• Wed, Jan 2 2013

30 by 30: Why I Resolve To Lose Weight In 2013 (Even Though I Hate Resolutions)

weight loss resolution

I’m almost 30 years old and in those almost 30 years, I cannot recall a single resolution that I (or anyone else for that matter) 100% completed by the end of the year. I’ve always had a pretty extreme personality, so in the world of commitments and resolutions, that means I’m either all in or not interested at all. Over the years, as New Year’s resolutions go, this has included (but isn’t limited to): losing weight, learning to knit, scrapbooking my college years, losing weight, learning photography, committing to a daily skin routine, losing weight FOR REAL this time, paying down my debt, DEFINITELY losing weight this year, and so on and so on.

You see, I go all in–which almost always leads to a rapid burnout caused from exhaustion, boredom or sometimes even injury. By March (May if I’m lucky) my resolutions are a thing of the past, relinquished to the top of my closet or bottom of my trash bin. In 2010, I resolved to go on real dates instead of either a) doing the fake “hangout” dates or b) getting stuck in the friend zone (the chubby girl’s favorite fate). That ended in a solemn vow to join a nunnery. My scrapbook collection sits unfinished after Freshman year, my knitting needles are nowhere to be found, and I’m pretty sure there is a half-finished scarf still in my sock drawer. All signs point to New Year’s resolutions being completely and utterly worthless.

And weight loss has been no less frustrating. Last week I met a friend for lunch at one of my favorite little comfort restaurants in New York City. As we looked over the menu, she cautioned: “You better not be on a diet, because I want the spinach artichoke dip.” I laughed and told her that I’d been on a diet since I was 13, which is 100% true and 1000% depressing. If I added up all the weight I’ve lost at varying points in my life, including the 60 pounds I most recently shed in 2009 and 2010, I’d have lost 17 small children and be thinner than an Olsen twin. Funny how it doesn’t work like that. As life goes, I got distracted and unfocused and put those 60 pounds right back on my body. Awesome.

But for some reason, despite everything that has failed the past year, each January, we all believe in the promise of a fresh start, a new calendar, a chance to make the coming year your best one yet. And at the end of the day, what every girl who has ever struggled with her weight wants each January 1st is to hope, deep in her heart of hearts, that this is the year that the weight will come off. We buy the diet books, we order the cleanses and, like every other woman in America, we vow to go to the gym more.

When Blisstree asked me to write a weight loss column, my initial reaction was less than enthused. Did I really need another public forum for the world to watch me battle my body issues? But I looked at the calendar and realized that I had every opportunity to make this year MY year. In 2013, I resolve to stop obsessing about the number on the scale, spend at least four days a week at the gym, pay closer attention to what I consume and count calories regularly (EVEN booze). If I can keep these resolutions, my ultimate 2013 resolution is to lose 30 pounds before my 30th birthday (hence, the name of this column). That’s a little more than half a pound a week.

It won’t be easy: The gym is the worst in January. I will hate everyone who is there who I’ve never seen before and is filling up my classes or using my machines. “I’m glad you need to lose 10 pounds,” I’ll want to say to them, “but I need to lose 50 so get the hell off of my elliptical.” But at the end of the day, what gets me there is what got them in the door, too: the promise of something better. Better bodies, a better outlook, maybe even a better life. As cliché as it sounds, I’m not sure I’ll ever stop hoping that this year is when I finally figure out how to get the body (and life) that I have always known I deserve.

So once again, with the promise of a new year, and my 30th birthday looming at the end of this one, I am going to be “that girl.” I have made my resolutions and I will work my ass off to reach them. And if I fail by March…well, I’ve had 28 years of practice in that area, so I’m sure I’ll be just fine with my half-finished scarf and my Freshman memories.

Each week in this column, I’ll share a snapshot of my highs and lows for the week, and a +/- count of my weight progress.

And maybe, just maybe, I won’t need this column at all by 2014.

HIGH: While you are reading this, I am currently sitting on a beach in Hawaii with every person in my family that I love the most, with two weeks off from work and not a care in the world.

LOW: I’m also spending that two weeks in a one-piece bathing suit, hiding from bad photos (2012 was another year that I definitely DID NOT lose all of the weight). Good thing my 2013 resolution will keep that from ever happening again.

Photo: Shutterstock

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  • http://twitter.com/laurenislost Lauren Lever

    One thing that I like to do is start a “new year”‘s resolution after my birthday, that way it is specific to me and my goals and that way I don’t have to be in the gym with everyone else and their soon to be broken promises. In July, there is not a fitness rush like there is in January.

