A Non New Year’s Resolution

It’s New Year’s Day.  The TV is on, so we’re being treated almost non-stop to diet commercials, because if it’s the New Year, all the folks are expected to grab their New Year’s resolutions and get on board the dieting band wagon, right? Wrong!

The concept of signing up for a diet where you’ll lose twenty pounds for twenty bucks in twenty days or one where you’ll get two weeks’ worth of food and snacks for free both sound … well … counter-intuitive.  This kind of instant, wave-your-magic-wand, short-term success seems like a sure-fire recipe for long-term failure.  To me the word “diet” says this is something you start one day and end on some other day far in the future.  At that point, everything will go back to being as it was before.  Should that be the case, if you really did lose those twenty pounds in twenty days for twenty bucks, you can bet they’ll all be back and then some in a lot less than twenty days—and for a lot less money.

I’m writing this today from the vantage point of having come through the holidays with my 75 pound weight loss still intact—a weight loss I’ve managed to maintain for more than a year.  My weight loss didn’t start with a New Year’s resolution a year ago.  It started with a mid-April trip to our doctor’s office coming up on three years ago now.  When I weighed 264 pounds.  When I could barely make it up and down the single flight of stairs here in the house.  When I couldn’t walk more than a thousand steps without sitting down to rest.  When I couldn’t do a single sit-to-stand.

At that point, our doctor said to my husband, either you walk or you order an electric cart.  He also told us that he was pretty sure we were too old to lose weight.  Since I knew Bill would rather die than be in a cart, we started walking the next day.  It took a while to work up to those dreaded 10,000 steps.  Now I usually walk 12,000 steps or 5 miles a day, whichever comes first, depending on whether my iPhone or the Fitbit is doing the counting.  I don’t always get it done.  A week ago when I was in copy-editing hell followed by a chest cold, I had three red days showing—days where I sat on my butt and walked less than a mile a day.  Orange days are those with two-to-five miles.  Green days are the 12/5 ones, and I now have six of those in a row.

But it’s not a matter of just walking on a daily basis or going to a gym or working out with our personal trainer.  And it’s not a diet, either.  We had to change the way we eat.  What we do is probably closer to Dr. Atkins than it is to anything else—Weight Watchers, South Beach, or Jenny Craig.  We’ve cut way back on carbs—on bread and potatoes—but they’re not completely verboten—one slice of Dave’s Killer 21 Grain toast is heaven on earth. We’ve learned to love riced cauliflower as opposed to rice.  (Goes great with curries or braised whatever.)  We have protein—especially eggs for breakfast.  Measured ounces of protein with veggies (roasted Brussels spouts and charred green beans) along with salad for dinner—no limits on the latter.  But wait, you’re saying.  What about lunch?   We don’t have lunch.  We’re retired.  We have a late breakfast and an early dinner, and we don’t starve. And we don’t feel deprived, either.

Years ago, when we we’re trying a low-fat diet, a visiting dog snatched a piece of chicken off my plate.  I was outraged.  Murderous is more like it, because when we were trying to do low-fat, we were hungry—all the time. We thought about food—all the time.  And meals became the whole focus of every day.  The way we eat now, food has receded into the background which, it seems to me, is where it belongs.

We eat fresh food rather than junk food.  We watch our portions.  We have one helping and don’t go back for seconds, but my mother would be proud.  You can damned well better betcha that we clean our plates.  And if we do want a snack?  Peanuts are good.  I’ve lots 75 pounds.  Bill has lost 50.  We both have new clothes, and we look pretty snazzy in them, too, if I do say so myself.

So what did I do yesterday?  I cleaned out my closet.  I dragged 10 bags of fat-lady clothes out of my closet.  It’s the clothing I bought when I didn’t think I’d ever be able to buy nice clothing again.  When I thought I was always destined to be the shape I was then.  It turns out I wasn’t and I’m not, but it wasn’t a temporary fix, either.  I want those 75 pounds that have gone away to stay away, so when I finish writing this, I’m going to go outside and start walking.  It’ll take me a little over an hour, but I’ll get it done.

I hope that some of the people reading this will join me.  Because, you know what?  However old you are, you’re not too old to make some changes.  What’s that?  Your knees are bad and you can’t walk?  Maybe so, but you can change the way you eat, and you don’t have to order your food from Jenny Craig, either.  They sell fresh green beans at Safeway, and you can eat as many of those as you can hold.  You can also look up the Sit to Stay Fit videos on the Internet and do the exercises. That’s how our personal trainer started us out—sitting—and that’s where a lot of our workouts still start and stop today—in chairs upstairs, where we go with far more ease than we used to.

You don’t have to make a New Year’s resolution to do this.  You just pick a day and start and then you keep at it.

Back in the old days when I was in the insurance business, my agency manager, Gilbert F. Lawson, always said, “Know the score; keep the score; report the score.  The score will improve.”

I suggest you do the same, and if you want to send me a score-keeping note to let me know how you’re doing? Feel free.  I’m available:   jajance@me.com.

