Lose weight by doing everything except dieting
As we near the end of January, many of us have already made and broken our New Year’s resolutions to eat better, hit the gym more and lose weight.
It’s the same disappointment and feeling of inadequacy year after year. What if instead of giving ourselves a hard time for our lack of willpower and commitment, we simply dropped the struggle to lose weight and focused instead on improving other areas of our lives? Erika Hoffman decided to do just that, as she writes in her story “Keeping Busy,” in our book about “shaping the new you.” Erika explains what happened when she decided not to make a resolution about losing weight:
“Not this year,” I answered my daughter. “Guess again!”
She studied me hard. “You didn’t make a resolution to lose weight?” “I said I didn’t.” “Huh? That’s your resolution every year.”
“Look at me. Has it ever worked?”
She gave me the once-over as I pirouetted in front of our refrigerator.
“I see your point,” she admitted as she wiggled past me to open the fridge’s door. “You don’t buy healthy foods, Mom,” she announced as she peered into the icebox.
“Like yogurt?” “Yep.” “Seems to me I just tossed out a dozen containers someone stockpiled six months ago and never ate.”
“They got pushed to the back. I didn’t see them,” she parried.
“And the Vitamin Water you had to have?”
“That stays good. Help yourself.” She wandered off with some salsa to the pantry to claim an oversized bag of tortilla chips. I threw a withering glance at her choice for lunch. “You buy this stuff !” “Your dad does.” I am 40 pounds overweight. And I am never making a New Year’s resolution about it again. This past January I took a new tack. I limited my goals to four, and losing weight is not one of them.
My premier objective is to learn how to dance. So I take lessons at Fred Astaire once a week with a young Ukrainian instructor. Also, every Tuesday my husband and I attend group lessons at a local restaurant after hours. For those spans of time, I’m not eating; I’m moving and having fun.
My second aim is to walk daily. I have a gal pal who traipses around the neighbourhood with me. Instead of jawboning on cellphones, we discuss politics, our kids, religion, gardening and local “gossip” as we perambulate. Again, I’m away from the pantry, moving and amusing myself.
My third goal is to organize my messes for an hour a day. I don’t mean mundane chores like daily dishes and laundry. I’m devoting 60 minutes per diem to long-accrued piles, drawers of junk filled to the brim and crammed closets of stuff the PTA thrift shop would turn down.
During this tidying time, my hands and mind are busy. I reach, grasp and squat as I wrestle with decades of accumulated debris. No food involved in the process. Not a fun time, but a sense of satisfaction surrounds me as I free up space.
My fourth pledge involves prayer. During this I am stationary. Yet it fixes my head, stabilizes my emotions and gives me a renewed sense of purpose for all the tasks and diversions that lie ahead.
A month has passed since I resolved not to resolve to lose weight. Guess what? I’ve lost five pounds.