Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Resolution Habit

Is it Christmas Eve already?? You know what that means. One week until the throngs of fat and not-so-fat people jump on the bandwagon, join gyms, buy diet cookies, start their Day 1, and work really hard at losing weight (for about a week). I love the feeling of renewal and the big leap in the general public's interest in fitness, but I wish it would last past January. It will for me... how about you?

Looking back I remember how weight loss has been a part of my New Years Resolution all the way back to 1987, when I wrote in my diary that I wanted to lose something like 10 pounds (which, at the time, seemed an impossibly huge number!) I was only 18 and I weighed all of 140-143 pounds at 5'7. I got together with my best friend (who weighed about 5 pounds more than I did) and we started restricting our eating and trying to be randomly more active, in a disjointed way that only 18-year-olds can master. In 1988, I had the same resolution on my list. I still weighed the same, as my "dieting" efforts had failed. I was pretty active, walking to classes on a college campus all day, walking to and from the grocery store, running around with my friends all weekend without a car. After I resolved to lose weight, I found myself going to the college campus track to walk/jog (I think I went 2 or 3 times), the college gym to bike (once or twice), and the weight machines (once or twice... I felt ridiculous, since I was clueless about how to use them!) Finally life got busy and I gave up on dieting again. And you know why? It DID NOT AFFECT ME to weigh 140ish pounds! I fit in stylish clothes, I looked GOOD, I was able to walk long distances and run if need be and the farthest thing from my mind was worry that I wouldn't fit in a restaurant booth or would break a lawn chair when I sat in it. I didn't realize it at the time, but weighing 140 was OKAY. I think it was a very good weight for me and all I really needed was some strength training to firm up a bit. But I didn't know that, so I kept making Diet Resolutions every year. Because everything around me "told" me I was Fat, and the models in the magazines did not have ANY fat around their knees, so surely since I had tangible softness on my thighs I Must Be Fat. Even if there was not a fat roll or a layer of fat on any part of my body. So I figured something was wrong with me.

In 1989, I was married. I was 20 years old that December and losing weight had been on my radar once again until a few days before New Years' Eve when I started vomiting violently, every 15-20 minutes, round the clock for 2 days and became so weak I was in Emergency Clinic getting anti-vomiting meds. Turns out I was pregnant! Weight loss went on the back burner until nine months and 25 pounds later when my son was born. And don't you know that without ANY effort on my part, my body returned to 140 pounds within a matter of weeks! Do you think maybe my body knew what it was doing, keeping me at 140 pounds from the time I was 16, EVEN after having a baby? And yet, I argued with my body. No, I am Fat. I have soft thighs. They MUST go!

I never got a chance to diet in 1990 because within a couple months of my son being born, I was pregnant AGAIN (planned), so on New Years' Eve 1990, I was happily pregnant and planning to lose weight AFTER the baby was born. He was due on my son's first birthday and we couldn't be happier. When this much loved and wanted baby was lost four months along, that is when the weight problems came crashing down (up). I had gained weight already during the pregnancy, and after the baby was gone from my body, it seemed my mind and body both rebelled and continued to gain weight as if I were still pregnant. Depression, anger, being told I'd probably not have more children because of medical issues caused by the loss and surgery, all these combined and I began to turn to food, became a recluse emotionally and didn't even notice that I weighed 168 pounds until I finally became pregnant again, lost a twin, and had my second child in 1992. I'd gained about 20 pounds again during the pregnancy but after I gave birth my body automatically reverted to its new "normal": 168. This is when I started actively dieting with programs, classes, exercise, etc. And every year since then, I resolved to lose weight:

New Years Resolutions:
January 1, 1993: Weighed around 170, resolved to Lose Weight. Instead, had a baby again this year!
January 1, 1994: Weighed around 180, resolved to lose weight! Instead, I gained and got up to 199 before freaking out and starting a healthy eating and walking program. It worked! I lost 34 pounds.
January 1, 1995: Weighed around 165, resolved to lose weight! Instead, got pregnant and ended the year 9 months pregnant and 201 pounds.
January 1, 1996: Oh yes, I will lose weight this year! Joined a gym, started eating healthy and walking 4 miles a day, and got down to 174 pounds.
January 1, 1997: Oops, I gained weight: 187 pounds. I will surely lose weight this year! I did lose weight, but then started gaining again...
January 1, 1998: 227 pounds?? What happened?? A divorce? Oh. Well, I better drop some weight, right? Resolved to Lose Weight This Year!
January 1, 1999: 245 pounds? This is not going as I had planned...
January 1, 2000: 262 pounds!! Okay, I am serious, I WILL lose weight this year!!

