I’m not sure I believe in waiting for January 1st to set new goals and make new resolutions. When it comes to making goals and changing lifestyle habits, it’s important to aim for daily re-assessment of what we want to change. (Or at least, the attempt should occur on a daily basis). Personally, I’m not always successful at this, but at least it keeps my awareness of what I want to accomplish front and center. Recently, as I came off a long journey of training and competition, my desire to exercise waned as did my vigilance of food. Weight has quickly come back on, and I feel sluggish without the regularity of exercise.

Now, I guess I could put off changing some of my negative habits for another week, or another month, but deep down I know I’m putting off something that I need to change anyway. Or, simply put, the longer I wait the harder it is.

Weight gain is a slippery slope. We feel worse physically and mentally, and then find ourselves eating more, simply because of the way we feel. The easiest way to rein things in is to look at one trend in eating habits that you might change. Don’t overwhelm yourself with ‘trying to eat perfectly.’ Pick one thing to focus on at a time. The difficulty in this is that we develop habits because they feel comfortable. Personally, my negative but comfortable habit is excessive night-time snacking. To try and change that around, I tried to reflect on the negative impact of even a few pounds of extra fat around my abdomen. Its main impact (beyond the tight pants) is my knees. They become more painful, and made worse if I am running. I also know, after years of gain and loss, that the more weight that comes on, the harder it is to get rid of; so, it’s important for me to turn around the negative eating habits as quickly as I can. The good thing is that I’m aware that once I’ve changed my snacking for a few days, it’s much easier to control. It’s those first few days that are the most difficult.

Then there is the exercise. I’ll digress here as many people tell me they “hate” exercising or that it’s “boring.” The reality is, exercise is an absolute necessity to maintain weight loss and continue a healthy lifestyle. Most of us don’t head to the gym or the basement or outside “looking forward” to exercising. We do it because we know we will feel better and have more energy afterwards. So here again, I can’t listen to my own internal excuses of ‘time,’ ‘fatigue,’ ‘other priorities,’ ‘lousy weather,’ and on and on it goes. I just have to DO IT, knowing that the after-effects are well worth the temporary struggle to start.

What I’m trying to emphasize is that we must all be vigilant at all times. Yes, we get off track; that’s expected. The point is to avoid getting off track for too long. Don’t wait for January 1st. See if you can make some small changes before that time. Or, aim to NOT gain over the holiday season. There will be plenty of food, lots of readily available, unnecessary calories in the form of cookies and desserts, but we DO have the ability to limit amounts.

Do your best, but don’t put off eating or exercise changes for too long, because the longer the bad habits persist, the harder they are to reverse.

Don’t be harsh on yourself. Try; just try, and don’t ever give up trying.

Dr. Doug