Reasons Not To Break Your New Year’s Resolutions
By Karol Markowicz
January 7, 2018 | 8:44pm
Here we are, a week after New Year’s, and let’s be honest: You’re a failure.
This was the year you were going to join the gym, change your diet and lose some weight. By now, though, many people — probably you included — have failed at their resolutions and soon, like all the years before, most of the other resolution-makers will join them in that failure. A study out of the University of Scranton found that the great majority of people, around 80 percent, ultimately break their New Year’s vows.
But is it your fault you can’t lose weight? Let’s review.
Two days after you resolved to house green shakes and vegetables with every meal, something called a “bomb cyclone” hit your area. You diligently went to the store before the storm and stocked up on the bread, eggs and milk everyone else seemed to be buying.
What were you supposed to do but make French toast with that for every meal of the snow-in? And then follow that up by eating all the food in your refrigerator. It’s cold; food keeps you warm.
Ruling: Not your fault.
You’ve also continued to knock back the alcohol well past the holidays. Celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels says, “When you’re trying to lose weight, alcohol is the No. 1 enemy.”
Look, it’s hard to get back into the swing of things after the holidays. One minute you’re wearing glitter eyeshadow and dancing under a mistletoe, the next everyone’s Christmas tree is in a pile on the curb and all the twinkly lights on your block have been replaced by the usual blinking street lamp. It’s depressing! You actually need a drink now more than you did when everyone was joyously exchanging gifts.
Maybe we as a society need to rethink when we do the majority of our yearly boozing, but it’s still time to put down that Manhattan.
Ruling: Somewhat your fault.
You have children and even though you’re eating salad for every meal, they continue to demand that you feed them non-lettuce items. So you make the mac-n-cheese, the grilled cheese, the spaghetti with butter — and then when they don’t finish it all, you do. You have no time to go to the gym because there are these little people demanding all of your time and attention. You feel guilty when you leave them to go work out and guilty when you don’t.
You’re not alone. About 50 percent of gym-goers give up by the end of January.
Ruling: A little bit your fault.
Lisa Reisner, a registered dietitian in Long Island who runs the Instagram account @therealisticdietitian, actually agrees that our inability to lose weight is not entirely our fault. While she does say that “the only way to get healthy and lose weight is to change your lifestyle,” she also acknowledges that “people’s lives are incredibly busy.
“We’re working full-time, have kids, laundry, food shopping, a million errands and stressors. It’s really hard to change your lifestyle.” She tells me that the problem comes down to time. “It takes time to cook and prepare healthy food, it takes time and energy to exercise, and no one has that time.”
Denver-based nutritionist Ellie Kempton tells me that expectations matter. “If you can’t imagine doing something for at least five years or the rules of the diet make socialization complicated, it’s going to go down in the books as one more diet instead of your newfound lifestyle that breeds permanent and deep transformation.”
Of course, most people aren’t thinking that far ahead when they make their far-fetched pledges to lose 10 pounds in the first two weeks of the New Year. Setting better expectations would go a long way.
But don’t stop making the resolutions altogether. The University of Scranton study that found people don’t keep their resolutions also found that just making the resolutions is a positive experience. As Psychology Today put it, “The study found that people who made resolutions were 10 times more likely to make a positive change after six months compared to people who wanted to change but did not make a New Year’s resolution. So there is some evidence that making a resolution is worthwhile.”
So maybe it’s not entirely your fault that you can’t lose weight, and the fact that you’re trying is to be celebrated. Just don’t celebrate it with a doughnut and a glass of wine.