Thursday, December 15, 2011

Waiting until the New Year

Someone wrote me an e-mail recently that inspired me to write this post. She mentioned she was having a hard time getting on track, and that she might as well wait until Jan.1st to start losing weight.

Whenever I hear people say something like this ("I'm going to start on Monday" or "I'm going to start Jan. 1st" etc), I cringe inside. I never offer my advice unless someone specifically asks me, because I hate it when people give me unwanted advice. But here is what I would say to that person...

I always preach about ONLY making changes that you're willing to do for the rest of your life. A lot of people hear that, and think it makes sense, but they don't really let it sink in.

The only reason that someone should dread making changes to his or her lifestyle is if the changes are TOO difficult and miserable to do.

There is no reason to dread starting your dietary changes RIGHT NOW. If you're going to make changes that you're willing to do forever, there is no reason whatsoever to wait until Jan.1st.

There is also a big difference between the phrases "can do" and "willing to do".  Anybody CAN make changes; but not everybody is WILLING TO make those changes. When deciding what changes you want to make to your lifestyle, you have to ask yourself (and really think about it before you give an answer), "What am I WILLING to do or change?"

I would suggest making a list like the example I made below. On the left column, write down things you are not willing to change forever; and on the right, write down some changes that are only a small sacrifice and you honestly don't mind doing them (something you're not going to dread!)


Remember, these are just examples. Only you know your personal battles and changes you should make--so try coming up with your own list and then start RIGHT NOW. It's not like you're heading to be slaughtered; they are just a few small changes that you're willing to do right now.

For a moment yesterday, I actually thought to myself, "I'm only 1.5 pounds from my goal weight right now. If I cut back on calories this week, I'll for sure reach goal at my next weigh in!"  But that is the exact mindset that I try to discourage from others. I'm not willing to eat less than I am right now FOREVER, so I decided that I'm not going to change a thing--I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing recently, and if it takes me 2 or 3 more weeks to reach goal, so be it. At least when I get there, I'll know that I'm already doing what I need to be doing in order to maintain.

Even if you're only willing to make one change right now, that's better than nothing. I didn't make all kinds of changes at once when I started losing weight. I wasn't even willing to exercise at first. But eventually, as you get used to your new habits, you just might be inspired to make more changes--because you want to, not because you have to.

I understand the "waiting until Jan.1st" mindset, I really do--I've said that phrase God-only-knows-how-many times in my life. But now that I've actually lost the weight and lived this lifestyle for 2 1/2 years, I know much more than I did before. And "starting Jan. 1st" is almost guaranteed to fail. There is a reason people make that New Year's Resolution EVERY YEAR--it's because the last year's resolution failed.



Remember, anybody CAN make changes; but what changes are you WILLING TO make forever? :)

33 comments:

  1. Hi Katie. Love this post. Seize the day indeed!!!!!

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  2. I just found your site yesterday completely by accident. I was researching something I had heard on the biggest loser and stumbled upon you! I spent far longer than I should have yesterday reading through your posts. Such great information contained within! Thank you for taking the time share your experiences. you do a fabulous job!

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  3. Awesome post. I try to avoid the "Jan 1" mentality, but sometimes it creeps in anyway. :)

    Totally unrelated, but I was wondering the other day if Jerry ever goes running with you? Just curious...

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  4. @Aimee
    Aimee,
    He's gone with me ONCE. But Jerry doesn't run. He has attempted to start a running program a couple of times, but he really doesn't have the desire to stick with it. :)

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  6. Love this post. Thank you for reminding us that tomorrow will never come, it is all about TODAY!

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  7. What you say here, Katie, I need to hear and be reminded of. When you write your book, this is one of the things that needs to go in it!
    THANK YOU!!!

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  8. OK girl...you will motivate me to write up some small goals "I am Willing to do" in the short term and I will work up to bigger goals "I am willing to do forever!!"

    good post!

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  9. You seriously continue to inspire me all the time!! This is exactly what I need to hear (read). I've been having a case of the "I'll start Monday's" and I think you really just put that in to perspective for me... for the first time... ever. Of course, I had to read it a couple of times to let it sink in. I thank you so much for continuing to keep it real and not blow smoke up our rumps!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

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  10. I have to admit,I'm one of those people who ADORES New Years Resolutions, only I call them goals. If I make them only for a year, then I don't get tired of them, and I'm usually pretty good at completing them. For me, the joy is in making the goals and lists. I"m such a geek.

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  11. I found your blog a couple of weeks ago and I am loving it! You have such wonderful information and not at all "oh I did it so you SHOULD too". I love that the whole vibe is "I did it and you CAN too". It is wonderful to read. This post just hit home real hard. I keep looking at Monday with huge goals that I know I will only keep for one day. The list idea is brilliant. It really is making me think more realistically and that's really the only way I will keep it up. Thanks for being so honest and so helpful to those of us just starting out!

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  12. Awesome post! This mentality is so much more productive than the the "all or nothing" I usually do.

