There you are, blobbed out after your Christmas dinner and stuffed with that unbelievably rich pud we thankfully only get to eat once a year, your mind full of good intentions for the year ahead … and what did you get for Christmas?
In addition to the compulsory socks and smelly stuff, you have various garments that don’t quite fit, an assortment of ingenious little devices that somebody thought you just could not do without and then you have that other category. You know, the stuff that’s really not going to hep you with those resolutions that are already kicking about in your mind. All those boxes of fat-laden choccies you have stacked under the Christmas tree and waiting to be eaten and all of those bottles of calorie-charged drinkies waiting to be consumed, for example.
So what are you going to do? One possible course of action is to throw caution to the wind and eat all of the junk and consume at least some of that liquid. Then, when you have cleared the way, you can get on with your new regime intended to shift the excess weight you were already carrying even before you got all that extra yummy-looking stuff to eat and drink. With a bit of effort, you can get your weight back down to where you were before the festivities began in just a week or so.
And then what? Perhaps it will be a few more weeks or even months (if you are particularly dedicated) before your good intentions begin to evaporate and one by one, all of those resolutions go out of the window. Who knows perhaps you will have lost enough to get into some of those badly fitting garments you got for Christmas – the ones that were too small, that is. Of course, the ones that were too big are now even bigger and you are already beginning to think about taking them down to the charity shop. Naturally, you have to do this without the knowledge of those people who didn’t know your size and bought you the stuff.
That should get you through to about March and then it will be Easter and time to get some of those delicious chocolate eggs down your neck. Naturally, you intend not to overdo it, but hey, it’s Easter; you can afford to take on a few calories. Meanwhile, your eating pattern has returned to pre-Christmas normality and your body is working on restoring your weight to the set-point it currently favours. In another month you are the exact same weight you were just before Christmas and then the summer holidays are looming and you want to look good on the beach – right?
It’s time to get serious about shedding that weight. So you embark on another diet and stick with it for a month or so and hey … you look good (well, a bit better anyway) on the beach. But it’s holiday time, so you party a little and drink some of that calorie-packed drinkie stuff and you eat some of that delicious party food and after the summer, your body is thankful that it managed to get the weight back on without too much difficulty.
Autumn (fall) is fast approaching by now and you are not too concerned about your weight as you cover up in all that heavy loose clothing and enjoy those long, dark evenings in front of the telly. But the Christmas party is coming up soon and you will need to get back into that suit (or dress). Actually, if you are a male, this is probably more of a concern; if you are female, you will buy a new dress of course. But still, you don’t want to buy a bigger size and you want to look great at the Christmas party. So you have another go and you get a few pounds off.
Christmas arrives and you have a great time with your friends and family eating and drinking all of that stuff and, after the Christmas dinner, you blob out in front of the TV and whilst watching Miracle on 34th Street, you begin thinking about your new year’s resolutions. This year it is going to be different. This year you are going to get fit, lose that excess weight and live a healthier lifestyle.
If the foregoing describes the way you live your life, it is certainly about time you asked yourself what it is going to take to break that cycle don’t you think? The only real answer is a permanent change of lifestyle. Remember that diets don’t work – actually, you already know this and your body shape is the evidence if you have yet to come to this realisation.
So, my advice is: don’t make new year’s resolutions, don’t go on a diet and don’t try to make sweeping changes to your life. Instead, work with little changes that you are prepared to accept will be permanent. Yes, work on your diet and also work on your overall lifestyle, particularly thinking about exercise. But don’t make any changes you are not prepared to make permanently. If you can do this, you will be well on your way to breaking out of that cycle.
Don’t give up anything, as such. Instead displace bad eating and exercise habits by doing things that are good for you, for example:
- Eat 5 portions of fruit and veg per day
- Exercise 1 more time per week than you currently do
- Drink 6 glasses of water per day
Don’t rush anything. Remember that your goal is to break the constantly repeating cycle by making small permanent changes. Make your own list of things that you know are good choices for you (the above are just examples). Ensure that each change is something you can stick with permanently. Don’t work with giving things up; work with including things that you know will benefit your health.
In one year, a new trim version of you could be sitting there after your Christmas dinner, a picture of health. If you will simply act on this advice, the people around you will be commenting on how good you look and they will be asking you about your secret. You will be telling them that you finally realised that diets don’t work and that losing weight is really simple if you are prepared to make permanent changes.
So are you up for it? I hope so. Record your start weight, make your list and go slowly; just one change at a time. Introduce just one change and stick with it permanently. After a few weeks or even months if you prefer, but when you feel ready, make another permanent change. Slow and steady; eat well, eat healthy things and take gentle exercise. I think you might be surprised at how few permanent changes you will need to make.