By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
Carole Townsend

To Resolve, or Not to Resolve?
By Carole Townsend

Quick, when someone mentions the New Year to you, what does that bring to mind? For some, it’s a melancholy time, packed with nostalgia, “what-ifs” and such. For some, a New Year is brimming with hope and promise, change and excitement. For many of us, the New Year is a symbolic chance to make positive changes, set goals and achieve them. It’s a time of resolve, a time of convicted resolution.

While I’m not one to make New Year resolutions (I figure any time of year is a good time to make positive changes), I have fallen into a pattern that’s become pretty predictable, especially since I hit age 50 a few years back. Every November and December, I bake and cook ‘til my heart’s content. I enjoy it. I love Thanksgiving and Christmas and if I’m going to be honest, a lot of that love centers around the food, traditions and social gatherings associated with those two holidays. In those months, my treasured mornings in the gym take a back seat to a busier-than-usual calendar. The combined result, unfortunately, is a plumper, less healthy me.

Then January hits and by that time, I’ve reached that stage at which I’m so food saturated that the thought of food is literally sickening. That doesn’t stop me from eating it, of course. I just feel full and sick pretty much all of the time. By January, I have baked so much that my drapes smell like chocolate. The smells of cinnamon and pumpkin hang heavy in the air in our home. You’d think that would be a good thing, but excess – while it smells great - has a price. 

As a result of my shamefully predictable overindulgence during the last two months of the year, January by default has become a month of much-anticipated change, a month of resolution to eat better and to get back into the gym regularly. This year has been no different, and just a few days into 2015, I already feel much better.

My husband and I are eating better together, which always makes the change less difficult. I’m very proud of him. When we first got married, he ate beef, potatoes and Reese’s peanut butter cups. We debated for years whether pinto beans were a vegetable; it didn’t matter, those and corn were the only two foods resembling vegetables that he’d even allow on his plate. Now, his palate is much more mature and discerning. From broccoli to spaghetti squash, portabella mushrooms to gator, his horizons have expanded quite nicely. It’s much more fun to cook when your choices include more than red meat, potatoes and those horribly addictive peanut butter cups.

So, without committing to an actual “New Year resolution” to lose weight, I trust that weight loss and an overall improvement in our health will be the fallout of eating whole foods prepared healthfully. 

I thought about upping my accountability by going public with my weight loss, but that would of course require going public with my weight, and that’s not going to happen. I would, however, like to hear from those of you who are choosing to eat healthier foods and get more exercise. Everybody has tips and tricks that work for them. For example, my husband finds it easier to clean up his act by following the Daniel fast. I didn’t even know what that was until I began reading about it (in a nutshell, it’s plant-based eating). I know many of you who exercise like crazy, teaching Zumba or training for marathons.  Even though my knees have been rebuilt more times than a junkyard carburetor, I am encouraged and motivated by your dedication.

Are you making healthy changes in 2015? Please share your stories; it just takes a minute or two, and you never know who you’re encouraging by doing so. 

Happy New Year, and here’s to feeling better (and eventually dragging out the “skinny” jeans!).

Carole Townsend is a Gwinnett author and freelance writer. She writes about family, from both a humorous and poignant perspective. Her newest book, MAGNOLIAS, SWEET TEA AND EXHAUST (July 2014, Skyhorse Publishing) takes a look at NASCAR from a Southern suburban mom’s perspective. She is currently writing her fourth book. Carole has appeared on local and national news and talk shows, including CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates. When not writing, she travels throughout the region, speaking to various civic and literary groups, and advocating for the health and well-being of the family, particularly women and children. For more information, visit www.caroletownsend.com.