Resolutions

Hmmm. New Year's Resolutions. I feel like I should write about them, since it is, after all, the 2nd of January. (I confess to slarging about all day on New Years Day.) So here goes:

I like New Year's Resolutions. Yes, I know most people don't keep them for very long. However, I also know that life change often requires repeated attempts. If I recall correctly, the average smoker tries to quit eight or ten times before successfully giving it up. What if, having failed once or twice, he or she said "These resolutions just don't work. Heck with it."? I think it's always a good idea to rededicate ourselves to actions that we know will benefit our lives. And if we don't carry through the first, or the fifth, or the fifteenth time, it's good to know we can try again -- and, it is to be hoped, "try smarter," incorporating knowledge we have gained from previous attempts.

So if you're here for the first time, having just rededicated yourself to nutrition and weight loss, welcome! I very much hope I can help. I don't have any amazing secrets, but I can tell you a few things that will greatly improve your odds of success:

1) Get support. This is the single most powerful success strategy. Overwhelmingly, readers cite support as the most important factor in their sticking to their low carb nutrition program long-term. A supportive spouse is pure gold (and I have one. Newbies, you will be hearing about That Nice Boy I Married, sometimes abbreviated TNBIM. That would be Eric, aka The Webmaster, and he has been unfalteringly supportive, not only of my low carb program, but of my career, and of everything I attempt. No, he does not have a brother, and yes, the world would be a better place if we cloned him.) If your spouse is not outright supportive, see if you can at least inveigle him or her to not outright undermine you.

Then look for support elsewhere. Some successful low carbers enlist friends as diet buddies, I've heard from others who dieted with their moms or their kids.

There are also remarkable resources online, from Facebook groups (I have a fan page, go join!) and blogs to message boards. A great co-resolution is to stop in to at least one or two Facebook groups or message boards every day, to read and post. You might also resolve to pick a low carb blog or two to read daily, though not all of us post every day. My friend Jimmy Moore does, and he's a terrific source of both information and encouragement. I love Dr. Mike Eades' blog at Protein Power for explaining scientific stuff. Amy Dungan, at Healthy Low Carb Living, is a dear friend, one of my favorite people. Oh, and I would be remiss if I failed to mention CarbSmart Magazine, where I am both the Managing Editor and a contributor.

There are also podcasts galore, if you're more "ear-minded" than "eye-minded." Pick one or two, and resolve to listen while you run errands, or work out, or cook dinner.

The point is that there are thousands of low carb resources available to you online, nearly all of them free. Find them, use them, make friends, feed your brain positive messages. It works.

2) Never, ever apologize for being low carb. Do not say "Oh, gosh, I'm sooo sorry I can't eat the birthday cake you brought to the office!", or "Oh, gee, I hate to be a bother, but do you think I could substitute steamed vegetables for the potato with my steak?" Nope. Be proud. Not rude, of course, but a simple "No, thanks" is all that's needed (except for that waiter you want to bring you the steamed vegetables; he needs a direct request.) If someone tries to pressure you, say "No, thanks" as many times as necessary, a technique known, quaintly, as "the broken record." Even better, say "No, thanks," and then immediately change the subject: "Hey, does anyone know when the new season of Mad Men starts? I am dying to know if Don's marriage to Megan is working out." Makes the nagger look silly if she then persists.

3) Make a list of your favorite low carb foods, things you've been denying yourself because you were sure that they were bad for you: macadamia nuts, rib eye steak, brie cheese, whatever. Your favorite sugar-free dark chocolate. Buy 'em. Eat 'em. Yes, I know the budget is tight -- my VISA is about to spontaneously combust. Still, every time you lose, say, five pounds, treat yourself.

4) Try new recipes. Obviously, I'd love it if you bought one of my cookbooks. Or all of my cookbooks. Even better, multiple copies of all my cookbooks. But there are plenty of other low carb cookbooks out there, many of them quite good.

Others suck. Really. I've seen "low carb" cookbooks that call for white flour, rice, noodles, even sugar. Make sure the cookbook is genuinely low carb before you pony up your hard-earned bucks. To this end, may I recommend that you borrow a few from your local public library before you actually buy?

There are also tons of low carb recipes online, not a few of them here, if you go back through the archives. But there are also plenty at other blogs and at message boards. And they're free. Help yourself!

The point is this: If you resolve to try, say, two new recipes per week, pretty soon you'll have a whole pile of new favorites. You know those recipes that you made over and over, because they were easy and good and the whole family loved them? The ones you've ditched because you've figured out they were killing you? You'll have new favorites just like that, except they'll actually be good for you. That's a very, very nice place to be.

So what about my resolutions? I am resolving to do my breathing exercises every single day. Since they take only fifteen minutes, and don't involve changing clothes, messing up my hair or makeup, or cracking a sweat, that's very doable. And, with all the love and respect in the world to Fred Hahn, my friend and strength-training guru, whose Slow Burn has made me a much stronger woman (married to a man with a much better body), it's the breathing exercises that most seem to make me just... shrink.

That said, I also resolve to be more consistent about Slow Burn, aiming for every fifth day. Very good stuff, Slow Burn. We do ours on a Total Gym, that thing you see Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley advertising. Works great.

And I resolve to become more regular about the podcast, which has been languishing in the face of my life becoming dizzyingly busy for the past couple of months. I need to hit on a production schedule I can keep up with and still get this book written, blog pretty regularly, and attend to the rest of my life.

Oh, and the usual stab at becoming a somewhat more organized and tidy individual, a fruitless pursuit, but one worth continuing to plug away at.

How about you? What are your resolutions? Are they new, or are you re-resolving? If you're trying again, what new nugget of knowledge do you bring to the task?

Here's to trying again! Happy New Year!