By LMQC Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell, St. Ambrose communications professor, RAGBRAI-er, pizza lover and longtime weight watcher.
New Year’s resolutions crop up like weeds … and wilt almost as fast. But the Professor has found a couple of fellow QC Big Losers who are determined to keep their 2017 promises to lose weight and keep it off. Tune in next month for another update!
This is a tough time of year for dieters.
Many start on January 1st with great gusto. This year will be THE year. For a couple of weeks, that attitude works. The first 2 or 3 pounds come off pretty easily as portions stay controlled and healthy foods stay high on the grocery list.
By late January, you’ll take half a pound loss because, hey: you’re feeling better.
But February hits, and with it, REALITY. Your weight has plateaued. And if you’ve splurged at all, it might have even crept up a bit.
To make a lifestyle change as an adult takes extra brainpower, determination and will. At the start, we’ve got initial determination to change the person we’ve become. But we are battling a lifetime of eating and exercise habits built up by not using these skills.
For me, Super Bowl Sunday has always been a major danger.
My theory is that the snack food industry mounts a great campaign before and during the game to get us off that healthy life style change we’ve made.
As my theory goes (and there is no research behind this…just my crack pot mind), the industry is annually threatened by our New Year’s switch to eating fresh fruits and vegetables. They want us mindlessly sticking our hands into a sack of chips as we watch the game (and always).
So they see the Super Bowl as a way to throw us off our healthy game.
Weeks leading up to the game, clever recipes – using an assortment of processed food short cuts – begin appearing in magazines and Sunday newspaper supplements. Cakes that look like football fields, and dip bowls that look like stadiums.
You go to a friend’s house and see nearly every chip imaginable (Bugles, anyone?).
Weigh yourself the next day and you think “All is lost!” and “What’s the use?” It’s enough to make you think, “Wait til next year.”
I did that for 40 years. And, as usual, I thought about doing it this year. (I mean, who could resist wings and homemade buffalo chicken dip?)
I was up a couple of pounds afterwards. But I refuse to go back.
So here’s my advice: Now is the time to redouble your efforts. Read a new diet and exercise book (I always start with an old favorite, Aerobics, by Kenneth Cooper) for inspiration. Choose a new fitness class at the Y. Find a new no-cal treat, like tea.
Do NOT get discouraged. Remember, it took 10-30 years to pack it on. It’s not going to be gone in 10-30 days!
It takes willpower to keep reading labels, make the right portion choices and pass on those cookies in the break room. No doubt, it’s work. It ain’t easy. But when you get in the right habit, finally, it’s so worth it.
St. Ambrose track coach Dan Tomlin has the right attitude, even though he didn’t lose any weight last week. A contestant in Josh Paul’s Biggest Loser Contest, Tomlin says the good news is that he didn’t gain anything. He’s sitting at 233, down a total of 15 pounds since January.
While he stalled this week, he’s determined to stay focused on his goals.
“This is where the rubber meets the road,” he says.
“I’m optimistic I will be able to keep up my lifestyle changes and continue to gradually lose weight and get down to around 200 lbs. I need to continue to try and fight off the temptation to eat unhealthy and not overeat when we go out.”
That’s the attitude. So let me tell you, YOU can do it too!