You've survived another holiday season, one of the coldest storms on record for early winter, and probably even spent a little time thinking about the year to come. Millions of people have finished up their year making resolutions to do better in some way—sleep more, eat better, lose weight, save more money, or whatever they feel they are missing. Millions more have celebrated a year come and gone with only a resolution to make no resolutions. No matter which camp you fall into, resolutions often fail. Not because they aren’t worthy, or because their crafter is weak-willed, but because resolutions by themselves are not enough to create changes in habits. And little changes can add up.
We've recently started carrying a new weight loss supplement—I’m very excited about it, especially for those who get stuck in “leptin resistance” and can’t lose weight. But by itself, it's not a magic pill. It takes sustainable change to reduce weight and improve your health. As an experiment, I just added the supplement and made no other changes. I have 20 lbs I’d like to lose. It’s not horrible, but I made a choice last year to focus on other things and not worry about the weight. This year I decided it comes off. So I’ve been taking the supplement for 6 weeks with no other changes and I’ve lost about 3 lbs and 7 inches in total body measurements (waist, neck, chest, hips, arms, thighs, and calves) with the bulk coming off the waist and hips so far. I notice I’m less hungry and I’m craving more veggies with it.
I’ve also been reviewing the research of what’s out there as far as nutrition, inflammation, and weight loss. The data on fasting periodically and its ability to help your body renew itself is remarkable. I’ve looked at the research cited by the China Study, Dr. Gundry (who’s all about eliminating lectins from the diet), and Dr. Anderson (who’s all about how to regulate mental health with diet and exercise whenever possible). The trends are clear and consistent with what I already knew with some new twists. Even moderate calorie restriction for a few days a month can mimic the benefits of traditional fasting. Sugar is bad, fake sugar (with a few exceptions) is worse. Fruits are ok in moderation and when in season. Grains and starches are often just sugars in disguise! And a little quality meat can be beneficial but too much is not good either—many keto diets are far too meat heavy to be healthy in the long run.
I learned some other new things—not eating for at least 4 hours before sleep and waiting for a solid 18 hours to eat again a day or two a week can dramatically improve the housekeeping processes of the brain, leading to reduced inflammation. While I don’t know that I subscribe to the idea that lectins are disastrous for everyone, I have to admit there are enough case studies and examples that suggest if you haven't tried eating lectin-free for 30 days and you struggle with chronic inflammation of any kind, you should give it a shot. In many cases, if you give the gut adequate time to heal, you can add some of those lectin-containing foods back in moderation.
I firmly believe most people in the US are dangerously deficient in vegetables, both in quantity and variety. Many things you “don’t like” are reflections of which bacteria dominate your gut microbiome and as you change your food, you change your flora and your tastes will reflect those changes.
So, for the next 90 days, I’m going to follow the Longevity Paradox meal plan from Dr. Gundry along with my weight loss supplement. I do plan to have occasional sourdough bread in small amounts because I've tried being completely gluten-free in the past and my body feels worse with none. But there’s a huge difference between an occasional small slice of sourdough from organic non-GMO grains and the typical loaf of bread or biscuit available in stores. But other than that small variation, I plan to follow his plan closely. And I'll see what the scale says then.
If you would like to try that weight loss supplement—it’s available for order here
*Note there is both a straight retail option and a membership option for a discount—either way, it comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee!
So back to those resolutions...and why so many fail.
Goals that are not measured typically are not achieved—take for example:
“I want to exercise more in 2023”. This alone is a resolution doomed to failure!
What kind of exercise? When? How often? For how long? Let’s say you decide you want to complete a 10k run by the end of the year. That’s slightly better but still highly likely to fail unless you are already consistently running close to that distance regularly. But let’s assume like many well-intentioned resolutions, you aren't sure you can run around the block...how do you successfully turn that resolution into a completed goal?
1. Pick an actual goal date—Find a race or set a date to run that distance on your own and work backward and make sure it’s far enough out for you to have adequate time to reach your goal.
2. Break it down—If, for example, you want to run a 10k by November, you probably should be able to run a 5k by June...there are a bunch of “Couch to 5k” running guides out there—find one to help you plan.
3. Break it down again—If you want to run 5k by June, you probably should be close to 2.5k by March. That’s a reasonable time length to build a plan around.
4. Make your 90-day plan—Work back from 5k to 2.5k to 0k—and write it out. Then pick one thing you can do today to get you started. Perhaps it’s seeking advice on where to run, reaching out to a local running club, or getting outside to do a test run of how far you can go without straining right now.
5. This is most important—every day when you complete that “mini goal”—celebrate! Give yourself a high five, bask in your awesomeness; give your brain a little “dopamine rush” and help it see the benefit of completing these goals.
That's just one example—maybe your exercise goal is to maintain your current good habits. Then you might say “I will continue to lift weights for 45 min 3 days per week and get over 10K steps a day at least 5 days a week”. Or maybe your goal is to get up out of a chair without struggling— break down how to make that goal work for you!
Sometimes we know all these tricks and we still somehow “get in our own way” and as a result, don’t achieve our goals. When that happens, coaching can be immensely valuable in addressing the hidden things that are holding us back from the life we want. Depending on your needs, I may recommend working with one of the coaches I know; or in some cases working with myself and my equine partners in an equine gestalt session over at Rowdy Cowgirl Coaching.
New Year's resolutions are a great way to set goals and work towards self-improvement. While it can be challenging to stick to resolutions, it is important to remember that progress, not perfection, is the key to success. Don't be too hard on yourself if you struggle to meet your goals, and remember to celebrate your victories along the way. With determination and the right strategies, you can make lasting positive changes in your life in the new year and beyond!