I wish I could be writing this about the amount of calories or the amount of fat that you are probably burning each day by sticking to your new diet and exercise resolution; but, sadly, I can’t. The reason is: it’s burn-out time. We are less than one month into the new year, yet you can see and hear signs of it everywhere. People are somewhat depressed, the weather is gray and snowy (for most of us anyway), people are losing their motivation and it’s not even February. Heck, there are even less people in the gym already- now that’s a great business to get into- people paying you to not show up.
I have a confession to make. It’s even happening to me. I think what tipped the scales was during the last episode of Spartacus: Blood and Sand (B/S). I didn’t watch the show when it first aired but since the period between mid-December and now is so slow television-wise, I was forced to cheat on my favorite shows and find new ones. So, there I was, ready to watch the season finale of B/S on demand. It was 11:58PM (I know, late for me to be awake). The show begins and 2 minutes later, it just stops playing, I initially blamed Verizon and the multi-room DVR’s (if you don’t have them, they are delicious). On further investigation, I realized it was that the on demand episodes had expired. I was devastated. It wasn’t on hulu.com (another great resource for catching shows you may have missed). It wasn’t on itunes. I was distraught.
So, I went to sleep and the next morning went to the gym. After the gym, I was still feeling a little down so I drove to this store called, Mary’s Marvelous determined to get a coconut cupcake. I was sabotaging myself and making ridiculous excuses. And no, it just wasn’t because B/S wasn’t on- I told you that was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was snowing. It was beyond freezing, I was disappointed that I had a lot of work to do and couldn’t just relax and I just wanted to feel some comfort. Waa! Waa! Waa! Sound familiar?
Turning to food for comfort, for satisfaction, for anything other than what it’s meant to be- sustenance. Yes, we’ve all been there. So, I go to the store and begin to look around at everything there was to see. It smelled so good in there. I then took a step back, took a deep breath and walked back to my car. For me, it was enough to know it was there. I felt a little like Snooki- now there’s a show that never disappoints. She gets arrested and the next day- better behavior. Time will tell whether this will last for her but for me, it is a trick I have been using for decades.
The sights, the smells, the visceral cocoon of the moment is sometimes all it takes to get that same feeling of comfort or whatever it is you think you need or can get from food. While that good feeling may last for a moment, the bitterness and resentment can indeed last a lifetime. Try to find a trick of your own that stimulates the same experience without the detriment because often that is all we need. We eat with our brains, not our stomachs.
So, although it may feel as if you are starving, can’t make it to the gym, feeling overwhelmed, unhappy with life and need love and support. Don’t turn to food, don’t turn to bad behaviors, but perhaps do what I do- look for mid-season replacements. I found Jersey Shore (yes, I can’t believe they are going to Italy for the fourth season either), Spartacus B/S, and Downtown Hall to fill my needs until my old friends are back- the kids from 90210 and Gossip Girl, and Vampire Diaries returns. When in doubt, there is always a housewife or two to be made fun of. And if Kelsey does indeed get his own reality show, I may never leave my apartment.
I can honestly say I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now. I know I can make it through the rest of this bleak season and be ready for the beach- looking trim & fantastic. Granted for some of us, beach season arrives early. I am leaving February 12th for Colombia. I have been invited to teach at the medical school for three weeks but I am sure I will find some time for sun and frolic… I want to look good!!!
It’s all too easy to give up on our resolution to look good and feel better. Life always seems to get in the way. Exercise, healthy food shopping are things that go first. But isn’t it time you considered them as important as anything else you do? You are good at your work, good with your children/spouse/significant other- why is your health any less significant? In fact, without it, you won’t be able to do all the things you may want to do now and well into the future. Take charge and be responsible for your eating behaviors. It’s Ok to feel overwhelmed and a little depressed about things but there is always something that can avert your bad behavior if you just give it a chance. Find your focus and your experience.
I will leave you with my favorite TV line of this mid-season. It was from Downtown Hall- a Masterpiece theatre, Upstairs/Downstairs type of show. The Dowager Duchess (great name right) was in a conversation with her new “middle class” family when her cousin mentioned that he would have time to do something on the weekend. In true Maggie Smith fashion, she turns to him and say, “what’s a weekend?”