New Year, Same Roller Coaster

Well, here we are. It’s 2020.  Social media is abuzz with New Year’s Resolutions.  Each time I write one of these columns, I always look for areas in which I can improve. In a way, I also do these resolutions every week.  Making progress or refining my process is all about analysis and trying to do better next week.  Constant adjustments are required to make something like this work.  However the last little while I have been in a bit of a slide.  

Let’s get to the raw numbers.  Here they are:  In week 74, I gained 4 more pounds …which is now 12 pounds gained over the last month.  Week 75 saw me lose those same 4 pounds.  So my net is, at current, is 8 pounds heavier than I was a month ago and at a total of 214 pounds lost. 


So last time we spoke, I told you that whatever the scale revealed on that Friday morning (on what would be week 74 of this issue of the Weekly Digest) would provide me with the full measure of the impact of my holiday upheavals. We know now that this number is a 12 pound deficit to start the year.  That’s not great and it’s about so much more than just holiday eating.  As much as I would like this to be just about math, I think we know by now that it isn’t. I also said that getting that number would have no more impact than just telling me where I needed to start.  Well, that’s true.  It’s a starting point, and regardless of how much I have struggled, rededicating myself to this process in a constant event. It’s required to keep me focused and moving in the right direction.  


This is that moment of rededication.  I am telling you, reader, that my weight gain in December does not sway me from pursuit of healthier living and further weight loss.  It does not cause me to give up, to question my commitment or to slink into a corner and hide. Resetting myself, mentally, happens many times throughout the year.  It is just taking a moment to pull up your big boy britches and get to the work at-hand.  That we will do.  


Over the last 6 months, I have been on this same roller coaster.  Essentially fighting back and forth over the same 20 pounds, with only a slight overall trend downward.  That’s not good enough.  There should be better progress- there NEEDS to be better progress.  This makes me ask “What the hell is going on here?”.  I could analyze every little nuance for 10 more pages and bore every single one of you to-death. But that isn’t necessary. I have spent some time thinking about this and I can tell you where some of the problems reside.   It’s not one single thing but a confluence of several small things.

The Problems

  1. Activity levels are not an issue – I believe I am plenty active, but I also think I need to be changing up my routines.  Up to this point I have done all my winter activity in my house, with free weights and an elliptical machine.  It has worked very well, but my body might need a change up, so I am looking into some smaller, local gyms that might provide all the tools I need without a huge expense.  I have also looked into other outdoor activities, but the net input of time and cost is actually greater in most of those activities.  Additionally they will be limited by weather conditions and a gym is not.  
  2. Portion size creep.  I acknowledge that some of my portion sizes may have creeped up over time.  I’m not sure if this is true, but it kind of feels like it might be – if that makes sense?  So I am going to resume weighing my dinner portions and ensuring I am staying within reasonable limits. For breakfast and lunch that isn’t an issue since I continue utilizing Isagenix protein shakes for these meals. 
  3. Snack choices.  Yep, I harp on this one every week.  But over the last month or two, sugar has made a larger resurgence into my diet and that has to go.  Combined with other stresses it is resulting in a cumulative negative effect.  In week 75 I did a much better job and it showed.  If I can continue trending in a good direction with clean eating, things should continue improving.  

This short list forms the backbone of my approach to the new year.  Is it a new year’s resolution?  Not really, it just happens to occur at this time.  If I had run into this culmination of negative factors at another time, that’s when it would have happened.  Going forward, I hope by changing up my routine and continuing to push myself to eat better, that I can swing my progress back onto a track that is more consistent with my long-term goals and the progress I have thus-far accomplished. 

salad and chicken
Chicken, salad and roasted vegetables! Yet another way to make “healthy” into “decadent”!


Looking at the last two weeks I am seeing just two days where my intake was over my intended levels.  Both of those days were in the 1800’s and were linked with holiday events.  Alcohol intake over the last month has been very low to nil. I count 4 drinks over the last two weeks and 3 of those were on New Year’s Eve.  The rest of my days were all between 1400-1550 calories.

Snacking remains the largest self-sabotage issue.  Sugars, peanut butter, chips and salsa and cookie brittle all make appearances over this issue of the Digest.  But, I will say that week 75 was MUCH better than week 74.  Week 75 was actually, marginally, clean!  And, surprise! – that’s where we saw the weight loss! I need to remember that not all calories are created equal.  Eating foods that are less dense calorically, will also help fill me up and keep me satisfied. 

stir fry
Fresh vegetables, spinach, noodles and ground chicken mixed into a healthy stir fry!


Exercise in week 74 was down.  3 miles of walking 85 mins of elliptical work, and 1 free weight session.  It wasn’t a good week for exercise.  Week 75 was better.  I walked 6 miles, was on the elliptical for 105 mins and did 2 free weight sessions.  Again, it’s better but it needs to ratchet up a bit.  I think getting access to different exercises and machines may help me with this process. I am still wrestling with this idea. 

My Take-Away: 

Well clearly there is a need for a bit more attention in the kitchen.  Cleaning up the holiday straying and getting sugars back out of my diet are a priority.  I have resisted the gym thing to this point because I have always felt I have the tools to exercise without the cost of a gym.  I might be to the point where it would be beneficial to me now.  So I am looking into that and wrestling with the idea of the additional costs. I can see a lot of upside, provided I pick the right gym. If I don’t then I simply wont go there and its wasted effort.  So …a lot rides on finding the right fit for me, as a person.  I would like a quick resolution but I won’t be rushing into it.  Stay tuned to find out what happens! 


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