Ryan: The Last Diet Resolution You'll Ever Make

*  Enjoy a repost of a blog I wrote to ring in 2019.  The sentiments still apply!

I’ve always had an intense love-hate relationship with New Year’s.  On the one hand, I love the sense of starting over in a brand new year.  As much as I love the trappings of the Christmas season, I’m inevitably ready to say good-bye to it.  I pack up the decorations the very next day, and I take great satisfaction in the reclaimed space...in my living room….and in my own head.  On the other hand, I typically begin to review the previous year and make a mental inventory of the things that I need to change.

For most of my 46 years, the week between Christmas and New Year’s has been about one thing….the resolution to lose weight in the new year.  I would happily plot and plan for whatever new diet plan I was obsessing about at the moment. I wonder how much time I spent setting up home gyms, making shopping lists for the new, healthy foods I would eat, buying notebooks for the food journals I would religiously keep, and setting up online accounts with various fitness trackers.  

 I really loved the planning phase.  Of course, during this time, I was also compulsively eating everything in sight, especially if it was in Christmas packaging.  It was my main mission to eat up all the holiday leftovers...just to tidy up really. Gotta finish those chocolates before the new year….candy is not on the plan.  A dozen candy canes from the tree? Add them as stirrers to the endless supply of hot cocoa. Festive and functional! But I don’t even like candy canes! Sigh.

I essentially spent the last week of every year “enjoying” one last bender before I became a brand new person.  I couldn’t completely see the flaw in my logic since I literally did it every year for decades. I would ring in each New Year with high hopes and intense gastrointestinal distress.  Good plan.  

Have you ever seen a viral video of some poor sucker trying to stand upright on a patch of slippery ice?  That was me on January 1st….and every day after. I would try desperately to get my feet under me, to eat the “right” foods, to exercise every day, to record all the data that would keep me motivated and prove to myself that my plan was working.  It wasn’t long before I was flailing about, fudging the data, or making deals with myself, like I will just rip this one page out of the journal and start fresh on Monday morning. Whose dumb idea was it to start a new year on a Wednesday anyway? I ended up flat on my face….every time.

That was my life, a seemingly endless cycle of futility.  Until the discovery of intermittent fasting opened up a whole new world for me.  I found a way that truly works, and I will NEVER make another diet resolution again.  I don’t need to. I still eat more food than I need during the holidays, but it’s a joyful celebration not desperate housekeeping.  I maintain a daily fast, knowing that there is not failure in the window, no reason to throw in the towel and “start over” in a week or a month or new year.

Even better, the head space that has been freed up from constantly obsessing over diets has allowed me to make more meaningful resolutions.  This year I will deepen my yoga practice and write a novel. I know that I can reach those goals because I really didn’t believe that I could get off the diet roller coaster, but IF showed that I can do a lot more than I ever realized.  

It can do that for you, too.