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Calorie Count Blog

Resolutions or Results?


By michelle_may_md on Jan 20, 2011 10:00 AM in Dieting & You

How to Align Your Goals with Your Values

By Michelle May, MD

On January 1st, millions of people resolved to lose weight. I hope you weren’t one of them.

You may be thinking, “What?!!! Of course I resolved to lose weight—it’s a tradition—I do it every year!”

The reason is that losing weight is not a resolution, it is a result. It is the result of making specific small changes in the way you eat, move, and live. For the changes to stick, they must be in alignment with your core values, not just a number on a scale.

If you’re struggling to keep your resolutions (weight or otherwise), read Leah’s story below then write (or rewrite) your goals using this Resolutions That Rock worksheet.

Leah’s Story

Leah said she just had to lose 30 pounds because she didn’t like the way she looked or felt. She admitted that she had tried many times in the past to lose weight but she always reverted back to her old habits as soon as her resolve wore thin.

She was a busy mom with two kids and a successful career. She typically skipped breakfast or grabbed a donut at work. She was starving by lunch time so she would pick up fast food to eat at her desk while doing paperwork. Dinner was either fast food again between her kids’ soccer practice and dance classes or a quick-to-fix meal like mac ‘n cheese before homework. After the kids were in bed and the house was finally picked up, she would snack until she went to bed.

It would have been easy to focus on what she should or shouldn’t be eating but clearly, her weight was really just a result of the choices she made at the many decision points throughout her busy days.

Once she really understood what was really going on, she focused on what was most meaningful to her: spending time with her family and having the energy to be successful at her job. With this focus, she laid out a plan to make one change at a time.

Leah’s Plan

First, she started getting up ten minutes earlier for a bowl of cereal and some quiet time before anyone else was up. She quickly found that she felt calmer and had more energy throughout the morning. Her next step was to start bringing her lunch at least several times a week and give herself at least 20 minutes to eat without working. She enjoyed her meals more and felt more recharged by taking a break.

With these positive experiences to fuel her along, she took her next step: walking for ten minutes twice during her work day. She wasn’t perfect but it felt great so she did the best she could to be consistent.

Next, she asked her husband to help their family plan ahead for dinner by throwing beans or chicken into the crock pot or having the ingredients on hand for a main dish salad. On the occasions they still went out for fast food, she tried to make healthier choices and stopped up-sizing her meal. Not only were they spending less money, but the kids were eating healthier too.

She then turned to her night time snack habit. She realized that most of the time she wasn’t hungry but was rewarding herself for getting through the day. She promised herself that she could eat her favorite foods without feeling guilty but she wanted to try rewarding herself in more nurturing ways. Her favorites became hot baths, reading, and scrap booking. She was feeling so much better that she started a dance class while her daughter was in ballet twice a week.

Looking back, Leah realized that if she had just started another diet or joined a gym like every other year, she might have had some quick but temporary results. This time she knew that weight loss was only one of many great results she saw from the small changes she made.  

By making one sustainable values-based change at a time, you’ll get the results you want from your resolutions too.


Your thoughts....

Does your story sound more like Leah's or more like same-old same-old?


Michelle May, M.D. is the award-winning author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle (Read chapter one). Dr. May is a recovered yoyo dieter and the founder of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Workshops that help individuals break free from mindless and emotional eating to live a more vibrant, healthy life.



Comments


i agree with this article. mine was sort of like leahs without the family aspect as i am single. recently, i had a argument with a friend because i was simply stating how i hated when january came around because i had to like pull a tooth to simply get an elliptical and i new it wasnt going to last forever. she preceded to tell me that i need to give them a chance just like when i first started. i couldnt agree with her more, EXCEPT its not about the 1st of the month, or the "resolution" its about changing your mind inside out, changing the way you think or feel about food, and changing your whole relationship. you cannot change yourself just because the number on the calendar says you should. if that was the case, you would of started changing the day you decided to make your "resolution"

i am glad this article was posted! i couldnt agree more.



My "resolution" wasn't for New Year's but it's basically the same: I gained 30 pounds when I changed from an active job to a sedentary one.  I knew for a long time that I needed to get back into the habit of exercising in the evening and not overeating, but it took me awhile to finally push myself over the edge.  When I went to clean out my closet and had to face how many expensive, beautiful, and almost-new clothes I had that I could no longer wear, I finally got fed up enough to do something about it.  I started walking (and then jogging) again, and used Calorie Count to reset my ideas about portions, and the weight came right off.   I feel a little silly now knowing how little I actually had to change to make that difference--I could have done it ages ago!--but at least I did it.



