - don’t expect to take it off that way. As baby boomers, the days of extreme dieting to fit into that dress for the prom is over. Those of us who are still going for the cabbage soup diet, grapefruit diet, Hollywood liquid diet plans, are just fooling ourselves, -because with that kind of dieting, if you lose it, the weight always comes back – sometimes twice as much.

No, this is a lifestyle change. It’s weight loss for the purpose of good healthy maintenance so we feel good about ourselves and don’t have weight-associated health issues like heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Be smart. Be sensible. Look great!

Monday, January 26, 2009

What You Wear Means Something

So, what did you wear this weekend - or generally on your days off - when you’re going to the movies, the bookstore, or just running to the market for a quick quart of milk or loaf of bread? Are you dressing rather ‘casually’ as some of us like to call it – read ‘sloppy’ – because you want to be comfortable?

I think our need to feel comfortable is part of what sometimes gets us in trouble. We don’t want to feel constricted so we put on those stretch pants. The problem with stretch pants? There are no boundaries. We can eat that second helping of casserole or slice of pecan pie because there is nothing pushing back against our waistlines to tell us it’s not a good idea.

Let me suggest that dressing better makes us feel better about ourselves in the long run and actually goes a long way to encourage us to stick to our better eating habits. I can understand wanting to be comfortable around the house, but when you have to go out, even for a quick trip, please re-think the idea of going out a little too comfortable, (egad, I've seen some women in pajamas!) Imagine this: you’re in your sloppy sweats, an old tank top and sweater, and flip-flops – just making a quick run into Target for that quart of milk I mentioned. You round the corner and bump into your ex with his new girlfriend. She looks great, by the way. Feel OK about what you’re wearing now? What’s that? You say you don’t care? Of course you do. The best revenge is to look good.
You don’t have to be a Skinny Minnie to look great, either. I’m talking a nice pair of jeans with a pair of flats or heels (no sneakers or flip-flops please) and a nice top that fits - nothing slouchy. (If you dress slouchy, you’ll carry yourself that way.)

You look great and are on your way to looking even greater because you’re changing yourself for the better – eating less, losing weight, feeling good about yourself. You have every reason to stand up straight and walk with pride. Let it show in how you present yourself to the world!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Something to Drink, Perhaps?

As I may well have stated here before, I really don’t like to drink water. Sure if I’m thirsty enough I’ll drink lots of it, but I have to be quite thirsty in order to want it. That’s not good as our bodies need lots of water to stay healthy and it also is a good way to fill us up when we think we’re hungry. In fact, some experts claim that sometimes when we think we’re craving something to eat, it’s really that our bodies are in need of water.

I could drink diet soft drinks, but all that carbonation isn’t good for bones. No, instead I’ve found a solution that not only gets me to drink more water, I enjoy it. It’s those to-go style drink mix-ins you may have seen in the water/fruit juice section of the market. Several manufacturers now have them: Crystal Light, Lipton, Wyler’s, Hawaiian Punch, I’ve even heard All Bran has got into the act, although I’ve not seen the product on the shelf.
Of those I’ve tried, however, my favorite is the Market Pantry brand. It’s Target’s brand. It comes in a red and white box, I think it tastes terrific and it’s generally cheaper than all the others. It’s also lower in calories than some, as it has none while Crystal Light has 5 calories per serving. You get two servings in a 16 oz bottle of water. The newest flavor of Market Pantry that I’m trying right now is grape. It’s really good!

If you’re already drinking plenty of water, that’s great, keep it up! But for some of us who need another arrow in our quiver to battle hunger, this can definitely help.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hunger Brain!

The biggest battle most of us have who are trying to control our eating habits, isn’t with food, it’s with our brains. What goes on between the ears, that voice in our heads that says, well, gee that cookie was really good, I think I’ll have just one more and then yet another. It’s not about being hungry. It’s about that food to mouth feel when we crunch down, or the way the chocolate melts in our mouth, or the salt or sweetness on the taste buds. Sometimes it’s a matter of having something to do. We're bored, we're upset, we're facing things out of our control so we'll do something we can control, even temporarily, and that makes us feel good. Only problem is, compulsive overeating is as much an addiction as doing drugs. The fix feels good at the time, but the damage done makes things overall, even worse.

Distraction can actually be your friend in this regard, getting busy doing something else. I don’t care if you call a friend, straighten your office files, clean out the kitchen junk drawer, anything that will get your mind on something else long enough for that ‘itch’ in your head that’s telling you "Just one more piece of candy," to pass.

The eating battle is within us… between two separate people: the person who wants what they want when they want it, by golly, no matter the consequences, and the person who knows better and knows what’s best but also knows that most times logic won’t triumph until after the deed is done and we’re trying to figure out how not to do this next time. It’s a daily, sometimes hourly battle. Hang in there because when you DO triumph, when you do go to bed without late night overeating, it feels so terrific!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Making A Commitment

Whether you decided to make it a New Year’s Resolution or not, taking off the weight takes commitment. It’s not something you can approach haphazardly. I’ve been guilty of that, too. You SAY you’re going to diet. You’re determined to do it. But every day, you cheat just a little. You tell yourself you’re going to write down everything you eat, and then about half-way down the page, as in half-way into the day, you sneak something that you don’t really want to write down. You tell yourself, you promise yourself, you’ll write down everything else, just not that cookie/handful of Ritz crackers/bag of cashews, it doesn’t matter. But that little secret keeps you from being completely honest with yourself. And worse, it allows you to do it again - and again. It's a form of self-sabotaging your goal while all the time saying out loud to yourself and others who'll hear you, that you are cutting back, you just don't know why you can't lose the weight.

If you’re going to really set your mind to dropping the pounds, you must decide that it’s something you are going to do no matter what and that you’re not going to let your will power get away from you again - because you know you’ve done this before. You’ve made this promise to yourself before - at this time of year even.

So what’s different this time? Why are you here? Only YOU know that. For me, it was waking up one day, getting on the scales and saying to myself, I’m not OK with this anymore. I’m not OK with looking and feeling this way - and admitting that there is no one else who can do this for you. No one can make you make that decision. Not a husband, not a doctor, not a mother – it must be you. So, do it for you. Respect yourself that much. Love yourself that much. You deserve it.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A New Start

So, here we are, the beginning of a new year. How did you do over the holidays? Was it tough? Or did you do pretty well in the keeping-yourself-busy mode of shopping and wrapping gifts - spending time with family and friends instead of going for the extra glass of eggnog?

I can tell you what one of my chief challenges was this holiday season: food baskets. We received several. They were beautiful and contained wonderful things, but they were deadly tempting. Couple that with the many other food attractions of the season, namely Christmas cookies and yummy holiday confections like fudge, divinity, and cream cheese iced carrot cake, and we had an explosion of sugar and calories the likes that are unseen in most small countries.

Did I give in? A little, yes. Am I a bit annoyed with myself for doing it? A little, yes. Am I going to say to myself, “Oh, you’ll never do this,” and dive into mounds of chocolate and sugar plums because of it? Absolutely not. I’ve already begun to get things back under control: namely paying attention to my daily writings of food and calories. Now that the festivities are over, it’s back to normal.

But I have to say, where I draw the line is putting the word “diet” on a list of New Year’s resolutions. I don’t think I’ve ever made such a list that I didn’t manage to break within a week. In my book, resolutions are doomed to fail when they’re attached to that formal declaration made the first week of January. So, if you’re going to resolve to make better choices, eat less, eat healthier, just do it without all the hoopla attached, like a homemade list of glued and glittered bullet points attached to the refrigerator.

It’s a new year… let’s just do the right thing ...together.