6 WAYS TO AVOID BEING A HOLIDAY BUTTERBALL.

It’s cookie season again!

DECEMBER 23, 2018KATHE SKINNER, M.A., L.M.F.T. EDIT

This is the time of year food is on our minds. Not just any food, but rich food, expensive food, once-a-year food. It’s when even the most disciplined among us vow to “wait until after the holidays”.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, half of Americans say they want to lose weight. With only a little time before the festivities begin the chances of being successfully svelte are, well, slim to none.

Here’s how to avoid being a holiday butterball:

Start early. Gold’s Gym memberships spike 40% in December and January, while the sad fact is that a hefty 80% of January joins quit within 5 months. If you’re serious about weight loss wait until February to get a membership. Statistics show that’ll improve your chances of success. Even more successful? Stick with the program all year long.

It”s not that the work is hard; the hard work is to keep going,

Dance to your own music. “Dealing effectively with stress” and “emotional regulation” are cited by 92% of 1,328 psychologists as the main reasons for their patients’ failures in weight loss. Emotional eating is a behavior learned in childhood when a sweet snack is an emotionally satisfying way to cope.

Who’s this for, anyway? Are you trying to please a critical parent, spouse, or friend who say you would be more attractive or successful if you lost weight? Putting your health first is, in the first place, about you. Addressing
underlying and longstanding messages are part of the mental health component necessary for mental and physical health.

Change defeating habits. While there are lots of reasons for societal obesity, some come from the choices we make every day. Good-for-you meals don’t have to be additive-rich, over-processed ones. Take advantage of federal law that requires calorie counts to be on menus. Buying gasoline and dinner at the same place are not healthy mealtime practice.

Rapid weight loss without healthy changes in diet and exercise is a chocolate-covered promise.

Keep it simple. Changes that are too complicated reduce chances for permanent behavioral alterations. Go easy; start slowly, feeling comfortable and confident to go on. Life changes don’t have to be complicated to work.

You can’t have it all. Even if you could, you can’t have it right now.  Reasonable thought often conflicts with desire. Unfortunately, ours is a society used to short attention-spans, immediacy, and instant gratification. True lifestyle changes are accomplished over time, with consistent practice, and lots of patience. That can be a poor fit in an ersatz society.

As tempting as it sounds, having our cake and eating it, too, isn’t realistic. More than genetics alone, successful weight control relies on the sometimes challenging choices we make for a healthy mental and physical life.

 Kathe Skinner is a private practice Marriage & Family Therapist in Colorado Springs where she lives with her husband and two kitties.

Copyright 2018, Being Heard, LLC

A RITUAL THAT DOESN’T WORK.

resolution

Who came up with this idea, anyway?

Blame the Babylonians and Romans who used their new year to reaffirm allegiance to the gods as well as to lesser but still powerful mortals like kings or emperors.

Much later, in 1740, John Wesley developed a religious alternative to holiday partying.  These watch night services were held as a renewal of the covenant with God.

Resolutions ran with a powerful crowd.

Ironically, less powerful are today’s resolves, which are about inwardly personal behaviors rather than loyalty to something greater than ourselves.  Resolutions about mental health and wellness concerns like partnering, parenting, drinking, drugging, smoking and eating are peer- and culture-expected but given lip service.  In an attitude of predetermined failure, resolutions about important behavior changes are almost expected to be broken and quickly forgiven when they are.

Promises expected are promises unkept.

That’s how I feel about New Year’s Resolutions.

Besides, I think most of us change not because we’re supposed to, or even want to, but because we choose to, sometimes for not-very-good reasons.  Change is something much greater and often tons more weighty and harder to handle than a New Year’s resolution.

Those choices and changes can’t be scheduled for a certain day, like January 1st.  That’d be about as meaningful as marriage vows made in an arena full of other couples.  If that’s anything like the resolutions actually kept, about half of those couples are headed for a split after only a month together.

Sitting here at the end of December, I’m in solid company:  According to a 2013 CBS poll almost 70% of Americans don’t make New Year’s resolutions at all.

I just hope none of them were married in an arena.

Kathe Skinner is a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice where she specializes working with couples looking for change within their relationships.  She and her husband David live in Colorado with their two change-aversive cats, Petey and Lucy. 

copyright, 2014, Being Heard, LLC

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net