Yup, it’s that time again. I went to the gym on Wednesday for the first time in three weeks, and it was swamped. The treadmills are especially popular in January, as people attempt to walk their way towards whatever weight-loss number they chose as a New Year’s resolution. It happens every January, then by around April or so, the gym population is back to normal.
I’ve also noticed the usual shift in lunch choices around the office. Several women have been dutifully putting their Weight Watchers Smart Ones into the microwaves, then dutifully pretending to enjoy the pasta with fat-free sauce. I saw one woman eat a Smart Ones meal, then chase it with a small bag of fat-free popcorn. Good luck with that.
For the first time in years, I’ll be joining the ranks of people starting the new year with a determination to lose weight. As to why, I’ll give the short version first: I gained 12 pounds in three weeks.
Now for the longer version: I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the food. Yeah, I enjoyed stuffing and potatoes and pumpkin pie on Christmas and the day after, but that’s par for the course. Same goes for the pizza on New Year’s.
The big difference this year was booze consumption. I just flat-out overdid it. After months of being in near-constant work mode (the programming job, the book, the blog, etc.), I gave myself permission to be a slug over the holidays. I binge-watched some Amazon and Netflix series I’ve wanted to see, often staying up until 2 or 3 AM to do so, and indulging in good beer, good wine, or good single-malt scotch for the entire viewing session.
Alcohol, of course, is remarkably efficient at shutting down fat-burning. The liver also turns the stuff into fat if it’s not burned away … and I’m pretty sure I didn’t burn it away while sitting in my easy chair and watching four episodes of Mr. Robot in a row.
So I knew I’d gain some weight, but waved the thought away with yeah-yeah-yeah, I’m going to enjoy this holiday break, then worry about that later. Even so, I have to admit I was a wee bit surprised when I stepped on the gym scale for the first time since mid-December.
Twelve pounds?! Seriously?!
Yes, seriously. It’s a reminder of how easily I can gain weight if I don’t watch what goes down the hatch.
But here’s the difference between my resolution now and the resolutions I made in my thirties and forties: I know what to do, I know it will work, and I know it won’t be unpleasant. No little bowls of Grape-Nuts with skim milk for breakfast, no Slim-Fast shakes instead of meals, no dry toast, no rice cakes, no Smart Ones low-fat meals, and no trying to ignore gnawing hunger while waiting for the next calorie-restricted, tasteless meal. I just have to get back to what I was doing before: regular workouts and high-protein, low-carb meals. Sausage and eggs, here I come.
I also know not to set an arbitrary goal, such as I’m going to lose 30 pounds by March! That’s how people set themselves up for failure. The way to lose weight is to stick to a diet that enables weight loss, then let the number on the scale take care of itself.
While I was binge-watching and scotch-drinking myself into needing to loosen my belt, Chareva was banging away on the book, trying to beat a Christmas deadline for finishing all the drawings and page layouts. She missed the deadline by a few days, and apologized for being tardy.
I told her I’d briefly considered filing for divorce, but thought better of it. We set the Christmas deadline as a motivator, and she was clearly motivated. We’ve gone over the book page-by-page several times, and I have to say, I’m delighted. Her drawings are the perfect complement to the text. Now we’ll get preview copies out to a few people and go from there.
There’s plenty more to do – such as the film version — but I’m expecting good things to come of this project, which means I’m already jazzed about 2017, even with the extra pounds to lose.
Happy New Year, everyone.