Resolutions Equals No Solutions
By: Marylin Salgado
2020 has been one bitch of a year. COVID-19 threw our lives for a whirlwind as early as January; we had already heard about the virus. So, this coming January would be the worst time to start a diet. For those of you who are big on New Year’s resolutions, this is not the year to try and commit to a diet or weight loss program. Especially this year when there is the financial stress of losing a job, the death of a loved one from Covid, other illness, having Covid yourself, having the kids at home with remote learning, or having to cope with being around your spouse all the time and not having that breathing space that sometimes work can provide.
Thanksgiving is come and gone. Christmas is just a few weeks away, and probably one of the worst times of the year to start dieting, anyway. If you are dieting, or are thinking about starting a diet, then I suggest waiting until February or March. I personally don’t do resolutions that involve dieting, cutting back on sweets, and all that jazz. I enjoy the holidays to the fullest and if anything, it is the one time of the year you should let yourself indulge. That includes gifting yourself, which I do every year. This year I bought myself a fine line wrinkle kit and a cell phone holding purse.
It’s not much, but rewarding yourself, especially if you’ve had a shitty year, is worth the emotional “feel good” high you will get when you know the gift that you enjoyed purchasing and spending the money on is actually for you.
Besides the obvious reasons why dieting during the holidays is a big NO, here are other reasons why starting a diet in January can result in a big flop. It is irrelevant if you live in a cold or hot environment, they both have their set of challenges.
Why? It’s quite simple.
If you live in a cold environment, your body will demand calories. If you live in a hot environment, you body will also demand calories, just different kinds. During cold temperatures, your body actually burns more calories since the body uses more energy in winter months to keep warm. You will then require more calories to keep your body warm. Truth be told, some of these calories will be very fattening. Hot chocolate with marshmallows, roasted chicken or beef, broths, soups…all these comfort foods are craved during winter months, are delicious and definitely not skim on fat.
If you live in a hot environment, heat has the ability to make you lazy, suppresses your breathing and generally weigh you down. If you are able to go to the gym despite the heat, then keep in mind not going to a fast-food restaurant or ice cream shop for a shake or cold treat. I used to workout at a gym which had an ice cream shop right next door to it. I saw plenty of people put in a one-hour workout with cardio and weights, and then walk over and inhale an ice cream Sunday with all the toppings imaginable.
The weather has been discussed. Obviously, there will be some of you that have been working out throughout the year, so the above discussed topic will probably not pose much of an issue.
Here’s another big one. No one wants to spend money on diets and fancy gym memberships right after the holiday expense. That means you need to spend monthly on the program itself, monthly consults, new food products, and online group meetings, since now you can’t attend in person.
A Harvard study found that eating healthy only costs an average of $1.50 extra a day then eating regular food. Again, the northeast is expensive, and even than you can find eating options that are easier on the wallet. The Insider did a study in which it was found the “cost per kilogram lost on popular weight lost programs was anywhere between $155 – $338.” – Holly Smith, INSIDER. For those of you that are not aware of the conversion, you are paying between $155 to $338 for every 2.2 pounds of weight you lose, since 1 kilogram equals 2.2 pounds of body weight. Which means, for losing 50 pounds, you would spend $3,522 to $7,681. Hard Pass!
Some gym memberships can cost $40 to $50 a month. That’s an average of $520 to $650 a year. My advice; join a local gym or a cheap membership gym like Planet Fitness for $10 a month and go online and download some free recipes and dieting journal. Yes, they do exist and you can print them for free. You can also download free exercise and recipe apps on your mobile device. You will only spend $120 a month for the gym and have that extra money to spend on food. You can also call your health insurance company, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield or Tufts. Depending on the tier, you can get all if not a portion of your gym membership fees reimbursed. I myself am a member of Planet Fitness, have the black card membership, pay a little more, but have to say they have great equipment for the price and plenty of it.
If you are thinking about joining a weight loss program, do some research on the specific program first. Their prepared frozen meals are full of sodium, which causes bloating and swelling, have a list of ingredients (over 50 by the way), which means all the actual crappy stuff is not listed, and they are not worth the price. I have bought healthier frozen meals, maybe pay a buck more, and actually get the results I need.
A moderate eating plan should start before the holidays so you can practice some self-control. Attempting to limit what food items you eat or how much you eat of them during the holidays is very hard. Eat what you want, get yourself together in January financially and emotionally, and then consider joining the gym and changing your eating habits. If you can start sooner great. Just remember, weight loss and exercise are a journey. It’s a commitment. You have to want to do it and you have to want to do it badly. You will have days you are so low energy you will barely want to get out of bed. These are the days you will need to push and go at it even harder; since these are the days you can fall back into the lazy zone and slowly go on a decline until you are no longer working out or eating healthy.
You will also have to make regular trips to the grocery store to buy fresh fruits and veggies. I go everyday after the gym. This is because if you buy fresh food items, which are healthier to eat and digest, they will not sit around long enough. I suggest filling up on yogurt, berries and granola as a daily snack before hitting the gym. Seasonal fruits are great and veggies are always a plus. If you are on a strict budget, steam veggies or roast them in the oven with some olive oil, sea salt and some garlic. It will add tons of flavor and texture. Add a small portion of protein, i.e. chicken, turkey or beef, and brown rice and you have a very healthy, inexpensive meal. Frozen fruits and veggies are also an inexpensive and healthy alternative. Tuna salad, egg salad, canned salmon or other canned sea food items work well.
Budget smart and workout smart and above all, find inspiration and a good support system, but stick to the program.
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