Now get off your butt and get going, not because you’ve made a New Year’s resolution but because you’ve made a New Life resolution.

Happy New Year one and all!

14 thoughts on “A Non New Year’s Resolution

  1. You are an inspiration – and you speak the truth. It’s now about diet, it’s about lifestyle changes. I went through it, too, when I, thankfully, quit smoking 18 years ago. I found myself stuffing my face until forty pounds and found a new home. My knees hurt, my feet hurt, and my cholesterol was having a hay day. I had no choice but to cut my intake in half and found walking to be my saving grace. Losing that extra forty pounds took the pain away and brought my cholesterol back down to safe levels.
    All these years later, I’ve gone up/down with my weight, but only by a pound or two.
    My husband and I are about to embark on gypsying (in our nice new RV) around the states for the next year, which will include lots of walking and hiking…and we are both fit enough to enjoy it.
    Happy New Year to you both.

  2. Thank you for writing about your weight loss and change of eating habits. Bill and you are proof that it can be done even tho you are over 21! It is so wonderful to be healthy and happy. I think it’s great to toss your “fat” clothes and make room for new skinny things. Best wishes for 2018.

  3. I’m with you! Diet is another word for failure. I do Weight Watchers, abd we like to call it a live-it instead of diet, because it’s a healthy lifestyle we aim for, not just weight loss. And I get at least10,000 steps a day—intentionally!—unless I’m sick or travelling where I’m in a car or plane for hours, and arrive too late to walk. I definitely feel better when I’m eating healthy and moving a lot! 🙂

  4. Thank you for this post as I begin with a few simple changes for the new year – another vegetable at meal time, ridding my closet of unwearable items (that may take a few days), and a walk to get ideas for my journal and/or watercolor project.

  5. Thank you for sharing information on your weight loss. For years I have been 25 lbs overweight. I retired a couple years ago and started having some severe back and knee problems. It got so bad I stayed at home and became a couch potato, then inspiration struck. As a single person I cooked my own meals and I always cooked huge amounts of food and had plenty of left overs. I would eat a meal and a couple hours later would go back for more. My weight stayed the same but other numbers went up. One day I bought a bag of apples and decided that if I wanted something more to eat a couple hours after eating a meal I would eat a apple and then if I felt hungry I could eat some of the leftovers, which I seldom did. Much to my surprise, with this one change I lost 10 lbs in about 3 months and my back and knees started feeling better. After that I started walking. I started with short distances and gradually increased the distance I don’t keep track of the mileage but my guess is that it is just a couple miles a day. Now, I have no back pain or knee pain.

    Recently I mentioned my “apple” plan to my doctor, he advised that there nutritionist was preaching a similar plan and tell patients “If you’re not hungry enough to eat a apple, you’re not hungry.”

    My weight loss stopped at ten lbs but my guess if I amp up the walking I can lose the desired amount in a few months.

  6. I’m a faithful reader of every book and blog and always pre-order, so selfishly, am thrilled that you have gotten healthy and will continue to write more Beau, Ali, and Joanna books. I love them all!

    Got rid of my own fat clothes about 2 years ago, so no going back to my fat self! Any extra pounds have to come off quickly or I am miserable, which is a good thing!
    Keep walking and writing for a long time! Happy New Year!

  7. You have introduced me to cauliflower as a substitute for potatoes. I’ve always liked it raw with a dip—blue cheese dressing favored—but never thought of cooking it. Now I do and sprinkle paprika on it for color. I don’t use anything except vinegar and oil as dressing any more.

    By the way, during our snow storm this week I re-read Beau’s adventures in “Minor in Possession”. I love the story about the pet rattlesnake. He eats live mice. I don’t think he likes vegetables.

  8. Happy New Year to you, Bill and the rest of your family!
    Thank you so much for being such a wonderful, positive, inspiration in my life! I loved meeting you and Bill at your book signing for “Man Overboard” at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore on Broadway in Tucson, AZ last year.
    Since then I have read several of your books and have enjoyed them all.
    After you previous blog I read “after the fire” which is now one of my most favorite books of any I ever read. Thank you for writing it.
    Please continue with all you do. To say I’m a big fan is a major understatement.
    May 2018 be a great year for you and yours.

  9. I just began reading your books a couple of months ago and I love them. Started with Joanna then Beau And now Ali. Love the Flagstaff area, used to go thru there with my first husbands, Bill, going to Las Vegas to vacation. Now I go to Reno to bowl national tournaments. It is very hard to get some of your early Beau books but I’m still hunting. Please keep writing, I love reading!!!

  10. Hi my name is Mindy. I am an avid reader but I have just discovered your books.I have just read my second of your books Edge of Evil. I absolutely loved it. Your writing enthralls me. I will be looking for and reading as many as I can get my hands on. Thank you have a blessed day.

  11. I am so happy to meet the new readers who are showing up. Welcome aboard to all of you. As for my long time readers? Thank you to those as well!!!!

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