Skinny Daily Post

Invincible.

Okay, here we are, a couple of months into the new year. The resolutions have petered out, the gyms are clearing, the fitness-commitment honeymoon is over. And research bears it out, two months is about as long as most resolutions and new diets last.

We can’t be blamed. We have completely erased our old way of eating and exercising and replaced all our old comforts with new habits that don’t quite fit. We hate the food, hate the exercise, hate the expense, the time. The diet book is dog-eared, memorized, Xeroxed. We know the rules, signed on to support websites to learn more, cooked the recipes. And we’ve had just about as much vanilla-flavored ricotta cheese as we can hold. (We are so over vanilla-flavored ricotta cheese.) We’ve lost a little weight, but not enough, not what we hoped for, not like that first week. Forget this. We are bound for buttered bagels.

Okay but pause. Breathe. Remember back in that diet book where it talks about plateaus, where it mentions that the first weeks of the diet will be followed by a period of slower losses? Remember everything you’ve ever read that says a healthy rate of weight loss is 1 to 2 pounds per week at the maximum? Yeah, I know, you’re capable of more, but aiming for more is exactly why most people can only diet for about two months. They take off about 8 pounds, exhaust themselves in the process, and slide back into their old habits.

But remember when you began? Wasn’t that exciting? You had your reasons. Now you need to reconnect, find a good reason to stay in the game. It would be a shame to quit now, because the hardest part is behind you. You’ve already learned a new way to eat and to move. You’ve already reordered your life around this effort. You’ve already invested all that energy and time into difficult foundation building. The rest of the work — sticking to your new program to build your health slowly over time — takes mere persistence. It doesn’t take courage, a leap of faith, hope, time, or money. It just takes persistence, clear goals, priorities.

If you’re thinking of giving up on your new exercise and eating program, stop and think — what goals did you have for starting the program to begin with? Was it better health, a trimmer body, to run faster, jump higher, endure more, sleep more soundly? Did you want to be able to keep up with your kids? To fit in the bathtub? To climb a flight of stairs without wearing out? Write all of your reasons down.

Now think about the importance of each of these goals in your life. For each goal, rate the importance from 10, a very high priority, to 1, a nice-but not life-altering goal. For me, avoiding diabetes gets a 10. Sleeping well every night gets an 8. Having enough energy for everything I do is an 8. Getting back into a smaller pair of jeans is a 4 (Should be a 2, but I’m vain). Now think about the other goals and priorities you have in your life right now. Your family. Your community. Your work. How do these health goals stack up against the rest of your life’s goals? How important are they compared with, say, getting a promotion at work, or teaching your kid to read?

See where I’m going here? I’m asking that you don’t quit because you are bored, but that you make a more informed decision. If your goals for exercise and weight loss are outranked by other goals and priorities in your life right now, then by all means quit, or better yet, scale back on the diet, but keep the exercise going. But if you need the exercise and weight loss to meet those other goals, as I do, then giving up is not the answer. Recognizing the priority your good health plays in your life right now may be the boost you need. Think about it. I will if you will.

12 thoughts on “‘Tis the Season to Recommit

  1. Laurie says:

    #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5 are to stop feeling guilty, stop feeling like a failure, stop feeling defective, stop feeling unworthy, stop feeling bad about myself! Everything else is fringe benefits.

  2. Ruth Otten says:

    Hi Julie, I just found out today you are the daughter of the Garlinghouses. I am an employee of Freedom Village and took your mom to GR today for her treatment. I value your parents friendship, and am looking forward to taking your mom each Wed. for the month. Thanks for the encouraging articles. Our family struggles with weight issues too. Ruth Otten

  3. Janie says:

    WOW! Thanks Juju, that was very inspiring. I will NEVER give up and I also need that exercise in my life to lose or maintain my weight. I got up early this morning and walked 1 mile and will do another mile after work. I will sit down later today and write my list of reasons to lose this weight in order of importance. Great article!

  4. Rhonda says:

    Ah thank you juju…this is just what I need, just when I needed it. This one’s getting printed out and copies will be posted everywhere, just to remind me.

    Thanks.

  5. Liz says:

    Hi JuJu, this is so timely. Thank you! As a newbie to the weight loss thing, I’m now getting the picture that these goals will change over time. While my intial goal was to fit into a smaller size, that isn’t enough to keep me going anymore. Time to reflect on the significance these new habits have in my life.

  6. wondergirl says:

    This came at exactly the right moment today. I am so there – 2 months in, getting bored, getting wobbly, forgetting why this is important, not making the connection between short-term choices and long-term results. Thanks for the reminder.

  7. jonquil says:

    O.K., I’ll play. #1: Exercise to minimize hot flashes. #2: Exercise to minimize joint stiffness and muscle soreness. #3: Exercise to promote sleep (see hot flashes.) #4: Exercise to maintain muscle and bone strength. #5: Exercise to help fight, let us say, the gravitational effects of aging. #6: And, yes, I’m exercising to help maintain a 60 pound weight loss.

    Never surrender.

  8. Kris says:

    Thank you as always for inspiring me and so many others to keep going!

  9. Mary says:

    You rock Juju!! Thanks for the inspiration and reminder!

  10. Melinda says:

    This was JUST what I needed today. I started the diet thing back in October and did really well…until February. I’ve fallen so hard off the proverbial wagon my butt still hurts! I decided earlier this week that this Saturday I need to make my WW meeting my new “first meeting” and get back in gear. This just inspired me to keep that promise to myself. Thanks JuJu!!

  11. Janie says:

    I’m writing again to say thank you for this article. I printed it out and highlighted the most important messages for me. I wrote to a group of WW on-line buddies and shared this info with them too. We are all getting tired of the journey and keep messing up. As you said, “The hardest part is behind you.” We all know exactly what to do. Persistence is key, along with our own clear individual goals and priorities. Please keep sharing Juju. You are an inspiration to all of us!

  12. rlm says:

    Reasons for exercising 4-5 times per week:
    #1 To be a fit and healthy person, no matter what my size.
    #2 To reduce stress and improve mental health.
    #3 To prevent weight gain.
    #4 To encourage weight loss.
    #5 To fit into cute clothes.

    Fitting in my exercise habit comes before reading for my classes. I will no longer use the amount of work I have as an excuse not to exercise. Exercise will help me manage the stress of school and work.

    Will it really matter once I get my degree that I skimmed rather than read my class assignments? Will it really matter whether I did all the readings or read what I found to be important and/or would be tested on? Nope. But it will matter that I can integrate physical activity into my daily routines.

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