New Year

Yup, it’s that time again.

Resolutions.
Will we keep them? Will they be forgotten by February?

I have never been a big resolutions person. At least, not in January. I don’t know if it is due to the beginning of the school year, but somehow I always equate Labor day with the revamping of my priorities annually.

We lived out in the country, so, especially when I was young, I didn’t see my friends over the summer. The beginning of the school year was a time for excitement: new clothes, new notebooks, organizing for the school year, catching up with my friends.
That always seemed like the fresh start of my year, not New Years Day, which, sadly, was never a big deal in my family.

But, admitting that I am an oddball, I know thousands of people across the globe have made multitudes of resolutions in the last 24 hours. Some are already forgotten, some they will strive for and some they will fail to attain.

Why is that?

Probably because a lot of people pick a goal that focuses  on the how, not the why. Magazines in every news stand  (or online 😛 ) are telling people right now how to de-clutter their lives, or lose weight with the perfect diet/exercise program. But many of them are not addressing the original problem–why your house is a mess or exercise doesn’t stick.

I can get a perfect place to put all my papers, cleaning supplies and whatnot; and my house will be organized and clean….until the original reason my house was disorganized rears its ugly head–I simply don’t take the time to put things in their perfect place. Unless I fix the why, I can do the how all I want and it’s not going to stick. I need to change my habits before I can reach any goals.

The why is also important in choosing the resolution in the first place. Do you want to lose weight just to be more attractive to others? Probably not a resolution you are going to keep. Do you want to lose weight to be stronger and healthier, and improve your own self-image? Now, that one might stick! Do you think you should reorganize your house because the magazine makes it look so pretty? It probably won’t last. Do you want to organize your house so you don’t have to waste so much time trying to find things? That has a better chance of working once you find a proper home for everything.

Now, how do we get there?

That’s the trickier part. Once you have decided your goal has a good basis in why you truly want it, seek as much advice as you can about your goal. Read, watch videos, talk to friends. The more information you have, the more likely you are to do it correctly and enjoy it–and want to keep doing it (whatever it is).

I love running. Running helps me lose weight. It makes me feel strong and balanced, and gives me time away from my everyday problems to work on just myself. I do not expect it to work for everyone, nor do I expect everyone to love running. But you do want to find something that does all that for you.

My mantra has always been: do what you like. If you don’t like it, you won’t do it. Thus why, as a child of the 80s and 90s, I still won’t do aerobics. I loathe them. Same with the newer fondness for HiIT workouts. Won’t touch them. I tried a lot of things before I decided what worked for me and I actually enjoyed doing.

Feel free to experiment with many ways to attain your goal. One never knows what will work (or not) until one tries. That goes for anything-exercise, weight loss, organization or even cooking.  Just make sure you do them in bite size steps that you can accomplish and build on.

Deciding to run a marathon and getting on the treadmill at the local gym the first day and trying to  run 5 miles is not a good way to start. It will hurt, might actually injure you, and be very discouraging! Starting with  running and walking intervals and having  a reasonable mileage goal for each month will most likely get you to the starting line of your marathon.

And this could be the year that we all keep our resolutions….even if my resolution to not have one!

 

 

Weight

Weight is a funny thing, isn’t it? Amazing how happy one can be to see a number on the scale on the downward slide, but so very unhappy to see the same number on the way back up.

A number of years ago I set a goal weight, and I have struggled to get there. Now, I was chunky, so my goal weight was really only eight or so pounds away from where I was. But as we all know, I always said I ran to eat pizza.

So although I occasionally lost a pound, my body loves to hold on to each ounce and I never really got to my goal. But at least I stayed even 🙂

Then I had my accident and lost 10 lbs in the hospital–no surprise there. I did gain five back, once I started eating solid food at home. But I stayed there (only three pounds above my goal) for two years. I pretty much cycled through three pounds for those years, but it was consistent.