Resolutions are made but are inevitably broken. So I don't make new years resolution. I'm not sure if I am a yo-yo dieter as I have only tried to dieting seriously once and that was generally by calorie counting and excercise. Trouble was after losing around 55 lbs back in mid 2008, I have regained around 30lbs again. This happened slowly and during a time when I had been promoted at work and I stopped focusing on counting calories. (Well at least thats my main excuse anyway)

Around the middle of last year I started reading books on intuitive eating and mindful eating. I think that you can lose weight on a sensible diet but it is the maintenance that can be difficult. So I'm going to give that a go.

So I would like my story to be like Leahs. I want to make key lifestyle changes that will allow me to keep to a healthy weight forever, not just for a while.



It's never that simple for me.  My eating habits are generally good.  I have a sweet tooth; but I keep that in check.  I'm short so I can't get away with much.

My problem is not getting enough exercise because I have multiple sclerosis.  I push myself as much as I'm able.  It's not even close to what everyone can do at the gym.

I've also made a resolution.  This year it has changed.  Whatever I can do; just do it.  I'm hoping that's more successful than an amount to lose.



This is a great article.  A co-worker of mine is on an extreme diet, and he didn't believe me when I explained that  my weight loss was about a lifestyle change and that my aspiration is health and happiness.  No one believes it until they try it for themselves.  The best part of eating healthy and exercise isn't the weight loss.  It's how great it feels to bike like you did as a kid, not feeling dead in the middle of the day, falling asleep with ease and night and fully being able to engage when you are around friends.  

There's a lot of negative connotations to the phrase, "Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels".  I'm surprised we don't just say "Nothing tastes as great as being healthy feels".



I enjoyed this article and like Leah, a lot of my poor food choices came from having a hectic family life and schedule and not planning for eating healthy.  If you fail to plan, you plan to fail as the saying goes.  I was much better at it when my children were smaller and I was concerned about having balanced and nutrional meals.  As it was when we had an Arby's sandwich I used to have to make a veggie side dish to go with it or at least slice up some tomatos or cucumbers.  Somewhere along the line I even stopped doing that when the kids weren't home.  I need to remember that taking care of ME is just as important as my kids!



I can relate totally to Leah's story.  It will be a year tomorrow when I saw the dietician with my wife and slowly started to make some changes.  I weighed 250lbs and today weigh 156lbs.  first started eating 5-6 times a day and limited my calorie intake to no more than 2000 a day.  I lost about 2 lbs a week most weeks.  Started walking in march and lifting some weights in April.  Now it is just like second nature to me but if I am very active like in th e summertime I jog, ride bike to work and swim then i have to eat a lot more calories or i will lose more weight.  Also have to eat more to build muscle. 

         One thing i learned too was it really does not matter what one eats.  It is how much one eats of something.  You can have 2 cookies for a snack.  its when you have say 10 when you are going overboard.  It is all about portion control and calorie intake, and being more active.   When you start taking better care of yourself it shows.  You feel and look so much better.  You have confidence and you start have a more positve and stronger outlook on life.  If I can do it anyone can.   Good luck to everyone out there. 



I've resolved for the past 3 years to lose 25 pounds before Christmas: EACH Christmas, the story was the same...no weight loss.  Then this past August, I thought about those past years and said to myself, if I had just lost ONE pound every month for the past 36 months, I would be exactly where I want to be today!  And how hard would that have been?? Probably effortless, if I had only focused harder instead of giving up before I started.  So I made a conscious decision to learn portion control, to count calories and to make every food choice COUNT in terms of fueling my body and for the utter joy of eating.  Today I am 34 pounds lighter, with greater strength and stamina, and looking forward to continuing this trend until my body reaches its optimum weight (I still have another 30 pounds to go) but rather than becoming a slave to my scale, I am now focused more on strength training and, dare I say it, lately I find I imagine myself actually starting to run for fitness once  the weather breaks.  Not because I "should," but because I think I CAN!  And THAT is the best part of my weight loss: the possibilities seem limitless!!



Bravo, Marshall1974!



I call them resolutions, but what I generally make are New Year's plans. Like with any challenge, breaking a goal like weight loss down into smaller goals like making sure to ask for a to-go box at the beginning of any meal out or walking 10 minutes during lunch break is going to be more successful than just getting a gym membership with a vague goal of losing 10 pounds.

