The Best Time to Start a Weight Loss Program
New Year’s Day, 2019. It’s as cold as Iceland outside, but Bob’s living room is warm and comfortable. He is surrounded by loving family. The fire crackles and smells like every favorite winter rolled into one while the Rose Bowl parade plays on the massive new high definition television he gifted himself for the holidays. He nudges the dog off his feet so that he can get up and have a slice of pie—after all, what goes better with winter and contentedness than pie? Besides, he reasons, tomorrow he will start a diet and this year his resolution will stick.
As Bob begins to move, he becomes aware that it takes all his strength just to push off the couch. And he is struggling to breathe. His clothes have become uncomfortably tight, much tighter than they were in early November but it’s okay, he tells himself, “I expected this—planned for it even.” As he cuts the pie he reminds himself that there is no reason for deprivation today—the diet starts tomorrow. Still, he experiences a choking, bloated feeling. Is it the pie or the guilt?
How many of us have lived this scenario? The story we tell ourselves seems entirely rational, “It’s the holidays, a time of celebration and indulgence. I’ll live it up a little and then when the new year comes I’ll get serious about my resolutions and lose all of the weight that I have gained in the past two months.”
It is a contract we make with ourselves and one we likely will not keep. Even if we did, it is an absurd contract.
Let’s change the language of this agreement to make it more honest and forthright.
“For the duration of the holiday season, I will abandon self-control and responsibility for my health. I will likely gain weight and suffer all the consequences of said weight gain: guilt, decreased energy, shattered self-esteem, increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, etc. On January 1st or 2nd, I will begin a weight loss program (and this time, mean it!). Under no circumstances will I deviate from this plan or seek to increase my health and longevity before January 1st as that would be a) difficult and b) un-American.”
Still want to sign?
To paraphrase an old Chinese proverb, “The best time to begin was years ago, the second best time is now.”
It is possible, even preferable, to start a weight loss program, also known as health restoration program, during the holiday season. Let the other guy wake up on New Year’s Day 10 pounds heavier and in a sugar-induced fog, while we laugh and sprint into 2019 leaner, cleaner and healthier.
Make no mistake about it, health is a battle for control. We are either dictating terms to our body or our body is dictating terms to us; it is not a democracy. And control is a “now” proposition. A general does not say, “We’ll let them capture the capitol today and resolve to take it back after Christmas.”
So here is the challenge—begin now—whenever now is. Set a health and weight loss goal not for the new year but to be accomplished by the new year. The only “deprivation” needed is depriving oneself the “pleasures” of increased girth and decreased space in blood vessels. Suffer the barbs of the envious who offer temptations of pastries and alcohol, and the victory will be that much sweeter the first of the year. This is the new, updated contract.
Want a pen?
Dr. David Rendelstein, D.PSc is owner of ThinTech Weight Loss. Three locations: 74 U.S. 9 North, Marlboro; 226 Centennial Ave., Cranford; and 1901 Hooper Ave., Toms River. For information call 844-428-7632. NutriMost.com. See ad, page 2.