A New Year, A Fresh Perspective

New Year, New Resolutions

It’s no secret that January is a huge month for the weight loss industry.  It’s such a popular time of year for people to hop on the fitness bandwagon.  Every other commercial is for Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Slim Fast, Right Size Smoothies, the Gazelle, and my personal favorite, the Ab Belt.  It’s funny though – if any of these companies actually had tools to help people lose weight and keep it off, they’d be out of business by now, wouldn’t they?  We’d all be happy customers and we’d be known as the nation of the fit and fabulous.

Despite the numerous resources at our disposal – nutritional advice, medical research, new and improved products and pre-made foods, vitamins, magic pills to boost metabolism, a gym in every neighborhood, at-home workout videos, even shoes and clothing that help you workout simply while walking around – we are not a nation of fit and fabulous.  We spend more per capita on health care that any other developped nation.

And when the sparkly ball dropped again this January 1st, we’re still making resolutions to get in shape and eat better.  Every year it’s the same resolution.  And every year most of us are failing!  If we were succeeding, we wouldn’t need the resolution, would we?   We’d be able to move on to something a little more fun.  It’s this cyclic predicament that reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.”

I am 100% in support of people getting in shape and eating better.  I’m not so skeptical that I hope people don’t try.  But I do hope that this year is going to be the year that more and more people get it right.  It’s amazing how many times in the past I went through the same cycle myself – waking up one day realizing that I’d let myself slip a little, pulled out the bigger jeans and realized it was time to get back on the ball.  I’d hit a point where I realized enough is enough, and I’d commit to getting in shape and eating better.  I’d hit the gym a little harder, do some P90X, cut back on portions, skip dessert, and quit using fast food to fill in the gaps when I was hungry or in a hurry.  It would usually work, as it no doubt works for many people – you put in more effort, and you tend to lose weight.  The age-old advice – eat right and exercise more is never going to be wrong!  It’s always going to work.

BUT, for the first time ever, 2012 is different for me.  I didn’t need to make the same resolution I’ve always made.  It’s because I’m already doing something I’ve never done, and it’s working.  Simply by filling up my days with veggies, fruit, grains, and legumes I crowded out the animal products I had grown so accustomed to.  “Eating right” finally has meaning to me.  We’re not talking about a fad diet.  We’re not talking about yo-yo dieting.  We’re not talking about hitting the gym 6 days a week.  We’re talking about a shift in perspective – realizing that food is fuel, and that we ARE what we eat!

In 2011 I realized that nature’s variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains are so much more tasty, filling, and healthy than animals and animal products.  I sleep better at night.  You decide whether it’s because my digestive tract is calm or because my organs are well nourished, or whether it’s because I’m no longer responsible for the torture and destruction of thousands of sentient beings.  Or whether it’s because we are what we eat, and I no longer consume terror, fright, nor fear.  I pride myself now on living a kinder life where no more animals are harmed to make me a muffin top!

It’s perhaps fitting that this was the first year I didn’t actually watch the famous ball drop in NYC.  I was in my hometown of Pittsburgh where we have our own ball, and it rises at midnight.  Don’t ask me the ‘real’ reason for the ball going up instead of down.  For me this year, I call it a sign of optimism, of positivity, and of hope.  This is the year things are looking up.  People are waking up.  The sun is rising on a new era where we assume responsibility for our own actions, our health, and our happiness.



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