It’s another New Year and often with the dropping of the glitzy ball comes our resolutions of losing weight. Again. Same story as before yet perhaps with even more weight to remove. The truth is that the goal of “losing weight” is fraught with dangers – potential self-loathing, restrictive diets, behaviors that require constant energy and “white knuckling” to keep them up, curse words hurled at a scale or worse, ourselves, and even the potential of being a real party-pooper in the presence of others. I suppose those things won’t last long, however, since the diet attempts are usually worn out by a few weeks into January. Again. (Sigh)
How about having a different story to tell this time? How about setting some goals that have to do with behaviors rather than outcome? You see, the goal of weight loss is an outcome of which, in actuality, you have very little control. You don’t get to decide what number will show up on that nasty little Judgment Box that you may have in your bathroom.
Behaviors, on the other hand, are what you do have an ability to control. Yes, there are some behaviors that you have had for so long that they may seem impossible to change, but they are changeable.
Sample behaviors you could cultivate are:
Snacking only if it is more than 2 hours until a meal and you are actually physically hungry.
Learning to enjoy a beverage that is water based with no sugars or artificial sweeteners – plain water, seltzer, herbal tea, coffee
Closing the kitchen after dinner – counters wiped, lights off!
Taking walks after dinner rather than hitting the couch for mindless television
Starting your day with something mindful that sets a lovely tone to your day – pray, meditate, read your gratitude list, feel purposefully grateful for how well your body works right in this moment no matter what its size, cultivate self-love, read something inspirational (all of these things beat starting your day with negative or consumption-based emails)
Choosing to eat only foods that nourish you and make you feel great all day long and the next morning when you think about what you ate the day before (do you ever do that?)
Eating more fat and protein and making your carbs ones that give you long-lasting energy rather than the quick jolt (for example, sweet potatoes instead of candy, an apple instead of crackers)
Having more daily fun, joy, and pleasure in as many ways as possible. For example, spend non-eating time with family and friends, read a fun book, nap, sit by a fire, dance, go outdoors and play in the snow, call your favorite friend/aunt/child who always makes you laugh, watch a funny movie, stop trying to get five things done at once and just do nothing for a change!!!
Forgiving yourself for all perceived past failures and simply vow to improve your habits one at a time. The “accidental” results will be better health, MAYBE a smaller waistline but maybe not and that is perfectly ok, and best of all, more happiness.
Enjoy the year, the month, the day, the moment…. one moment at a time.
Dr. Amy Mercovich