Happy New Year by Alice Gaines

We’ve opened all the presents and thrown out the wrapping paper.  The ham are turkey are eaten.  If you still have left-overs, you might want to consider throwing them out.  At least give them a good sniff and heat them up before eating.  (If anyone asks, you didn’t get that advice from me.)  All that’s left is New Year’s Resolutions.  I was watching a segment of a television show yesterday that covered the most common New Year’s Resolutions and how to keep them.  Let me give you my take on the subject.

Most common resolution #3:  Give up smoking.  I gave it up years and years ago.  Here’s how I did it.  I was working as a temporary office worker, and just about everywhere I went I wasn’t allowed to smoke except on breaks and during lunch hour.  I learned to go for hours without a cigarette.  After a while, I figured if I could do that, I could limit my smoking to five per day.  That way, I always knew there was a cigarette coming, and I could cope with that.  Coincidentally, I switched doctors, and the new one yelled at me for a full five minutes.  I figured if I was going to keep him, I’d have to try to quit.  I told myself that if, after 30 days, I just couldn’t cope, I’d go back to smoking.

After 30 days, most of the cravings were gone, and I could call myself a non-smoker.  The cravings didn’t fully go away for years.  One would sneak up on me every once in a while.  The thing about the cravings is that, as terrible as they are, they don’t last very long.  I’d time the intervals between cravings.  As I saw the intervals increase in length, I knew I was making progress.  Everyone has their own way of dealing with this problem, so mine may not work for you.  But remember millions of people have done this.  You can, too.  And take the money you would have spent on cigarettes and buy yourself something wonderful.  Or go on to the next resolution.

Most common resolution #2:  Save money.  I’m not good at this one.  I’ve had long periods in my life when I just barely scraped by with necessities.  People who think saving is easy—just cut down on lattes—need to talk to people who honestly cannot afford lattes and cut them out years ago.  Fortunately, I’m not in that position any longer.

The television show had a great idea I’m going to try.  I’m a huge internet shopper.  The show suggested putting all the stuff you want in your shopping cart and leaving it there for 24 hours.  They said many companies will then send you coupons for the things in your cart.  Instant savings.  Plus, you may discover after a day that you don’t want that stuff, after all.

Most common New Year’s Resolution #1:  Lose weight.  I’ve had a weight problem all my life.  I’ve been as low as 120 pounds (way too little for me.  I actually had a mild case of anorexia.) to 275.  A few years ago, I’d gotten back up to 240.  I knew what I had to do to lose weight.  Sorry to say, no magic.  Exercise and limiting calories.

I’m a huge believer in exercise for everyone.  It’s the best thing you can do for your health along with giving up smoking.  Find something that gets your heart going but is comfortable for you.  In the last several years, we’ve learned that interval training is extremely efficient.  Do what you do at full speed for 40 seconds and follow that with 20 seconds of a moderate rate.  I do about five minutes of intervals and intersperse some weight lifting.  I repeat the process for 35 minutes.  You’ll get a full work out in a small amount of time.

Limiting calories actually is best done by changing the types of food you eat.  Ditch the soda, or as my coworker calls it “diabetes in a can.”  Eliminate as much sugar as you can.  Discover how delicious vegetables are.  Really.  Grow your own, if you can, for maximum flavor.  A homegrown tomato is the most delicious food in the world.

Then get yourself a weight loss app.  I use Lose It.  It’s free at loseit.com.  You tell it your height, weight, and how much you want to lose.  It tells you how many calories you can have.  You get extra credit for exercise.  They have hundreds of foods and the calorie and nutrition content, and you can add foods of your own.  Input your exercise and food every day, make friends, enter challenges, and watch the weight come off.  There are other apps, too.  Find one you like and use it religiously.

Oh, and allow yourself to go off the wagon and splurge from time to time.  Life without dessert would be too bleak to consider.  Just get back to your regular routine.  I now weigh 180.  I’m not a fashion model, but I look good in clothes, and I’m happy with myself.

My New Year’s Resolution?  Clean my house.  Until last January, I had a day job.  In my off time, I could either clean house or write.  You can guess what I chose.  My house got so bad, I had what I’ve heard called CHAOS—Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome.  With any luck, I can make major progress on that this year.

Whatever your resolutions are, face this new year with a sense of joy and accomplishment.  You’re worth it.


My Amazon page is http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Gaines/e/B003ZO8D70/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

My website/blog is http://www.alicegaines.blogspot.com.  You can sign up for my newsletter there.  I occasionally raffle off my hand-knitted and crocheted items to my subscribers.

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