January seems the logical time for new beginnings. I suppose that’s the reason we make resolutions on New Year’s Day instead of on Halloween. I’ve given up on diet and fitness resolutions because each year my new beginning quickly turns into a discouraging ending and leaves me feeling like a loser. I use the term loosely because my resolution for, oh, say the last forty-five years has been to lose weight and exercise more. I actually lose a few pounds in January, but by the end of February after all the Valentine’s Day candy I find the lost pounds, plus a few extra ones. During March a few more pounds find their way to my hips, and after eating the ears off the chocolate Easter bunnies, I decide to forget about dieting until summer when the fresh fruits and vegetables are available.
Somehow, I manage to spend the fresh-vegetable-and-fruit months of May through August enjoying the summertime feasts of fried chicken and potato salad, barbecue and baked beans, and grilled hamburgers and hot dogs with thick buns and all the trimmings. Let’s not forget the iced sweet tea, a must during our hot, languid southern summers. Who can diet with all that food?
By Labor Day, I’m ready to get serious about my weight. By this time, I can’t fit into any of my clothes, so I either have to diet or shop for a new wardrobe. Deciding which of the two paths to travel usually takes me down the path to the mall. Even though it’s too early to think about Halloween, Christmas decorations adorn the stores, so I shop for holiday gifts, which puts me in the mood to bake.
On the way home from the mall, I stop at the grocery store to stock up on baking supplies: flour, sugar, cans of pumpkin and cranberry sauce, and what is this? Halloween candy. I must buy candy for trick-or-treat. What’s that you say? Now, surely, you don’t think I would open a bag of Halloween candy before October. Okay, so last year I ate three bags before Halloween and had to turn off my porch light so kids wouldn’t knock on my door expecting treats.
By the first of November I’m really serious about shaping up before the holidays so I can eat during the parties and gain back all the weight I lost before the celebrations. Makes sense to me, so I devise a plan of exercise: walking during my lunch hour. The cooler weather inspires brisk walks. Unfortunately, my walk takes me within smelling distance of Chick-Fil-A. Good thing I carry a few dollars in my jacket pocket. I choose a brownie and eat it as I walk back to my office, knowing that it doesn’t count because I ate it while walking and washed it down with a bottle of water. How healthy is that?
Perhaps I was wrong and the brownie really did count since I can no longer zip my jeans. The day after Thanksgiving, I dig out my XL elastic-waist jeans from a year ago. Ah, comfort, for which I’m thankful but at the same time disappointed that they fit. Well, I can’t do anything about my weight now; it’s almost December, and I can’t diet during the holidays.
With Christmas just a memory, a new year brings opportunities for new beginnings. This year I celebrate without resolutions about my weight. Instead, I resolve to love my body just as it is, even with the extra twenty-five pounds. I will not spend any more time or energy trying to be something I’m not—a thin woman. I vow not to allow my weight to define me. I am beautiful; I am voluptuous; I am me. As I pass a full-length mirror, I take a moment to admire my new outfit. Hummm…Is it my imagination, or does this dress make my hips look big?