New Years is known for a lot of things – champagne, confetti, drunk-driving deaths – but perhaps most of all, it’s known for News Year’s Resolutions, and this year for me in that respect is no different, but it’s a lot deeper. I’m using this ‘new year’ which is also a new decade, to symbolically ‘throw away’ the shortcomings of the past by letting them go with the old year and old decade, and looking forward to this new year as a true ability to ‘start over’. For me, the primary ‘resolution’ has to do with how I eat and how I take care of my body. This Christmas Holiday season has shown me that I need to make changes in this area, and after a long struggle, I’m now willing to go to any length to do so.
The symbolic gift of having it be a ‘New Year’ is that I can look forward and make a commitment to make ‘this time’ truly different. It offers the opportunity of self-forgiveness for mistakes and bad choices made. It’s an opportunity to change, which can only come by freeing yourself of the thinking that keeps you stuck in self-destructive behavior. I saw that for me, from childhood, the holidays were as much a ‘season of eating’ as a ‘season of giving’. Sure, you give and receive gifts and spend time with loved ones, but holiday memories were rooted in the food and smells of the season, which has always been for me so much a part of the ‘comfort and joy’.
Most of the people who know me would probably be surprised at reading this, because I’m not obese or even close. But I’m well over my ‘normal’ weight, and certainly over my desired weight and I don’t like how I look or feel. Until now, however, I haven’t been willing to do without the ‘bad’ things I like to eat, but now I am, in order to both lose weight and change my relationship to food, which can be like a drug. In fact, per Wikipedia, ‘drugs and sugar both activate the same reward system in the brain, causing the release of dopamine. And since sugar activates the brains’ reward system, activation of this system leads to intense feelings of reward that can result in cravings and addiction’.
I’m grateful to already have in place in my life a structure built on morning prayer and meditation. It sets the foundation for my day. I would highly recommend it as a way of living, to have daily inspirational reading for each calendar year day.
It enables me to try to live a day at a time and get closer to God. I’m not saying I’m all that good at living in the moment, but I try, and this daily habit at least makes it possible. And even though as I said, my primary new years’ resolution involves weight loss and a healthier body, there are other behaviors I’d like to modify, such as cursing and complaining less and having more discipline and determination in action, which seeking God makes possible.
In order to be successful in my goals, which are both weight loss and better health, I’ve gotten together with some friends who will be going along with the same plan, helping us inspire each other and hold each other accountable. I’ve also determined what types of foods would be tempting for me to have in the house, and out at restaurants, so I’m cleaning out the pantry here, and planning what to have and not have when I dine out. Also, and this is very important, having a good ‘prep’ plan for eating in which there is always healthy food available, so that when I’m hungry I have something ready to eat, instead of a void, which might be easily filled by something like drive through fast food. An ounce of prevention is a pound of cure after all.
I have become willing, as of now, to forego the ‘pleasure’ of unlimited sweets (and other unhealthy ‘trigger’ foods, for lack of a better term), for the goal of feeling and looking better. Thankfully, as I read today in one of my daily meditation books, when you’re willing and make the effort, change is always possible: ‘While it isn’t possible to rewrite or obliterate the past, it is possible for each of us to reassess the building blocks of our own reality. With enough effort, direction, and help we can learn to move these building blocks around, push some out of the way and add some new ones. The way it always has been doesn’t meant that’s the way it always will be.’ And so I prayerfully proceed in this New Year.