Trick or treat? This is not a trick question (pun intended.) When you get asked "Trick or Treat?" you say "Trick!" Not treat. Step one. DONE.
A couple weeks ago there was an article in the Star Tribune about holiday weight gain. When they talked "holiday" what they were referring to is not a holiday, but a three-month span of the year... October, November and December. I think Halloween kind of kicked off the season - the season of treats anyway - since I can't think of any other well-known holidays in October. I don't think Columbus Day threatens too many health resolutions. The article stated that in the United States, weight gained over the "holidays," on average takes until late April to erase. It also stated that October 1, is when as a whole we are at our lightest.
Think about that for a minute. Because of a few single days, we justify three months of unhealthy overindulgence. We start the tick up in October and ride the treat train through December. Then we work to erase the "damage" from January to April, only to repeat the pattern (aka. nonsense) again. The funniest quote of the whole article - because of its total obvious-yet-not-obvious-at-all-ness - was this: "Instead of trying to come up with a New Year's resolution to lose weight, it's a whole lot better to maybe have an October 1 resolution to gain less in the first place." Was there ever a more true statement? It gave me a good laugh.
Aside from giving me job security, it's a little crazy. Would you agree? Or does gaining weight from October to December, then losing weight from January to April, every year, sound reasonable to you?
So why not have an October 1 resolution to gain less? To bypass the detour. Why not start today? (Not after Halloween. Today.) Seriously. Stop and ask yourself this question. Then wait, and listen to all the reasons why you tell yourself this is not a good idea. Get a piece of paper even. List them all out. "But I like all that holiday food." "This is such a busy time of year. I just need to get through the holidays." "But there are so many holiday parties and other social things." " I don't have that kind of willpower." Then shut them down.
What if you had a friend who was in a work situation or relationship that was not in their best interest. It may have its good days, but year after year they seemed stuck in the same spot. Not real happy with it. Frustrated a lot of the time even. And it affected their mood. How they felt about themselves. Their energy. Their confidence. Their social life. Their health. Wouldn't you at some point start to say: "Have you thought about getting a new job? Have you thought about breaking up?" Because in the back of your mind, whether you have the courage to say it or not, you are thinking: "You don't have to be a victim here. You do have a choice. You can make a change." This plan, called the great American Holiday Health Hiatus is no different. The choice to go backward, then forward, then backward, then forward - or backward, then backward, then backward some more - affects people's health, energy, confidence, hope, social life, mood. I think it is important to see this. To recognize the pattern. To know you have a choice. That at any point - and so why not today - you can decide it is time to break up. Time to move on. Time to start a new chapter.
All those reasons you listed above for why January 1 is a better plan. (All the reasons why the job will improve although it hasn't in years. All the reasons why the significant other will change though they have not shown any evidence to support that fact.) Those reasons are just that voice in your mind trying to hold you back. The voice that worries about how you will socialize or fit in if you don't partake in traditional, unhealthy celebration. The voice that doesn't know how else to deal with stress. The voice that wants to protect you from failing one more time - already assuming that is the case.
That voice is not necessary right. It just likes the "known" of the job and the relationship and the life. Not those things themselves. It just likes to know what to expect. Even if what is at the end of that expectation is not really what you want. At least you know how it looks.
So - this year. Make a choice. And understand whichever path you choice. You chose it.
If you choose to indulge for the remainder of this "holiday" season, put on the traditional however many pounds, then spend January, February, March and April losing the same pounds over again, or not - just like you may choose to stay in a job or relationship - that is your choice. And if you choose to break that mold, and start today, and be healthy through December - and then make further headway in January, February, March and April... and so on - and be a healthy person, rather than a dieter - and gain more energy and hope and confidence and health - that is also your choice. There is no right choice. It is simply your choice. So - what are you going to choose? Trick or treat?
Happy Halloween. Enjoy. DONE playing small.
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