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Monday, December 22, 2014

Viva la Resolution Don’t Let New Year’s Expectations Get You Down

Posted by William on May 3, 2012

The start of a new year is a double-edged piece of military cutlery — a psychological new beginning — a fresh start. It also reminds us of last year when we declared war against our fat — again. Viva la resolution!
I gave up making New Year’s resolutions several years ago. My list seldom grew beyond the perennial entries of losing weight and getting off my big round rosy butt to exercise. Ah, tradition.

Resolutions that start out sensibly enough all too often grow unwieldy and unrealistic. They are line items on an emotionally charged, yearlong “to-do” list. We frame them in negative terms that involve losing, cutting back, giving up, and not doing this or eating that. Resolutions that, in the end, may limit instead of liberate.

Before the year has had a chance to stretch its legs, widespread self-flagellation (how many calories does that burn?) among rotund resolution makers runs rampant. We feel frantic if we haven’t lost all excess weight within the first few weeks of the year — no matter what the amount. What will people think if we’re still fat after a month’s time?! Consequently, we may stall our progress or even gain additional pounds.

One challenge this yearly declaration created in my life included public scrutiny. In the past if I let slip my intention to refocus efforts toward the reduction of my voluptuous visage, well-meaning friends, family and colleagues would barrage me with “supportive” inquiries about how I was doing long before the first week of the New Year had a chance to cool.

Knowing that someone, anyone, was keeping track of my efforts (even casually) made me feel unsettled and anxious. The fear of public failure and the anticipated resultant humiliation was paralyzing. My health and my welfare took a backseat to my inordinate desire to please others and to earn their approval. I craved their praise and acceptance, but the fear of being a sorry disappointment to them made me run to the fridge for something to eat to sooth my frazzled psyche. I knew comestible consumption was counterproductive to my desired outcome, but I felt helpless to stop.

I can feel the breeze generated by your heads bobbing in unison as each of you recognizes similar situations in your own lives. It is not unusual for fat folks to forgo their emotional and spiritual needs in deference to the desires of others.

Once that shift occurs most success we do achieve is limited or short-lived.

How do we assuage this annual self-inflicted assault? We have to look at what we really want out of our resolution to lose weight. Although improving our health and vitality is certainly of prime importance, the deeper issue is usually acceptance.

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