Most people will resolve to lose weight or the usual few things people resolve to do at this time of the year.
Most will fail at sticking to their new year resolutions.
For many, the desire to shed some weight usually begins prior to Christmas and the inner voice or self-talk is “I’ll binge at Christmas, after all it is Christmas, right? I can always lose weight after Christmas.”
Once the binging starts, the stomach wants more and all resolve vanishes into the new year. This time the self-talk will be something like “Well, it’s new year after all, how can I not party with my friends, it’s ok, I can always start from January 2nd.”
Come January 2nd, people forget to forgo sugar (self-talk: “Well, it’s a harmless habit and a little sugar won’t kill me”), then lapse back into their old ways (which is to eat a lot – human beings are habitual creatures and once you eat a certain amount, your body demands no less.)
The self-talk at this stage usually goes something like “What the heck, life is short, why deprive myself, there’s Chinese New Year coming up, I’ll diet after that. Simply can’t miss that sumptuous re-union dinner and all those once-a-year Chinese New Year snacks. Oh, I want my bak kwa and pineapple tarts!”
So Chinese New Year comes and goes, and no weight loss in sight.
For those who haven’t yet given up, they would now vow to start serious dieting after the Dragon Boat Festival. Self-talk: “Those dumplings are to die for, I can always diet after this.”
The dumplings stay on the hips further dissolving whatever resolve there is left but those few who are still grudgingly motivated, the self-talk at this point in time is “Why so serious? My neighbor is a vegetarian who jogs twice a day and he just dropped dead from a heart-attack, any way it’s already June, half a year gone, maybe I should just forget this whole idea about dieting, but, wait, there’s still time plenty of time to crash-diet and catch up if I really want to. Just watch me!”
However all is not what it seems because the Mooncake Festival comes next and this time the self-talk is “Gotta to have those snowskin mooncakes from the hotels, plus those traditional ones with four egg yolks. And oh, those durians ones I must have too. I can always diet after this, can’t I?”
Diet after this?
No way, because the next big event is Christmas and all those year-end gatherings centering around food.
So it goes, Christmas, Chinese New Year, Dragon Boat Festival, Mooncake Festival and if you live in Singapore, there’s also Hari Raya and Deepavali – each occasion accompanied by merrymaking and abundant amount of mouth-watering food.
And one year’s over.
Weight loss minimal.
So is there any hope of new year resolutions bearing fruit? Some people are perpetually dieting but without any visible success. Going on and off diets is one of the worst things you can do to your body, actually.
Well, may I suggest that you start with modest, do-able goals – make sure they are measurable, and make them short-term. Don’t aim to conquer the world. Don’t be ambiguous – just saying “I plan to lose weight” is meaningless.
Try something like “I will cut out sugar from my diet from January 1st, and reduce my daily carbo intake, but I will spoil myself with a low fat, sugar-substituted yoghurt treat every four weeks. I will do this from January to March and review once March is over. I will also jog or visit the gym every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.” Declare this in front of supportive friends – you will feel an “obligation” to follow through. Avoid those idiots who say evil things like “Why diet? You’re gonna die one day anyway, might as well die with a smile on your face and a burger in your hand.”
Yup, bite size, measureable goals with little pats on the back built in, that’s the trick. And supportive friends. Even better if these same friends are also making similar realizable plans to lose some weight themselves.
And of course, determination is key, if you should ever lapse or fail, do not beat yourself up and then abandon the diet altogether – start over, with even greater resolve.
Chances are once you review in March and notice the results, you will be motivated to maintain your new svelte figure and spur yourself on to even more weight loss.
And that, is how you should do new year resolutions.
And may a guilt-free, healthy 2016 be yours.
As well as a new wardrobe.