TFS Wednesday: New Year, New You?

The gyms are crowded, Weight Watchers meetings are full and diet books and magazines are flying off the shelves; it's January.  It's a new year so it’s a great time to get started on a whole new you, right?  
Guess after two kids I'll have to pass on that virgin diet.  Now the MILF . . .

Well, yes. . . and no.  It’s always a good idea to work on better eating habits, but I would argue that January is one of the worst months to begin this process.  

Motivation is easy to find in January.  You might be feeling a little softer around the middle after all that holiday (over)eating.  Then the media starts their ruthless campaign to make you hyper-aware of all your body imperfections and the amazing array of products available to fix each and every one.  Magazine covers and morning news shows assure you they know exactly which diet and exercises will have you looking like a (photo shopped) super model.  

It’s all so tempting.  Could I really have flat abs and a perfectly toned arse by spring?  Even though I’ve had the same stomach and butt for my entire adult life?  You say you have the solution?  Well, OK then, let me just get out my wallet (which is thin from its own Christmas overload).

If you truly want to eat healthier and add more exercise to your life, the January overload can actually make it harder rather than easier and, I believe, diminish your chances of success.  

Too many diet books screaming at you at the same time only makes it harder to figure out which (if any) of them are right for you.  Most will work, but usually only until you run out of their recipes (around week 2) or you get sick of eating weird food that you have to carry around with you because no restaurants are serving it.  

As I pointed out earlier, gyms and Weight Watchers meetings are packed in January.  It is the worst time to get individual attention or a spot on the best treadmill (the one with the best view of the TV’s).  Both of these are great places to be, but you will find them much easier to navigate in February (or any other month).  The sad truth is that the majority of people who flock to the gym or join Weight Watchers are going to quit within the first month.  I wonder how much of that is unrealistic expectations and how much is crowd frustration.  

So, what can you do when you are feeling a little too winter flabby?  My best answer for January is baby steps.  Just going back to the way you normally eat, before all party food and baked goods, should drop a pound or two.  If you want to eat healthier, you don’t need a $30 diet book to tell you to eat more fruits and veggies.  If you just add one to every meal in January, I predict you would drop another pound or two.  Then you are on a roll (and losing your rolls).  If you are ready to hit the gym or get group support to keep you going after the first few pounds, February would be an ideal time to get started.