    • Kendyl

      Love this idea Lauren! My birthday is in February though, so not too different for me!

  • Disco84

    I’m a bit older than you and I’ve got kids now. I can’t tell you how I wish I had spent more time loving myself than trying to lose weight. It is one thing to adapt a healthier lifestyle that might or might not lead to a change in body shape or weight loss… But setting a goal to lose weight is a regrettable mistake. This is totally not meant to mommy jack at all, I promise. I just wish someone had encouraged me to love myself more when I was younger. Now, when I look at those pictures, that at the time felt horrible, I am so envious of my younger self and so sorry that I didn’t spend all that time feeling awesome because I was… As I am now :)

    • Kendyl

      Disco84 – you are definitely not mommyjacking. :) Learning to love myself at whatever size has been the most difficult part of my journey, but one that I’m happy to say I’ve conquered for the most part. It’s what gives me the strength to talk about my struggles so publicly – I’m ultimately happy with who I am regardless of my size, but with my personality, I definitely need a set goal weight to work towards. Thanks for commenting!

  • BFD

    Agree with Disco84. You’d be much better off moving and fueling your body for health reasons than for an arbitrary weight loss goal.

    Why not make your resolution to eat nutritious food and move your body most days of the week, and just learn to feel good about yourself? You need to learn to love and embrace the body you have right now, at this very moment, on that beach in Hawaii.

    And throw away your scale!!

    • Kendyl

      Thanks BFD – I do have health goals and love nutritious food, but having concrete goals and numbers helps keep me motivated even if I don’t live and die by those things. It may not work for everyone, but it works for me.

  • Brooke

    Dear Kendyl,

    I noticed that in the article you mentioned your body issues. I too have really struggled with my own body image issues and obsession with food. I struggle to stop thinking about what I have eaten, what I am going to eat or what I want to eat. I have found that these thoughts are more prevalent when I am forcing myself to lose weight, on some sort of mildly restrictive diet and exercise program where I require myself to track my intake. I lose weight for about two weeks and then it comes right back plus one or two pounds. I am still trying to break out of this cycle, but this time I’m doing it differently. Instead of focusing on putting the right number of calories in my body, I am focusing on putting the right kind of calories in my body. I have vowed to never again decline to eat the banana I want because I’ve already reached my “calorie limit”. If your body has weight to lose, it will do so when it feels safe. If this approach sounds intriguing, there are a bunch of documentaries on Netflix I found really inspiring. They explain things MUCH more effectively than I can. My favorites are Forks over Knives, Food Matters and Hungry for Change. Hungry for Change in particular was a good fit for the new year. I had already watched it once, but re-watching it helped solidify my goals.

    I hope you find all of the love and support you need from your community and yourself. Good on you for choosing to make a healthy resolution with specific parameters.

    Can’t wait to read about your great success!

    Love and Light,

    B

    • Kendyl

      Thanks for sharing Brooke – I will try to check out some of those documentaries, I recently joined Netflix!

  • Amy

    I turned 30 last October, generally love my body and how I look but still struggle with what I see in the mirror, how my clothes fit and my intake/enjoyment of rich, carby foods and alcohol. I understand that setting a pound limit may be helpful for you, but I agree with previous commenters that counting pounds and calories is not a long term solution to body health and happiness. I know that you know that, and I support you having a weight loss goal if that’s what you want and need, so allow me to make some suggestions:

    Hopefully you don’t overstress yourself by trying to hit the gym 4 days a week: that’s a BIG commitment for someone not already on that kind of schedule and frankly why many weight loss resolutions don’t work. Maybe start with 2 days/week + 1 alternative active day and work your way up? When you do go to the gym, please please don’t just hit the treadmill. Strength, suppleness, relaxation and sometimes just simply lubing up the joints will go a long way towards your overall health. I really advocate for functional strength building via yoga and pilates (many workouts available via Netflix which makes working out a cinch), and well as dance classes (fun, doesn’t feel like working out, helps with high-impact & good for your bones) or a brisk stroll around the neighborhood, even if it’s just for 30 minutes. Simply find a mix of ways to be more active and your body will respond positively in a few months. Also try to pay attention to your physical and mental health on a weekly basis. You might feel like 20 minutes of deep breathing and stretching doesn’t count as a “workout,” but I promise you it is just as important as 50 minutes on the elliptical. I had to get over that too. Say you’re tired and exhausted after a long day, but manage to do that instead of making it to the gym and you can feel good about it instead of feeling like a failure by missing a day.

