Rethink your thinkingWORTHINGTON — The holiday season is soon coming to an end. For many, it means the beginning of a renewed commitment to weight loss — a cycle that has played out for years. I know this cycle because I experienced it personally at different points in my life. New Year’s Day is a day when we commit to new goals and say, “This is the year where I get back into shape, this is the year where I feel comfortable at the beach, this is the year where I stop eating so much fast food, and this is definitely the year where I get back into those jeans I still have from five years ago!”
By: Troy Van Orman , Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — The holiday season is soon coming to an end. For many, it means the beginning of a renewed commitment to weight loss — a cycle that has played out for years. I know this cycle because I experienced it personally at different points in my life. New Year’s Day is a day when we commit to new goals and say, “This is the year where I get back into shape, this is the year where I feel comfortable at the beach, this is the year where I stop eating so much fast food, and this is definitely the year where I get back into those jeans I still have from five years ago!”
With failure to be able to button our pants following the holiday dinner, the cycle begins. We commit in our head that this is going to be the year we get control and lose weight! We identify all the foods we are going to give up, we set exercise goals, we order the newest exercise craze video, we find the latest information about whether or not carbohydrates are now legal for someone trying to lose weight, we establish a reward night to eat what we want, and we warn our spouses to enter our world at their own risk. We have motivation, we have commitment and we’ve committed to getting back into the jeans we once wore!
Does this sound familiar? It all sounds good on the surface. So why didn’t the plan work last year? Well, last year things came up — we got busy at work, there were family issues with the kids, my sister had me stressed out, a new fast food place opened and we made tons of new friends, which meant more birthday parties to go to and more cake to eat. If it wasn’t for all of that, we would we would have executed the plan to perfection, right?
I have been through this exact cycle year after year, and I am guilty as charged when it comes to patterns of behavior that have not supported a healthy lifestyle in my own life. I have been a physical therapist/health professional for nearly 16 years. I work every day with patients to assist them with their limitations and improve function. I am constantly exposed to information that supports wellness and health. With that being said, why did I spend the last five years of my life going from 215 to 305 pounds? If knowledge truly is power, then I should by definition be a 40-year old version of Brad Pitt! If knowledge is power, I should be able to push the easy button each day and never make a bad choice about overall health and wellness. If knowledge is power, why do I find myself with the now more than 60 percent of Americans that are clinically overweight or obese and now more than 85 percent of Americans that have lost weight only to regain the weight again?
To help us answer this question, I would like you to stop for five minutes and write a list of reasons why this happens. What are we doing in a day, or not doing that has resulted in us being overweight. Now, I know you will be tempted to keep reading and not write the list, but I challenge you to take five minutes and write down your ideas of what we do or not do each day that leads to being unhealthy.
Are you done with this list? If so, I would like you to take the list and throw it in the garbage. Don’t worry, you’re not going to be throwing away any information you don’t already know and I won’t tell anyone you did. Now, if by chance you do forget, just turn on the television, go to the Internet, look through a magazine and all the information will be there. I know we all see the information because we spend more than 50 billion dollars a year on things to help us overcome the things on that list. As I said before, is knowledge really power when 85 percent of the people spending money on weight loss don’t succeed?
So where does that leave us? Hopefully not in a panic and a sense of doom, considering you are probably reading this article with a hope of gaining insight on how to improve your health. So, this year, before you set your goals, I want you to step back and pause. I want you to look at the system and the process in which you have tried to lose weight and start thinking about where its weaknesses are. This year, I want us to stop placing blame and looking for a magic solution. This year, we are going to be accountable and leave our failures from the past behind. This year is not about the words diet, deprivation, struggle or sacrifice. This is going to be a year of education, awareness, accountability and change.
Three months ago I threw away all of the lists, took out a new piece of paper and wrote at the top, “I will make health and wellness a fundamental value in my life!” With that statement, away went the worries of a diet, and I began to focus on being well.
Next month, I will share what it means to make something a fundamental value and explain how this can help you break the unsuccessful patterns we have used in our lives to lose weight. 2011 is going to be filled with new possibilities. 2011 is not going to be a year about losing weight — it will be about our life.
Troy Van Orman is an MSPT/health coach. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and would enjoy hearing readers’ questions or stories.