The New Year is traditionally when diet advertisers flood media with solutions to being fat. We get regaled with promises of a new life through keto, low fat, intermittent fasting, low carb, or meal delivery to name a few plans.
Beginning May 1st of 2020, I shed 60 lbs, only to regain 45 lbs during the pandemic, and again, re-shedding that gain during COVID to be down over 65 lbs in total today. Phew! That’s a lot of down/up/down, and my body is in whiplash mode.
Like lots of others, I’ve blamed my regaining those 45 lbs on the pandemic. This is, however, incorrect thinking on my part. I regained that weight because I couldn’t successfully process all the emotions about the pandemic and everything else going on in our now-crazy world. These emotions include fear, anger, worry, and frustration. I have been plagued by failure and then swung the other direction to euphoric success during the ups and downs of my weight. As I have done much of my life, I used food to comfort and shield me from emotions and to even out the highs and lows.
What does my gaining and shedding over 100 lbs have to do with aging gratefully?
I’m bringing it up here for two reasons: first, making huge changes in my lifestyle supports the ongoing motto of this website of it never being too late to do what you want and accomplish a big goal. Secondly, my weight reduction efforts represent an active participation in life at a time when many seniors are saying, “Well, I haven’t done XYZ by now, so I’m going to let go of that dream.”
On the surface, it looks like food provides comfort, eliminates stress, and gives us a reward. We eat thinking it will calm us and make us think of more pleasant times when everything was less complicated and rosier. We eat to acknowledge something tough that we’ve accomplished or overcome. It’s ironic that a particular food can be the proverbial carrot to our deeds – and the reward is never the carrot. Sadly, food can be that companion we long for, someone/something to keep us company when we feel the humans in our lives have failed us. Food is pleasing and can be perceived as a solution to our problems.
Unfortunately, food is and does none of those things. This is a fact we often learn immediately after consuming it. It’s a vicious cycle.
With New Year’s just happening, it’s time to reflect and see what we want our future to include, what we want to accomplish, and what will make the remaining years of our life the happiest and most satisfying. For myself, I’ve still got lots to learn about me and food … and emotions. That’ll be my private tutorial.
This weight reduction event has pleased me, not only for the obvious looking and feeling better, but also because it’s another clue that I can do what is needed, on my own, to improve the circumstances of my life … just to please me – no one else and for no other reason like a man, a job, a special event, or an outfit.
What About You?
As we get further into the new year, think about if there is something that would thrill you to accomplish 1) because of the thing itself and 2) as further evidence of your ability to affect change that which is important to you. It’s completely possible and highly probable that you could be sitting right here a year from now feeling delighted by your own accomplishment. We don’t know what lies ahead, so don’t wait too long.
Happy New Year!!