    I mostly succeed at enjoying all foods in moderation. I set limits for myself, such as alcohol only/mostly on weekends (and if a weekday party comes up, so be it, but really trying to curtail the drinking at home), and challenging myself to have one low or no carb meal every few days. Smaller portions is a big way I keep a handle on fat and calorie intake while still enjoying the foods I love. I also try to pay attention to what I eat on a daily basis (mostly fail at this but regardless). Say I allow myself a fatty yummy croissant for breakfast then I will mentally note that and order a side salad instead of fries at dinner. This way I never feel like I am really depriving myself.

    Anyways, I have a lot to say on this topic as I feel that women only hurt themselves & their bodies by trying to maintain an unmanageable amount of intense exercise and meager diets. Finally they give up completely. I don’t care how much a girl weighs but she still needs to move her body a couple times a week, get her heart pumping and her joints moving and sweat a little or she is not taking care of the machine that moves her. Find the right balance and stay active instead of going so hard you give up.

    I wish you all the best and find what works for you and your body and mind! Here’s to chucking the scale and focusing on health instead.

  • Amy

    I turned 30 last October, generally love my body and how I look but still struggle with what I see in the mirror, how my clothes fit and my intake/enjoyment of rich, carby foods and alcohol. I understand that setting a pound limit may be helpful for you, but I agree with previous commenters that counting pounds and calories is not a long term solution to body health and happiness. I know that you know that, and I support you having a weight loss goal if that’s what you want and need, so allow me to make some suggestions:

    Hopefully you don’t overstress yourself by trying to hit the gym 4 days a week: that’s a BIG commitment for someone not already on that kind of schedule and frankly why many weight loss resolutions don’t work. Maybe start with 2 days/week + 1 alternative active day and work your way up? When you do go to the gym, please please don’t just hit the treadmill. Strength, suppleness, relaxation and sometimes just simply lubing up the joints will go a long way towards your overall health. I really advocate for functional strength building via yoga and pilates (many workouts available via Netflix which makes working out a cinch), and well as dance classes (fun, doesn’t feel like working out, helps with high-impact & good for your bones) or a brisk stroll around the neighborhood, even if it’s just for 30 minutes. Simply find a mix of ways to be more active and your body will respond positively in a few months. Also try to pay attention to your physical and mental health on a weekly basis. You might feel like 20 minutes of deep breathing and stretching doesn’t count as a “workout,” but I promise you it is just as important as 50 minutes on the elliptical. I had to get over that too. Say you’re tired and exhausted after a long day, but manage to do that instead of making it to the gym and you can feel good about it instead of feeling like a failure by missing a day.

    I mostly succeed at enjoying all foods in moderation. I set limits for myself, such as alcohol only/mostly on weekends (and if a weekday party comes up, so be it, but really trying to curtail the drinking at home), and challenging myself to have one low or no carb meal every few days. Smaller portions is a big way I keep a handle on fat and calorie intake while still enjoying the foods I love. I also try to pay attention to what I eat on a daily basis (mostly fail at this but regardless). Say I allow myself a fatty yummy croissant for breakfast then I will mentally note that and order a side salad instead of fries at dinner. This way I never feel like I am really depriving myself.

    Anyways, I have a lot to say on this topic as I feel that women only hurt themselves & their bodies by trying to maintain an unmanageable amount of intense exercise and meager diets. Finally they give up completely. I don’t care how much a girl weighs but she still needs to move her body a couple times a week, get her heart pumping and her joints moving and sweat a little or she is not taking care of the machine that moves her. Find the right balance and stay active instead of going so hard you give up.

    I wish you all the best and find what works for you and your body and mind! Here’s to chucking the scale and focusing on health instead.

    • Kendyl

      Love this Amy – thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts/tips.

  • irina

    it almost feels like reading my own diary. been on a diet since i was 14…will turn 30 towards the end of this year. fingers crossed for both me and you.

    • Kendyl

      Thanks Irina! Good luck to you on your journey!

  • http://twitter.com/HealthBeautyBlg Honeybee

    good luck with your resolution. I want to hear how will you handle the temptation to quit? Any diet or weight loss program is easy but stick to one is one difficult part.

    http://nondieter.blogspot.com