The year 2011 is different from years past. Rather than starting on January 1, binging my way through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, I hopped on the train before the holidays. I counted calories and worked out, losing eleven pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. For some, that isn’t much, but I couldn’t have been prouder. I ate my favorite treats, baked for multiple parties, and still managed to lose weight.
This year, I’m happy with myself. Sure, I’d like to (and plan to) lose twenty more pounds, but my happiness and self-worth are no longer dependent on my weight or whether I can fit into a size 4. In 2010, I learned to embrace and love myself. My legs are plumper than I’d prefer, but they’ve carried me many miles. 2011 is different because I’m confident, committed, and most importantly, I have a plan. No more fad diets or crazy cleanses for me. I’ve found my sweet spot with eating, a way of life where I focus on real food and intuitive eating. I trust myself to make healthy choices and allow for occasional indulgences. This isn’t a diet; this is my life.
While I don’t buy into making resolutions, I do believe in reflecting on the past year and preparing for the upcoming one. This process, for me, ends with resolve. Whereas resolution is a noun, a title for things I would like to accomplish or change, resolve is a verb, it is the action step between creating a list of wants and seeing the results. Resolve is about going beyond the talking to actually making things happen. For me, this element is what I have been missing for a long time. I could whine and complain about my weight, health, and lack of fitness with the best of them for a long time, but I never did anything about it.
For 2011, I identified the areas where I want to better myself, and I made a plan. I set out clear goals—not the generic lose weight, exercise, or eat better, knowing goals are only as good as the work behind them. We can’t just name it and claim it; we have to put in the work to reap the rewards. I won’t magically wake up one morning twenty pounds lighter, but I will lose one or two pounds per week.
It’s not just about the weight—it’s about feeling good, being healthy, and respecting my body for what it can do. The respect part is the one most challenging for me. I complained that my hips were too wide, thighs too thick, and arms too flabby. I never took inventory of what I appreciated about my body—my long legs, my clear skin, or my intelligence. In my navel gazing, I failed to fully grasp the fact that I should be thankful that my body is healthy, that I am able to run, and that I have access to clean water and an adequate food supply. Not everyone is so blessed to have these things, and they certainly aren’t sitting around complaining about a few extra pounds.
This is not about a few goals for the year; this is my passion. It took me all of last year to really learn that I love experimenting in the kitchen, shaking things up in the gym, running faster and farther. I guess it’s always better late than never. Where I used to enjoy eating out daily, I now look forward to creating delicious meals from scratch using local and sustainable ingredients.
Losing weight isn’t just for a year; it’s for a lifetime. But, most importantly, losing weight and exercising is about giving my body what it needs. It’s not about gorging on low-fat or low-carb snacks and filling up on diet soda, it’s about choosing whole, healthy foods that provide the nutrients required for my body to work according to its design. If I never make it to my “dream weight,” I want to find and live at a healthy weight, one where I can maintain without too much effort, but also where I am minimizing my risk for weight-related illnesses.
Here we are late in January, and my motivation is still high. I’ve been completing my training runs, creating delicious meals and snacks, and enjoying watching the scale drop all at the same time. Long gone are the years of resolutions, despair, guilt, and hating my body for what it wasn’t. 2011 is the year of resolve, self-love, and appreciating my body for what it can do, like running 13.2.