Making changes – my non-resolutions for the start of the New Year

It I that time of year where many people make resolutions to change something in their life. And in a few weeks, those resolutions will probably be forgotten. That is precisely why I don’t like making New Year’s resolutions.

Image result for resolutionsAccording to a quick internet search, about 45% of Americans will make one (or more) resolutions this New Year. The top three resolutions are losing weight, start exercising and stopping smoking. Other popular resolutions include better money management and debt reduction.

My concern about not following through on a resolution is definitely supported by my online search.

Resolution length:

  • Past the first week: 75%
  • Past 2 weeks: 71%
  • Past one month: 64%
  • After 6 months: 46%

In 2013, I posted about New Year’s resolutions. I refused to call it a resolution, but I wanted to lose about 5 lbs or at the very least slow down the weight gain. And if you look back at my other posts, weight gain (and counting calories to lose weight) have been the topic of several posts. Just so you know, the counting calorie thing does work. I did lose 13 pounds in 12 weeks. But the holidays hit and bad habits crept back up.

As for that non-resolution from 2013, I can’t say whether I stuck with it our not. But one of my top non-resolutions for this year is…you guessed it. I would like to lose weight…oh and starting exercising would probably help me get in shape. But the memories of all those times where I start a program or plan and then get off of it as soon as I get busy or sick flash in my head.

So here are some things I would like to do in the upcoming year. And no, I will not call them resolutions as I don’t want them to fail.

Lose Weight

Image result for healthy choicesUgh. This again. Yes, even though I have successfully lost weight in the past, my problem is reverting to my bad habits as soon as I stop watching what I eat. So, I cannot go back to counting calories because as soon as I stop, any weight I loss will probably come back. This means I need to look at ways to change my behavior.

My worst habit is snacking/eating when I am not hungry so that is the behavior I am going to try and change. If I can make some low-calorie or healthier options at the same time that will be a bonus.

Exercising

I have never really enjoyed exercising. But I know I lead a pretty sedentary life. When Jase was in kindergarten, we walked to school every day – pretty much no matter whether it was cold or hot outside. I think we ended up only driving twice that year and it was due to rain. When I needed to go to the school, I walked. Fast forward to now and I find many reasons for us to drive rather than walk. And that lack of walking to the school consistently has taken a toll on my fitness.

It would be impractical of me to think that I am all of a sudden going to love exercising or find the time for a good long work out. Instead, I think I am going to aim for 10 to 15-minute blocks – at least once a day and to start walking to the kids’ schools more often.

Organizing

Image result for organizingFor two years in a row I participated in the 52-week challenge that helps you organize your house by doing one task/area each week. It really did help. But some of the areas need more work. I have already cleaned off ½ my desk and gone through all the clothes in my closet, eliminating those items that don’t fit or I don’t like anymore. But there are a few other areas – my dresser and the other half of my desk – that need some organizing. My goal is to break these projects down into smaller steps and work on them in the evenings while watching TV.

Now whether I can keep up or accomplish anything on these non-resolutions, we will just have to wait and see.

For those of you who made a New Year’s resolution, here are few tips gleaned off the internet to help you achieve them:

  • Make only 1 resolution
  • Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve to set your goal (Might be too late for that one.)
  • Don’t attempt previously failed resolutions
  • Don’t base your goal on what everyone else is doing
  • Break your goal into a series of time-based steps
  • Make your plans and progress concrete by writing it down
  • Tell your friends and family what you are aiming for
  • Regularly remind yourself of the benefits
  • Give yourself small rewards for achieving each step
  • Expect small set-backs, and don’t make these a reason to give up altogether

As you can see, I made a few mistakes already by picking three areas instead of one and by picking areas that I have failed in before. I think I will just ignore these tips and stick with my three areas and see how it goes. I’ll plan to do an update at the end of February and let you know if I kept up with any of these.

Shedding that holiday weight

For those who regularly read my blog, you know that at the end of July, I began counting calories to lose weight. And it worked. I was down to my goal weight by Halloween having lost 13 pounds. So in November I stopped counting calories and began maintaining my new weight. I knew it would be hard during the holidays.

Bread and desserts with Santa cakeIn fact, from Thanksgiving to New Years, I gained about four pounds. It isn’t just going to holiday parties (I only went to one and hosted one), but the fact that we have such tempting things in the house – Texas Gold bars, Pumpkin Crunch, brownies, cupcakes and Christmas cookies.

I knew I would probably gain a few pounds and honestly I didn’t weigh myself until after Christmas. It might have been better if I had been weighing myself weekly as whenever I notice my weight rising, it is an extra incentive to watch what I eat. But it is too late for that now; the damage has already been done.

Starting New Year’s Day, I began watching my portion sizes and trying to stop munching on something when I wasn’t hungry. Yes, that ugly old habit reared its head again. But holiday food is just so tempting it is hard to remember that because a frosted Christmas cookie sounds good doesn’t mean I need to eat it.

Of course, it is easier not to eat junk food when it isn’t in the house. Now that the kids are back in school, and we have returned to familiar patterns, I think it will be easy to keep less snacks in the house and shed that holiday weight.

For the first week, I didn’t count calories. I just watched my portion sizes and tried to make better eating choices. No longer was I going to McDonald’s because I was out with kids during lunchtime. As soon as school started, it was back to having a Healthy Choice Frozen meals or my favorite – egg rolls from the grocery store deli (just 200 calories for 2, and they fill me up easily) for lunch.

Last Monday I started using the Livingstrong app on my phone again. It is hard to go back to counting calories, but at least I know that this will work. I figure to lose four pounds, I will be doing this until around Valentine’s Day. Hopefully, before I know it, I can move back to maintaining my weight as we head into Spring and shorts-wearing weather. And in Texas that comes early. It will be here before I know it.