It’s that time of year.
You know, the one where the gyms will be overloaded with people over-doing it, where your kitchen will be hot with meals that you may or may not hate, but you will eat anyways because, well, it’s gonna help you look ten years younger and lose 250 lbs in 30 days. It’s basically one of my least favorite times of year.
According to one quick Google search, 60% of us will create some sort of New Year’s Resolution. Here’s the kicker though, only 8% of those people will actually make the change necessary to reach that goal. That means for every 10 of your friends, 6 of them will create a goal and….statistically speaking at least, it is unlikely any of them will actually reach that goal! (I mean, unless you have a friend that is less than 1 person.)
My personal aversion to New Year’s Resolutions isn’t because I don’t like goals. Dude, I’m the list queen. I love having lists for my lists (even if they are in my head now that I have children.)
Rather, I think my distaste for New Year’s Resolutions stems from the fact that (1) I’ve always sorta been a contrarian and (2) I like to focus on things I CAN have and CAN DO versus think about the things I can’t have or do.
Should we give up New Year’s Resolutions?
The worst 4 letter word in the book: Diet.
In case you were wondering, I hate diets. I mean, anything that says I can’t have xyz–even if it’s something I don’t really care for, it’s EXACTLY what I end up wanting. (and yes, I realize how asinine that sounds.)
At my biggest, I weighed just under 220 lbs about 5 days before I had my daughter. Odds are, I busted through that 220 lb mark, but they never weighed me when I went in to deliver because that precious angel all but shot out of me in a supply room closet, so we will never know. Thank Goodness!
I left the hospital, to my horror, still over 200 lbs.
Never in my life had I ever been that heavy.
If I’m being 100% honest here, I don’t regret a single thing. Not a single jar of peanut butter. Yes, jar. I don’t regret a single bowl of Fruit Loops (OMG crack in a box), and not a single blizzard conditions steak hunt. I made a human. I got hungry. I ate. I gained weight. I had the tiny, adorable almost 8lb human, and still had the extra weight from those indulgences.
In case you were wondering, I was in the gym 5-6 days a week during the entire pregnancy, lifting weights and doing cardio. I did stop my yoga practice because I got some severe ligament laxity and hurt a lot, but my resting heart rate never got over 78 bpm, and my blood sugar levels, even with that sugar drink never got above normal. I was just overweight.
Did the weight magically come off?
Of course not.
Did I diet? Nope. It actually took me a little over a year to lose the baby weight. I know many folks wouldn’t want to wait that long for the weight to come off, but I hate diets and I am one of those people that hold on to the last little weight until I quit nursing. (all the women out there that say breastfeeding is the best weight loss secret are liers!)
Instead of dieting, I enjoyed every single moment I could with my child. I tried to focus on being present. Being with my daughter, with my husband, with my food, with my practice. (After about 6 months postpartum, the ligament laxity settled down, so I could practice again.) It took time, but it was seriously a lot of happy times.
As my daughter weaned, I already had the habits of doing things I loved in place (like my yoga practice!) and I was happy to get to practice. I focused on keeping my proverbial cup full, and guess what!? My stomach was full too!
This tactic worked with both of my pregnancy weight gains and I love sharing this someone contrarian way to take off the baby weight!
The Secret to Sticking Your Wellness Goals
Focus on what you love.
That’s not to say you can eat a whole box of doughnuts and binge watch The Office on Netflix 24/7 because you love them and never worry about your wellness.
It is saying that mindfulness both on and off your mat can totally transform your life right down to the number on your scale.
We were designed to move. Humans weren’t designed to sit at watch Netflix all night after having worked in front of a computer all day. We were designed to move and move we should.
Of course, I think yoga is an awesome way to build strength, endurance and flexibility (as long as you’re doing the movement based practices like Ashtanga, my favorite, Vinyasa, Power, etc.) However, if you are more into getting outside, do it! If you love being on a bike, hop on! The hardest part is taking your first step.
If you’re stepping towards something you love, it becomes less and less like work and more and more like play. When you can keep the element of play alive in whatever you decide to do this year for your health, you won’t be the statistic of someone that didn’t reach their goal. You’ll be the outlier, in the best possible way.
Before we close up, I want to be sure to say that sustainable weight loss is more than just exercise. However, sustainable exercise has its foundation in enjoyable experiences. The more enjoyable experiences you have while moving the more positive memories and associations with happiness you make. This happiness keeps you coming back and build deeper connections with yourself.
If you love what you’re doing and how it makes you feel, I believe it will translate to healthier eating habits. As you get deeper and deeper into your exercise of choice (which of course, I hope is yoga! but if not, that’s cool!) you’ll start to notice what it is that makes you feel better. Did eating the doughnuts make you feel better or the veggie platter?
In the short term, you may have to pay more attention to what you eat and focus on increasing the healthier options on your plate. With time, I am confident that those choices will come naturally as you realize how awesome better eating can make you feel.
It’s a big beautiful circle of health and wellness that doesn’t require a specific date to get started. You can get started today or tomorrow! The key is to find your exercise that fills your cup and keep filling that cup! The rest will follow. The health will come, it may take time, but you’ll be happy the whole time.
If you think you may like yoga, come check us out at Thrive! If you’re not in Chattanooga, then be sure to subscribe to our Youtube Channel where you can see a huge (and growing) library of tutorials and full length sequences designed to get you moving. If you’re serious about getting strong the yoga way, check out Thrive Online where you can get access to live interactive sessions and a full library of high intensity low impact workouts inspired by yoga! We can’t wait to practice with you soon!
This post was written by Jennifer Dixon ERYT 500 and Authorized Ashtanga Yoga teacher. She has been a full time Yogi since 2016 and practicing yoga since a herniated disc ended her high impact exercise days over 10 years ago. She is the somewhat fearless Thrive Yoga Leader and is passionate about following her passions and love.