Monday, January 4, 2010

Reframing Resolutions

It’s that time of year – you know, when everyone and their mother is talking about how they’re going to make this year better than the last. And for many, that means self-improvement which often translates to TIME TO LOSE WEIGHT! The commercials are on a perpetual loop – NutriSystem! Jenny Craig! Weight Watchers! Even the cereal Special K is in on the action this year. How nice of them to remind us all that we’re big fat losers and we should go give them our money RIGHT NOW. Because, you know, science proves that giving them money makes us skinny.

However, for most of us, that promise just doesn’t pan out in any real or lasting way. Sure, we may see the scale dip lower for awhile (and doesn’t it just feel GREAT?!), but it’s the rare exception that sees that result last very long. And at what price? The thought of being on food restriction and being hyper-aware of all choices for the rest of my life is exhausting.

But still, I’m tempted. I cannot lie. I look at Valerie Bertinelli and think, “well, maybe…” I have to almost physically shake myself back to reality sometimes. Eating prepackaged food might work temporarily and offer a short respite from having to think about food and it’s affect on body size, but it’s not sustainable. The rebound alone is just not worth it. So, I must work with what I’ve got: my brain and my wonderful body that gets me through life each and every day. Isn’t that amazing?

Even so, the urge to get fit and focus on self improvement persists. I want to look and feel better than I do now. So what’s a Intuitive Eater in training to do? Well, you may call it just semantics but I choose to focus on behaviors and habits rather than the outcome. I choose to put my energy into doing things that are positive for my health – buying yummy whole foods, putting time and care into preparing meals, and moving my body. That’s it. I just let go of any expectation of weight loss. I’m recommitting to doing these things for my overall well-being so there is no pressure of disappointment if weight loss doesn’t happen as a result.

This outlook has a positive impact financially as well. I’m not forking over my cash with my self efficacy to some corporate conglomerate selling snake oil in the form of the fantasy of being thin. I’m not choosing to spend lots of money on classes or equipment to “motivate me”. In reality, getting fit and moving more doesn’t have to cost a thing. Paying for classes, etc. is nice (and I do spend some money on low cost yoga classes so I’m not hating on all expenditures). I just don’t think that spending money can substitute for actual follow-through – a lesson that’s taken me a long time to learn. There are so many free/low cost things to do, it’s incredible.

In my own particular (charmed) world, I have access to two free fitness rooms at work, low cost yoga classes at work, tons of free exercise classes On Demand (I’ve been using those for strength training), and my own two feet :) I also invested a couple bucks in some hand weights and a resistance band to help with my goal of getting stronger this year. That’s it.

To help get me going, I’ve lowered my threshold for what constitutes a good workout. I used to think that if I didn’t do at LEAST 30 minutes, it basically wasn’t worth it. Well, now I’m committing to just 20 minutes most days. Not all days, but most. I will have my 2 one-hour-long yoga classes each week, but the other days just require me to suit up and do 20 minutes. I can DO that. And starting where I am now (feeling very out of shape), it’s a good start that is least likely to result in injury. Will I up the time commitment as I rebuild my stamina? Probably, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. For now, I just want to enjoy the effects of getting some exercise each day without all the pressure and obsession on results. I’m going to do it just to do it and see where it gets me.

So, how has the New Year impacted your motivation to get healthier in 2010? Are you a sucker for the urge to reboot your bod come January, like me? What steps are you taking in your quest? Or, are you immune to the social pressure and living life as usual, focused on your goals but no more or less so due to the calendar? How do you stay so sane? Please share your take in the comments.


Anonymous said...

I take a balanced approach which I just wrote about on the co-op! In am, however, going to start a detox tomorrow or Sat for 1 week!


Hey, FT! Yes, a balanced approach is always the best. Good luck with your detox!