Top ten considerations when making a weight-related New Years resolution- Are you planning to lose weight in 2011?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

So Christmas has come and gone, and I hope you had a tremendous time with your most beloved friends and families. The new year brings (for many) renewed vigour and hope for change in 2011. You may be like so many who will decide that enough is enough- this is the year they will FINALLY diet successfully. They will vow that they will suffer, cut, avoid, and otherwise deprive themselves in an effort to finally fit into their clothes, or be some magic number on the scale, or perhaps a more clinical goal of normalizing blood sugar levels, getting cholesterol into healthy ranges, or bringing down their blood pressure. So fueled by that vigour, folks go searching for something they can use, a tool, some kind of framework they can fit into, where someone can tell them concretely what they can do to achieve their goal. I have some thoughts on this one..I wanted to share them with you.

Top ten considerations when making a weight-related New Years resolution

  1. Are you ready to permanently change your habits?  If you think you can do "something" for a few months, achieve your goal and happily return to what you're doing now, you can't. Sorry. What you're doing now is not working or you wouldn't be considering a change, would you?
  2. Are you ready to be in the driver's seat regarding your health and to learn about nutrition? If you are looking for someone who will just tell you what to do, I have a secret to tell you: that person cannot follow you around for the rest of your life. You need to be aware of what you're putting in your mouth, and what the repercussions are or you will fail. Full stop.
  3. Are you ready to challenge conventional dietary "wisdom", what "big food" is selling as healthy, and accept that what you have traditionally eaten won't work anymore? Milk, it does a body good. Really? Does it? This is a slogan from an advertising campaign; it is not a fact. Milk causes mucus, calcium LOSS, an assault on the immune system and plain old ILLNESS. These and other truths will surprise you as you learn how ensconced the dairy industry, big food, and other farming industries (corn, wheat, soy) are in what you are told and what you then believe. Also, getting used to the fact that fat doesn't make you fat, but instead sugar and refined carbohydrates do, is a tough thing to get used to after decades of eating "low fat". You'll have to talk yourself through that fallacy and others over and over until they finally sink in.
  4. Will you accept that once you change and make healthy choices, the people around you won't be comfortable eating with you anymore? Like-minded people hang in packs. In a study spanning over 30 years researchers discovered that one's chance of becoming obese or overweight increased exponentially when overweight/obese people were in one's social circle. So the next time your pals want to go schlopp down the next saturated fat/salt/sugar fest at some fast food restaurant, you are going to rock the boat when you decide you're not eating that garbage anymore. One of two things might happen: 1)[la-la land] your friends will thank you for introducing them to a new way of eating, or 2) [more likely] they'll get tired of listening to you and your healthy ways (and the way you make them feel guilty for abusing their own bodies), and you might have to find a new pack of like-minded folks to go to lunch with. 
  5. Are you willing to suffer withdrawal? Yes, food is addictive- both physically and emotionally. Ask anyone who has decided to give up sugar what happens when they's not pretty. It hurts. Your head will throb and you'll suspect your enemies of buying a voodoo doll of you and stabbing your eye sockets repeatedly with pins. I promise that it's worth it, and it only lasts a few days, but I can't lie to you and tell you that it won't be uncomfortable.
  6. Can you envision creating new social experiences? So much of what we do is centred around food. We feast together for any number of reasons. Can you accept that those may not be available to you anymore, and can you imagine getting out there and creating new ways of just being with people?
  7. Can you give up foods that make you feel poorly forever? When you immune system is taxed by foods that make you tired, bloated and constipated, it thrives when you cut those foods out. The most allergenic foods include dairy, wheat, corn and soy. Once you give those up, you can rarely "go back" as the reactions that kept you feeling crappy most of the time will now make you feel terrible. 
  8. Are you ready to get creative with your budget? Non-conventional meats are more expensive (think happy animals not pumped full of antibiotics with room to move around) as are organic fruit and vegetables. These changes will yield incredible results, but certainly a meal will start being more expensive. The cost is not unmanageable for most, as boxed and packaged foods are eating up more of your grocery budget than you could imagine (as are crappy restaurant meals) but you'll have to do some meal planning to manage the costs.
  9. Can you make time for preparation? If you prepare foods in advance (like chopping a whole bunch of veggies in anticipation of a week's worth of lunches and snacks) you can ensure you have healthy choices on hand for when you get hungry and you're not reaching for the phone to call for a pizza.
  10. Ready to read labels? You're going to have to look at packaged foods and figure out what is and is not a healthy choice for you and your family. Things like "enriched wheat flour", sugar (think any ingredient that ends in "ose"- fructose, glucose, lactose, etc), hydrogenated oils, soy derivatives and other non-foods can sneak into everything you've eaten for years. You'll have to begin asking yourself if the foods you reach for are indeed helpful and healthy. Chances are that if it comes from a box, bag, can or package, you'll find all kinds of health saboteurs ready to spoil all your hard work. Be vigilant!
I wish you all the best in 2011, and I'll be kicking around to keep on tackling the hard food questions and providing recipes along with many other bloggers out there whose recipes I use to create yummy, healthy, satisfying meals for our family. It might seem like a lot to take in all at once, but start off by adding healthy options rather than eliminating poor ones off the hop- it may help soften the blow. Plus eventually those healthy choices grow, and you'll crowd out all the poor choices you once made. Then, my friends, you will reap the benefits on the road to a stronger, livelier and leaner you.

Who's ready? I say!!!!



Anonymous said...

"Recognizing the implausibility of the social networking theory of obesity — as well as social networking increasingly being used to explain other implausibly related physical traits and conditions — Jason M. Fletcher, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut, along with Boston economist, Ethan Cohen-Cole, Ph.D., designed an ingenious study. They selected conditions that no one would seriously believe were spread by social networking and online friendships: height, headaches and acne. They then applied the same standard statistical methods used in Christakis and Fowler’s social networking research to “find” that acne, height and headaches have the same “social network effect.”

Kirsten said...

Hello, Yes certainly there is a counter study to cancel every one out there. Regardless of whether you
believe that a certain trait can spread or not, I think my earlier statement that like-minded people hang in packs is fairly intuitive. People have a fundamental need to feel validated and accepted, so they look for people who share those choices. Regardless of whether the social networking theory is true, if you are someone who tends to eat big macs daily, or conversely, if you eat a high raw diet, you likely have created a social circle of folks who share those tendencies. If you change how you eat, you may see that circle of people shift, and it can be uncomfortable.

Alicia said...

I really love this post. I read it aloud to my Hubby the other night because he wants me to "fix him". I told him I can babysit him, but I can help...but he needs to be in the driver's seat. Thanks for helping me argue my position :)

Kirsten said...

Thanks so much for your comment and praise, Alicia. Glad to hear I could help...My hubby rides in the passenger seat also and happily downs the smoothies I pass him, but he is gradually learning too. I think men are just less driven to know about nutrition (typically- not always) than women. Baby steps though. :) When I met my hubby he ate one meal a day at McUpChucks. Much better now. Night and day, really. :)

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