The No Resolution Zone
Opting out on the New Year resolution merry-go-round.
December 2007 —
A New Year, a New You!
Lose 15 pounds in three weeks!
Conquer cravings – Fast!
If you've been down a supermarket checkout aisle recently, you know whereof I speak.
Despite years of fighting fat and wrangling wrinkles, New Year's resolutions still signal a fresh shot at perfection. With the stroke of midnight, women from 15 and above know that as the calendar page flips to January 1st, life brings a new chance to be skinny, fit, and working it.
For more years than I care to count, I bought into this mindset, listing my own earnest resolutions onto a clean white page. I will no longer eat chocolate chips straight from the bag. No more snacking after 8 p.m. while watching mindless television. This year I will drop (fill in your dearest wish) pounds so I can wear a bathing suit (two-piece, one piece) this summer.
Cognitive therapists call this "all or nothing thinking" and for many of us, that's what our own New Year resolutions are all about. I will lose two pounds a week for ten weeks. And when week three comes along and the loss is only 1 pound or maybe a gain of three, then what? I will exercise for 47 minutes every day. And what happens on February 2nd when life – job, kids, housework, deadlines – get in the way?
If you've been around this block before, you know the answer. Start again tomorrow or – more often than not – toss in the towel.
But if you're also managing your type 2 diabetes, you also know that this is precisely the sort of thinking that can derail a healthy lifestyle. Frequent spikes and drops in sugars caused by yo-yo dieting and on and off exercising are at the root of many diabetic health problems.
So what's the solution?
Call it the wisdom of age, the school of hard knowledge, or utter middle-aged frustration, but this year, I'm leaving the New Year resolution merry-go-round. This year, I will not lose fifteen pounds in three weeks. I will not train for a triathlon. My cravings – and chocolate chip addiction – will continue. I will not be a New Me.
Instead, I plan to pretty much keep doing what I've been trying to do last year and the year before – to stay healthy and to keep my sugars on track. Without the added pressure of do or die resolutions.
This moderate path may not seem life-shattering, but it's totally foreign to me. "Impulsive" and "emotionally-driven" have always been my favorite types of decisions. Yet even I can't ignore that at this point in my life, resolving that "I will learn to fly" is pretty much in the same league, as "I will never eat tiramisu again."
In honor of the New Year, however, I do plan to work on a few beauty items, but more philosophically. I plan, for example, to learn to accept the impact of gravity on the 53-year-old-chin.
In place of resolutions, I plan to spend 2008 contemplating what other lessons might be drawn from having had type 2 diabetes in control for over 15 years. For if my acceptance that good diabetes management trumps my yearly vow to firm my butt in ten weeks, who knows where this might lead?
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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