Aren’t you tired of people always using the new year to make a life change?
Maybe I’m not tired of other people but I’m tired of myself. I tend to be the person who says “OK, I’m going to eat what I want this weekend and start over on Monday.”
It never works and neither does the whole New Year’s resolution thing.
I decided that when it comes to being healthy, I have a somewhat dual personality. It’s a little like the old cartoons when Porky Pig would have a little version of himself dressed in a devil costume and another one in an angel costume.
They would both whisper in his ear and he’d end up either doing the right thing, kicking one of them to the curb, or whatever the plot called for.
In my case, I have to trick myself. My bad side – the one that wants to eat truckloads of cheese and crackers or lots of salty junk – has to be gently talked to and reassured by my more mature, adult, good side.
“If you just eat right most of the time, you can have some of the extra stuff. I’m not going to deprive you,” says the good side.
“Go on with your bad self,” the bad side says back.
Most of the time, I can stick to such a pledge to my bad self. I have been doing pretty well with protein drinks and fruits and veggies. Plus, I’ve been somewhat successful with intermittent fasting; stopping my eating at a certain time in the evening and not eating again until after noon.
I feel like the biggest stumbling block to conquer was reassuring my bad self that I would not be hungry.
And it’s really been pretty good.
Now, during the window of time when I do eat, I sometimes feel like I’m going to go a little overboard.
So again, I have to have a conversation.
“Just eat this little bit and have a banana or an apple. Then see if you are still hungry. If you are, you can eat a little more because your calorie intake has been pretty good today,” good self says to bad self.
“Oh all right, but this really sucks,” says the bad self.
“We don’t use that word,” I say back. “What will the disapproving church ladies do when they read that word in my column?”
I do the same thing when it comes to working out and staying on a schedule for going to the gym. I feel like this part is harder than the eating, but the whole thing with me is actually getting there. If I can get my lazy patootie to the gym, I’m good after that.
“Just get in the car,” says good self.
“Just five more minutes in the recliner. Next commercial,” says my bad self.
But I think the worst part of any pledge to do better and get healthy is something that is way harder to deal with than your “selves” – impatience.
You may be familiar with the awesome singer Adele. Always a beautiful lady with a beautiful voice, she’s been a favorite of mine since she started singing.
A few months back, she came on some show and had lost 100 pounds. People hadn’t seen her in a while and were astonished.
It took her two years.
How did she do it? What program did she use? Who helped her?
Well of course, she’s rich. She can hire a chef. She can work out all day long if she wants.
Questions and excuses.
Did I mention it took her two years? That’s 730 days.
One of the reasons I like Adele is her apparent approach to life and how she seems very simple and private about everything.
But in this case, she figured her voice was important and decided to speak out about her miraculous transformation.
“Look, I increased my activity and paid attention to my calorie deficit,” she began.
Was it difficult? Did you want to give up? After all, it was quite a substantial amount of weight you lost.
More questions. More observations.
“It took two years. The biggest part of it was being patient.”
Bingo. That’s the problem. I, for one, want to go on a healthy eating binge for a couple of weeks and be Men’s Fitness cover ready by the end of the month.
Adele mentioned something we aren’t comfortable with: patience.
Surely she knew what her goals were, but she also had the sense to know the weight that took her so long to put on wasn’t going to come off overnight.
Two years – 24 months, 2, 190 meal preps. Done in a healthy way. With patience at the core of the whole shebang.
Words to live by. Words to get healthy by.