September 8, 2011

New Months' Resolution: September

Last year, as my New Year’s resolution, I decided to lose weight and be more healthy. Like many Americans, it wasn’t the first time I’d resolved to do these things, but this past year I took a different approach - I made a serious commitment to exercise and I started tracking my calories. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, tracking calories was really just the starting point for a broader change in how I eat. By seeing what I was consuming - not just the calories, but where those calories were coming from - I started a process of eating more healthy foods. I call it a process, because I’m still trying to figure all of this out. Rather than focusing so much on the number of calories in my food, I’m thinking more about fiber, protein, processed sugar and fat content.

Recently, I started thinking about the fact that so many people wait until New Year’s to make commitments to change things about themselves. I have this suspicion that this mentality is part of why so many people break their resolutions early on. First, the momentousness of the occasion (only once a year!) makes people feel like their resolutions have to be BIG. And all-encompassing. And let’s face it, most people cannot commit to dramatically changing the way they live their lives on sheer will-power alone. Instead, it often takes small changes and patience to have lasting big results. Compounding that is the idea that we only have one chance a year to make these changes - so if we fail, we just give up and wait until next year to try again. It isn’t that people think that they can’t try again before New Year’s, it’s just that I think New Year’s provides an external pressure that might not exist for many people during the rest of the year.

I believe that of the many reasons I’ve had success this time around is that most of the changes I’ve made have been gradual. I’ve taken the time to think about what I enjoy in terms of eating and cooking and come up with ways to incorporate healthier food into what I know makes me happy. Because if I’m not happy, I’m not going to stick with it. So this got me thinking: why not have a new month’s resolution? Rather than waiting until the end of the year to look back on how I’ve been doing and make changes, why not actively try to self-evaluate on a more regular basis? Also, trying out new goals over a shorter time-frame means that if something really isn’t working for me, I don’t have to feel like I’ve given up. I can just reassess and try something new next month.

These are a few of my favorite things!

One change that I think is in order is my approach to snacking. I’m a person who likes to eat a lot of smaller meals and snacks throughout the day, rather then 3 big meals. I recognize that this is a personality thing, and it’s just what works for me. The snacks I eat are generally pretty healthy, because I recognize that I’m going to want to snack, so I am prepared with lots of good things that I enjoy eating - yogurt, nuts, trail mix and fruit. The problem that I’ve noticed is that having all these things around makes me feel like I *have* to eat them. If I bring four snacks to work, I will eat all four snacks, regardless of how hungry I am. I’ve also noticed that I’m far more inclined to do this at work, which has led me to realize that I eat to break up my workday. Not good! Eating when hungry = important. Eating as a diversion = probably not a great idea. So, this month, I’m going to make an effort to stop and think before I eat - am I really hungry? Am I really hungry enough to eat all of that? Am I eating because I’m looking for something to do, or because I’m stressed out, or thirsty? My intent is not to prevent myself from eating, it’s just to make sure that the urge to eat is actually related to hunger. Because an apple a day won’t keep the boredom away, it just leads to a bored person who feels a little sick because she ate too many apples.

What are your September resolutions? Post your answers in the comments!


  1. Your blog reads like and obsession over what you put into your body in a way that is unhealthy. Perhaps the resolution should be "let me sit down and talk with a professional about why I am obsessed with food, and develop a way to have a normal and healthy relationship with food that does not consume my mind/body/spirit/time/life..." There is a line between healthy eating/nutrition and obsessing, and your posts increasingly lean towards the latter...

    (Written with warmth from a "Recovered Anorexic" ... quotes as you can never truly recover)

  2. I appreciate your concern, but I think that any of my friends and family would assure you that I'm not "obsessed" or "unhealthy" in how I think about diet and exercise. Please keep in mind that this is a food blog, so I only talk, for the most part, about food on the blog. I have many interests and activities that I don't discuss on here that also nourish my "mind/body/spirit/time/life." I have a healthy and nutritious diet, both in terms of the amount of food I consume and eating what I want to, when I want to! I am sure that your comment is given with the best of intentions and I wish you well as you cope with your struggles with food.