My hubby and I are, in many ways, like two peas in a pod.
Agreeing in the logic over how weight loss works between genders is not one of them.
Lest you think I’m some sort of cheeseburger guzzler, I have actually (in the past) spent months with a nutritionist, obsessively calorie counting to meet someone’s magic idea of how many calories a woman should consume, only to not have the scale move one iota. Following that colossal six-week failure of 1200 calories a day, I was told by the nutritionist that perhaps I should increase my caloric intake by 200 calories a day and see if that helps.
So when hubs said to me that we needed to lose some weight this year, I didn’t break out the nunchakus on his hind end when he said that only because he said “we.” Instead, he almost got nunchaku’d because he applied man logic to my previous failures to lose any significant weight when I
whined about it calmly explained my frustration.
“Anne,” he said, “It’s mind over matter. Eat less, do more.”
Men really are from Mars.
This is how “mind over matter” works, when you’re a female trying to lose weight in the winter.
Body: Holy crap it’s cold. I’m SO cold. I’m freezing my butt off.
Brain: Oi. Maybe you can put that extra flab you’re carrying around to good use and BURN it to stay warm. Isn’t that what it’s for anyway?
Body: I MIGHT NEED THAT FOR LATER!
Brain: Trust me. You’ve got plenty to spare. Light her up.
Body: HEY! You’re not the boss of me. *
Brain: … Suddenly I want to eat nachos. SO BAD. WTF?
Body: See? *PTTHHHBHB*
Brain: Listen up, jerkface. I’m in charge of this operation. If you don’t get your act in gear, I’m going to “make a decision” to make you suffer at the gym.
Body: Ugh. If I make you pee 5 pounds off in water, will you leave me alone? You know I’m just going to do that anyway to make you think you’re getting somewhere.
Brain: No. NOW USE IT UP.
Body: Dork. Fine, I’ll use up the boobs first.
So, yeah, it’s not hard to see why many women get frustrated and give up with a weight loss resolution.
If you made a resolution to achieve a numerical value–be it calories, or pounds, or pant size–then you should stop it right now. You’re just going to make yourself crazy when things move slowly.
Instead, you should choose a few small resolutions that are more immediate and fulfilling, but at the same time angled at changing the lifestyle that got you where you are, and changing it for the better.
- I’m going to eat more salads.
- I’m going to start doing meatless Monday. Or at least one day of the week.
- I’m going to use those breaks I never take at work to do 15 minute meditation in my chair.
- I’m going to take the kids to public ice skating on Fridays… and I’m going to skate with them!
- I’m going to try to walk for just fifteen minutes every day on my dusty treadmill.
- I’m going to switch to skim milk in my latte.
- I’m going to cook more.
- Pizza only once a month instead of every Wednesday.
- I’m going to care more about how I feel.
If you’re with me, then you’ll take one more important resolution to heart: toss the darn scale. Really, it’s a pretty poor indicator of progress.
Instead, use how you feel to let you know how you’re doing. Count your progress by minutes on the treadmill, or days gone without your knees getting sore. Measure it by how you gradually stop getting out of breath when you climb the stairs, and how you stop hating going for walks with the dogs.
Start small, and give yourself new challenges when you feel up to it. And if you miss a day, don’t sweat the big stuff. Just pick it up the next day.
And most importantly, don’t forget the most important progress indicator: how happy you feel when you think of how you’re doing with your resolution.
The weight will come. Eventually. Who gives a darn about an arbitrary number on the back of your jeans anyway?
But more importantly, better health will come first without making you feel deprived and angsty.
Good luck with your new resolutions!