February Weigh In
By Lori Welch Brown
Don’t worry. I’m not going to ask you to step up onto the scale. Consider this more of a friendly check in, but feel free to weigh in as well. We’re a month plus into the new year, and I’m curious. Did you make any resolutions? If so, have you been able thus far to stick with them?
Personally speaking, I like resolutions because I’m a fan of goals, shiny new planners, and the belief that each new year brings a fresh, clean slate. I’m also a bit of a self-improvement junkie, always stretching and reaching to be the best version of myself. Frankly, I’m not even sure I’ve gotten to a ‘better’ version of myself, but at least I’ve written down some thoughts on how to get there in my planner.
As of this writing, I have managed to abstain from alcohol for 18 days with a goal of 31. ‘Dryuary’ has quite a buzz around it. Sorry—I couldn’t resist the pun. Millions of people take a hiatus from drinking during the month of January as a reset. I’ve done it in the past, and wanted to give it a shot again. It was time. The over-indulgence of the past two years has been weighing me down in more ways than just the number on the scale.
COVID-19 provided a nice excuse to indulge and coddle myself so, like many, I found myself drinking more and using comfort food as a security blanket. Hello, pistachio ice cream. While that plan provided some immediate gratification along with a false sense of security, I’m left with a pillow around my midsection. The progress I had previously made with the nutrition app, Noom, went by the wayside, directly onto the waistline. I now find myself staring down at the scale in disbelief as if a steady diet of chocolate croissants and potato chips might have had a slimming effect. In my dreams…
I’m also finding more and more excuses to not do things that once brought me joy, as well as energy, such as taking yoga classes, riding my bike, and running. It’s cold outside. Too cold. Too many people. Omnicron. Achy joints. Not enough time. Tomorrow.
Guess you could say, I’m in a slump. Maybe it’s February weighing me down, maybe it’s the aftermath of two years of pandemic-fueled anxiety, or maybe it’s just general malaise. Whatever the reason, I’m not liking how I’m feeling. I hate the way my pants fit, or rather don’t fit. I tried on my jeans the other day, and let’s just say it didn’t go well. I countered that by purchasing two new pairs in a size I’m not happy about, and caught myself before I ordered more. “This is temporary,” I thought. “It won’t be, however, if you stock your closet full of them.”
All of my poor choices have left me feeling sluggish, often waking up tired. That’s no way to live. I want to greet the day with energy and enthusiasm without needing two cups of coffee to fuel up. Although I do love my coffee so no dry java months in my future.
There’s no going back so I’m not beating myself up over yesterday’s bad decisions. It’s been a challenging time, but it’s time to move upward and onward. It’s also time, however, to stop leaning on a wine bottle, a box of pasta, and a pound of chocolate for support. It’s time to put the big girl panties on and get back to a life of purpose, meaning, and movement. One that is not fear-based or reliant on external stimulants and mac n’ cheese motivators.
Here’s the thing I’ve learned about goals. You can’t tackle everything at once. You can’t overwhelm yourself. Start small and increase the goal or add another small goal once you have a win under your belt. In my case, I couldn’t fit anything under my belt—including a win, if I tried.
Notice I didn’t start with giving up alcohol and sugar and losing 20 pounds and riding my bike six miles every day. No, I kept it simple with one thing. Hopefully, achieving my goal will give me the confidence and motivation to tackle something else like maybe no desserts on weekdays. If I slip up—or fall back on the wagon in this case—that’s okay too. I’ll dust myself off and get back up (or off?). I’m trying to be a bit kinder to myself this year too.
Let’s break some bad habits and move the dial just a bit to healthier, more energetic version of ourselves. What better way to begin a new year than with a fresh outlook and a little kindness towards ourselves. Shake off the February blues and remember Spring will be here before we know it.
While this might be the time to start thinking about a marathon, I don’t think February is when we are supposed to be running one. Winter is about rest and restoration. There’s a reason bears hibernate ya know. Enjoy some time cuddling up in front of a fire (or heater) with a good book, a fur baby, or your sweetheart and don’t feel guilty about it. Just try not to eat the entire sleeve of cookies while you’re doing it. Speaking of which, isn’t it Girl Scout cookie time?
P.S. Happy Valentine’s to all of you, but especially the singles. Give yourselves a big hug and buy yourself some chocolate—the really good stuff. You deserve it.
About the Author: Lori is a local writer, painter and pet lover who loves to share her experiences and expertise with our readers. She has been penning a column for the OTC for over 20 years. Please follow Lori online on Medium for more missives like this.