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  13. Thanks Katie, this is just what I needed to hear. I've been dieting since June and have had an "off" couple of weeks where I really haven't been doing it and last week I put on 4lbs. In my head I've had "I'll start back again properly in January" but I know that if I don't even try to be good and rein things in between now and then I'll be 10lbs or even more up come 1st Jan. Thanks for the kick up the butt ;)

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  14. I have SO been trying to live by this...and somewhere along the way I lost sight of this advice. I know this because I started feeling deprived and started binge eating. I have kind of been on this merry-go-round and haven't been able to stop. Thank you so much for this post. I am going to focus on ONE thing tomorrow (yes tomorrow and only postponing because I'm done eating for the day!). Reading your blog is like the internet dessert of the day. When I am online at night, I feel like it is a big treat when I see your site on my favorites bar and haven't clicked yet! Thanks for blogging and thanks for the reminders!!!

    starbellied (spark)

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  15. Excellent post and good points! I almost feel like starting Jan 1st is like setting yourself up for disappointment. Even if you're not willing to give up Christmas cookies or rich foods for the holidays doesn't mean you can't up your water intake, increase your fiber, add more fruits and veggies during meals and even start walking after meals. Little changes mean a lot until you're ready to make the big changes.

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  16. I have been doing WW for about three weeks and I started on a Saturday. That night we were at my brother's house for a birthday and I declined the cake and said I had just started WW. My sister in law said, "You're starting on a SATURDAY? Why don't you wait for Monday?" It was really funny.

    I agree Katie. There is no time like the present.

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  17. Excellent post. Katie, and so true!

    Dede

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  18. Oh okay, I see. My issue is I looove margaritas and those DO have a lot of calories in it. I might have to start trying out different wines, the only kind I like now is the Barefoot Moscato.

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  19. I think those examples will help a lot of people stuck in the "all or nothing" mindset.

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  20. @Anonymous
    I love margaritas too! Have you tried the margarita flavored powdered drink mix--I bought mine from Target, but Wal-Mart has a brand too (found with the Crystal Light). It comes in single serve packets that you pour into water. I took some in my purse when going out, and I ordered tequila and water, then just poured the mix into that. Not a perfect margarita, but pretty close and the only calories come from the tequila :)

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  21. I needed this reminder more than I'd like to admit... Thanks for the wonderful post!

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  22. ahhh Girl, you always manage to come up with the right thing at the right time. So very interesting because the last month, my goals and my mind set/perspective, were heading in one direction: I'm tired of feeling bad about myself every day and waking up every morning and regreting what I did the day before, or thinking I could have done better and beating myself up about it..so my change is changing that, by doing the best I can every day, and if its a day that I want to do something that is not so great, thats my 20% day, and I'll do better (80%) the next day..with food and exercise..basically because I get in THAT mode..oh well, I'll start again Monday..or on that next important date. I've decided no more of that, cause guess what, I may have lost 40lbs, gained 10 back, lost 10, gained 10 back and am now trying to lose that 10, plus 40 more..but i'm in the exact same place I was 4 YEARS ago..so what good has this done me?? NOTHING!!! So instead, if I can just try my best every day (80%), and if there's a day or 2 I don't do great (20%), I just try again the next day...no more putting it off and starting fresh next whatever, and gaining more in the meantime.. This is the attitude I need to at the very least enjoy life as I'm trying to be healthy. Not beating myself up every day for not doing well, and hurting myself more. I'm starting small this time..trying for the 80/20% each and every day. Starting with 2 morning workouts, then incorporating a 3rd..and just trying to make those little changes..thanks as always for your timely lessons..

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  23. Great blog--LOVE your thinking. And your list is so fitting to my lifestyle. Like you, I started my "get healthy" journey slowly, 2 years ago. I just decided to cut out snacking and eat ONE helping only of whatever NORMAL food I continued to make for meals. I didn't exercise (I could barely move my fat body to cook, I sure wasn't going to do anything more strenuous), but once I started walking a few months into my journey, and increasing the distance I would go each day, it made me feel so good and positive about myself, I have never looked back. I LOVE to go out to eat, but have learned to find something healthy to order MOST of the time, and always try to forego the unlimited amounts of chips & salsa or bread they offer, and of course NO dessert!
    Once again Katie--you have hit the nail on the head--make only the changes you can live with--otherwise you're destined to fail.

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  24. Thank you so much for this post and for your inspiration. I have always said "I will not eat sweets, not drink soda and exercise daily". And, I always failed. Thank you for enlightening me to the fact that "I am willing to eat less, drink less soda, and at least exercise a few days a week". That will definitely be a better start for me ... not a fail from the beginning. Thank you!

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  25. Love this post -- perfect message! I also thought the cartoon is hilarious.

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  26. Perfect, perfect, perfect. Thank you.

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  27. That table is very applicable to me which is handy and also very weird! Glad I've come across your site, I love your message and how you talk about determination rather than motivation. I always lose motivation after a few weeks and never even thought that I was lacking determination! Thanks for putting your message and story out there and well done! :)

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  28. Thank you for putting this out there! i just a few days ago read your article in womens world. its so simple sooo amazingly brilliant! I started that night and am already down 2.2 pounds. i did lo carb(AWFUL SUCK FEST)low fat, low amounts of food! this time im taking my time and going to enjoy the process of gettiing there and learning how to change forever.THANK-YOU for sharing your story!

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  29. Hi Katie, first, love your blog! I love how honest you are in this space. I wanted to say that this is an awesome post! I have said this a million times as well, and you've definitely hit the nail on the head as to why we do it. The problem is, I really don't want to count calories to lose weight because I don't want to do it forever--until an illness in college I was able to maintain perfectly at now what I would consider a perfect weight, effortlessly, so I know I could do it again. I'll have to figure out some kind of compromise, I suppose. Anyway, thanks for the post, definitely gave me something to think about!

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I'd love to hear from you! I read all of my comments, and if you have a question, I do my best to respond; sometimes, however, I get busy and forget to go back to reply, so if it's important, just email me! :)