I started just by walking every day at my lunch break. Then I started looking at my food choices and controlling calories. Then I started controlling portions and planning my meals and snacks at the beginning of my day. Then, I started--and finished--the Couch to 5K running program.

Now I'm trying to incorporate more fiber and less sugar, working on balancing protein, fats, and carbs for my new active needs, and training toward a 10K this spring. I only had about 20 pounds to lose, but I've lost 16 of them in about 8 months. And if I don't lose the rest, I'm still feeling better than I have in years, with more energy and a sudden realization that I DO have will power. I just had to figure out how to apply it in a way that would help me succeed.

You can do it!



That is awesome!  I drove by a lady jogging yesterday and thought how much I'd like to be able to do that some day.  I added it to my goals of things to do before 2011 ends.  I probably need to get 50 or more pounds off before I should try it because I am so heavy and have Psoriatic arthritis with some joint damage, but the idea that I can do this one day was quite exciting to me.  Before getting on a new medication to help control my arthritis flare ups I was wondering how long it would be before I needed a cane, my mindset has changed completely now that I'm feeling a bit better.



Original Post by: cynsop

It's never that simple for me.  My eating habits are generally good.  I have a sweet tooth; but I keep that in check.  I'm short so I can't get away with much.

My problem is not getting enough exercise because I have multiple sclerosis.  I push myself as much as I'm able.  It's not even close to what everyone can do at the gym.

I've also made a resolution.  This year it has changed.  Whatever I can do; just do it.  I'm hoping that's more successful than an amount to lose.


You are inspirational.  Thanks for sharing.



Thank you all for sharing your inspiring stories and affirmation that small steps really do make a big difference!



This is a great article and I love points it makes.  For me, looking at the big picture was overwhelming since I had more than a hundred pounds to lose.  I started by cutting out sodas.  Then I started walking a mile a day without making any other changes to my diet.  The exercise started helping me not feel as hungry so over time, I made other changes.  

I think it's too much of a shock to make a major overhaul of your eating and activity levels all at one time. It's just too much.  Giving yourself time to make little changes and doing those things often enough for them to become habits seems to work better over time.  

I'm not done yet, but as of today, I've lost 100 pounds since last August.  I'm still learning and making adjustments every day.  But keeping focused on the small things I can definitely do today helps me not to feel like it's too overwhelming.

 



Comment Removed

My New Year's resolution started on Dec 28th.  I have been putting off doing anything for 10 years.  Over the past 10 years I have gone from a healthy weight of 155 (I'm 5'9" and 62 years old) to the weight of 220.  I finally got so discouraged when shopping for something to wear that I said enough is enough!!  I had on several occasions gone to this site, but never did anything.  On Dec. 28th, I started logging everything I ate, and limited my calories to 1200 a day.  I have found, by logging everything, it is really helping me.  As of today,(26 days) I have lost 10 pounds.  I am very encouraged!!!  By weighing everything, (got a fantastic scale at Costco for $20 that measures grams) I know exactly how many calories I am consuming.  I told my daughter today about my weight loss, and to give me more incentive, she said if I lose a total of 30 pounds by the end of June, she will take me to Las Vegas!!  I'm convinced that I will have lost much more than that, since my exercising plan has not begun.  Vegas, here I come!!!



Original Post by: susanpv

My New Year's resolution started on Dec 28th.  I have been putting off doing anything for 10 years.  Over the past 10 years I have gone from a healthy weight of 155 (I'm 5'9" and 62 years old) to the weight of 220.  I finally got so discouraged when shopping for something to wear that I said enough is enough!!  I had on several occasions gone to this site, but never did anything.  On Dec. 28th, I started logging everything I ate, and limited my calories to 1200 a day.  I have found, by logging everything, it is really helping me.  As of today,(26 days) I have lost 10 pounds.  I am very encouraged!!!  By weighing everything, (got a fantastic scale at Costco for $20 that measures grams) I know exactly how many calories I am consuming.  I told my daughter today about my weight loss, and to give me more incentive, she said if I lose a total of 30 pounds by the end of June, she will take me to Las Vegas!!  I'm convinced that I will have lost much more than that, since my exercising plan has not begun.  Vegas, here I come!!!


You GO girl!  You seem to be on the right track, and it looks pretty good for a June trip to Vegas.  Keep focused, and good luck!!



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