And on it went, with my reaching 270 pounds, dieting down to 237 pounds, back up to 278 in 2005... down to 257 and up to 280 in 2007.

You can see how New Years' Resolutions have helped me.

Now, I just focus on some other "project" I want to accomplish during the coming year and try to make a plan for THAT to succeed. Because this losing weight thing, for me, no longer has a start point or an end point. Eating healthy and exercising just IS. It's an effort I make daily because it is part of who I am. It is an integral part of my life, not an on-again, off-again thing. I have good days and bad days. But I have FAR more good, healthy, on-plan days than bad anymore.

Well, if you need a start point, New Years' Day is as good as any. But make it your LAST start point. Not a yearly tradition.

Merry Christmas, and may the coming year be blessed for you and yours.


Tamzin said...

Happy Holidays to you and your family Lynn.

I don't post very often, so I wanted to say Thank You for your gift for writing and your strength to keep blogging. I am here reading and visiting every day.

JewliaGoulia said...

Ha! You're resolution list looks a lot like mine (except for the baby parts.)

I am so glad I decided to start changing before New Years this way but for others that day, January 1, is very important/symbolic.

Best of luck to you (and everyone) on their journey's this and next year!

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

Shelley said...

Merry Christmas, Lyn - hope 2010 is good to you!

Clementine said...

I've long felt that weight loss should just be a side effect of living better.

Hope it's a happy year for you. I'm a new reader, but I love what I see.

The Shrinking Violet said...

Thank goodness you've given up resolutions just for January!
I'm in the gym on 26th December, so the gym staff don't mistake me for a new years resolution junkie.

kelly said...

Wow - that's pretty much my story as well. Up, down, up, down. Unfortunately, I've not gotten to the point you are quite yet. You are so inspiring! Merry Christmas.

Tricia said...

Merry Christmas!

Tony the Pink Panda said...

I have always hated new years resolutions; they are just an excuse for people to keep putting off their goals until the "new years".

Happy Holidays!

Friend of the Bear said...

Merry Christmas to you Lyn and all your family. Have tons of fun!

Bearfriend xx

Winivere said...

Merry Christmas! I am so happy to see 2009 go. Here's to a much better year in 2010!

riverview said...

Thank you for this post. Reading your thoughtful musings has helped me so much in the 6 months since I discovered this blog.

KatDoesDiets said...

Great post. I've never really been into Jan 1 resolutions, but I've had my share of gung ho starts at weight loss followed by them frittering out to nothing. It has to be a constant commitment, not a woo hoo January 1 thing. The weight loss industry enjoys the January 1 hype though ;)

Pubsgal said...

"Because this losing weight thing, for me, no longer has a start point or an end point. Eating healthy and exercising just IS." <-exactly! That quote really spoke to me.

When I started making new year's goals about fun things I wanted to do in the new year, they became much enjoyable--and doable.

Glad you enjoyed a merry Christmas with your family, Lynn, and I wish for you a smoother path to all of your goals in the new year!

Steelers6 said...

My journey is similar as far as the ups and downs (mostly ups) and one day almost 2 years ago now, something just clicked. Mine is a slow journey, but so in the right direction now, and that is what matters. And it is not and was not a NY Resolution, it is a life resolution...just as you say. I do have a start point, but it just 'is' is life...and it is not just a bandwagon or in thing to do, as a NY Resolution may be viewed. NYR's may be too easy to drop, as in kind of expected not to last, ppl know that when they start an NYR, it's a given...Not us, Lyn! We're in this for the long haul!

Let me thank you once again for being a very important part of MY journey. May sound sappy, but I do mean it; your posts are very important to me.

We can do this dahling!!
All the best to you~ChrissyS