A new year often includes new year's resolutions, promises to change bad behaviors, do things better, and, if you're a guy, the number one resolution is likely to drop some of these pounds that have strangely appeared after a month of consuming massive quantities of decidedly unhealthy foodstuffs.
This is a lofty goal. And then the harsh reality sets in – men, in general, are not very good at keeping new year's resolutions. In fact, nobody is all that great at keeping resolutions.
If you're a guy, and you're reading this, trust me, I feel for you. I am by no means a paragon of optimal health. While I'm pretty physically active, I freely admit that, yes, I'm packing around about thirty more pounds than I should, and have been known to enjoy the bounties of Thanksgiving and Christmas a wee bit too much.
Or a lot bit too much.
I'm sure I'm going to step on the scale in January, peek at the spinning numbers through my fingers and come to the conclusion, yes, I've had far too much turkey, eggnog, beer, chocolate, beer, stuffing, candy, beer, and beer over the holidays, and now it's time to lose that weight.
I say that just about every year, and the past few years, the numbers on that scale have been creeping in the wrong direction.
Now, I have made this work in the past, when I was younger and had something of a zoom-zoom metabolism. With age supposedly comes something called “wisdom,” along with the inability to scarf down half a pepperoni pizza with no side effects.
I've failed in the past. How do I make it work in the future?
I have a plan. A guy-centric plan, and one that just might work for you.
Don't Go Completely Cold Turkey
And I just made myself hungry again. Eating better doesn't mean I have to completely give up those treats and snacks, I just need to eat them less often. This leads to a side note...
Never Shop When Hungry
If you are going to the grocery store before dinner, even if you have the best of intentions, somehow you'll likely end up with a shopping cart full of potato chips. Eat dinner, then shop.
Make Exercise Fun
I've tried the treadmills, the exercise bikes, the various machines that end in “FLEX” and whatnot, and I find them boring as all get out. I'm a competitive guy, and I find I like to play competitive sports. So instead of slogging on the stair machine for an hour, I'm going to start playing outdoor basketball, racquetball, and I hear dodgeball is a thing again in some places. Back in my day, it was school-sanctioned violence.
If basketball isn't your thing, find something that is. Maybe you like going out into the wilderness, make it a brisk three-mile hike to add a cardio component. Find what works for you.
Like I said about not going cold turkey, after an hour or so of basketball, I'm going to give myself a little reward. Maybe it's a beer or a (small) slice of leftover pumpkin pie. A carrot is more attractive than a stick, especially since I'm unlikely to actually beat myself with a stick.
This is always the tricky part, and part of the reason I like playing competitive sports, as losing all the time is a great motivator to play harder.
If you are going to go the gym route, look into using a personal trainer. Costs vary from gym to gym but if you want to be serious about getting into shape and losing weight, having someone make sure you finish those last five reps can be worth it.
Another idea would be online activity trackers, such as the FitBit. These devices monitor your activity and some can even be set up to see what your neighbors with similar hardware are doing, and you can actually make walking to the mailbox and back into a competition.
Beating my annoying neighbor at exercise? That's something I can get behind.
So that's my plan. It may need some adjustments, but come February, I'll be interesting to see where I'm at.
By Dave Meddish, Healthy Goods