Then my husband had his heart attack last February. There was stress, of course, and we also drastically changed our diet. He can’t have much salt (oh my, that is high in everything!) or items with a lot of fat. We pretty much stopped eating anything processed. We used to enjoy the “convenience” of frozen pizza, mac and cheese or other frozen dinners several times a week.  We went cold turkey on that. I even make spaghetti sauce each time we have pasta–that would be due to the salt content in commercial sauce. We also were both keeping our portions small in the beginning as well.

Somehow, I lost ten pounds. So here I am seven pounds below my goal!! Whoo-hoooo! Even more odd, I stayed the same weight for several months, not bouncing up and down three pounds like I normally do.

I don’t eat anything really horrible, my desserts are normally ginger snaps, my lunches ricotta and granola and my breakfasts are Zone bars during the week.

So why did I just gain three pounds?????

Part of it is autumn. This is the normal time of year my body craves food and hangs on to all the calories in order to prepare for the deprivation of hibernation of winter. I wish it would realize we don’t hibernate!!! The other part, I expect, is that I relaxed on the “small portion” part. Ooops. And although I am running again, I haven’t been doing very many or very difficult sessions. Double ooops.

Where does that leave me? Well, four pounds below my goal weight. But now my goal is to stay where I was. I have no interest in continuing to gain weight throughout the winter, that will only make my spring harder. And while I really don’t want to go lower than I was, I do want to stay there–I liked it 🙂 So now on to the hard work-less food and more exercise.

My Holiday Miracle!

This is a post that I wrote, and never posted as we got further and further from the holiday. Going through my drafts, I thought that just maybe I could post it. It may help me remember my goals!

Usually the holiday season is the time of year when I just say go hang and eat what I want.

By December 31st I have already put on pounds.  Even though I know that whatever I put on now I will be sweating and cursing to get off in January and February and March……. Last year I even took the month of December off from exercise because, dang it, I was just burned out.

Not that that worked, I apparently get cranky without my yoga.  Some people drink, some do cocaine, I have my endorphins.

endorphin runner

And my coffee. Don’t take my coffee away from me. I don’t even need caffeinated, just drinking decaf has a placebo effect on me. But I digress. I found myself doing yoga a week or two into December. But I still gained seven pounds from last year’s holiday fun.

I got on the scale the at the beginning of December 2014 and I was at the lowest point that I have been in 6 to 8 years.

      How did this miracle happen?


 I blame running. Not only am I burning calories, but I find that I just don’t want to eat as much. This makes sense if you think about why I eat.

My husband is a smoker. I don’t think it is fair to nag him to quit if I can’t kick my own addiction: food. I know, I know, we all need to eat to survive. My food addiction isn’t about survival but enjoyment. I am easily swayed; reading an excellent description of a meal in a book can make me immediately crave whatever the characters are having.  Savory meats and puddings in historical fiction sound much better  in my imagination than they most likely were. My cravings usually revolve around spicy and salty, but I venture into sweets sometimes too.

I eat when I’m bored. Sad. Happy. Even when I am nauseous, I feel if I put just the right thing in my stomach I will feel better. Food is a cure-all to me. In the past when I lost weight, it seemed to be an immediate invitation to eat more.

This year that hasn’t happened. All the work I did with the 7 Day workout and my running seems to be stripping me down to who I should be. Maybe it’s just the endorphins talking, but I want to keep the momentum going more than I want the holiday food. At least, not in excess. I pretty much eat what I want, but in smaller quantities.  I made snickerdoodles from scratch for my party, and only had one beforehand. In previous years my guests would have been lucky to get half of them.

Now the holidays are over and I got on the scale: minus  .02 lbs. Not a lot, but certainly not  plus seven extra pounds. My food cravings are increasing a bit, which is odd now that the holiday season is over. However, the will power I developed during the holidays seemed to have carried over. I look at the food and then decide whether I am bored or if I really need something. Not that I don’t still eat it occasionally, but at least I know what I am doing!

Running seems to have increased my motivation. Before I was exercising to lose weight. Now I am losing weight and eating right so that I can run better. The endorphins are still the same, however. While running may not be the answer for everyone, I do hope that everyone can find that one sport that turns the motivation around.

 The enjoyment of the sport make it much easier to deny the occasional bowl of ice cream or pizza when you can get out there and fly down the road.