Down with “Resolutionaries”

It is early days, 2011, and my weight management has already gone on strike.

I began its execution way back in the last decade though, so there is no risk of breaking a New Year’s resolution right out of the gate. Besides, I think that these resolution lists should be relegated to dumb comedies and drunken stupors forgotten the next day. Who in their right mind sets themselves up to fail?

Last fall, I decided that I wasn’t going to let hormonal imbalances and middle age exploit my genetic apple shape. The weight that has methodically grown and fixed itself to my waist for several years is not a condition I intend to accept. I was already spending most of my waking hours working out and still my BMI continued to rise like an uncontrollable fever so I sought help through vitamins and an eating plan targeted at helping to lose hormonal weight. Don’t you know it had been working like a charm until my family left for a warm weather vacation at an all-inclusive resort near Cancun, Mexico.

Under blue skies, next to even bluer water, I found Jesus in our resort. No, not the guy from the Christmas story but an actual, lovely Mexican server named Jesus (“Hay-Zeus”) who only wanted to make my stay more enjoyable by providing me with whatever food or drink my palate desired at any hour of the day. And, so I ate. I didn’t want to appear impolite and eating is what one does on holiday. And, I drank for the same reason. After all, it would have been sacrilegious to break the all-inclusive code: eat and drink ‘til you can’t eat or drink no more.

As I lay on a chair enjoying the cool sweetness of a “Bahama Mama” sliding down my throat, it occurred to me that I would need to first put on some socks and then pull them up after this vacation. I will be in trouble with myself, having compromised my eating regimen. But, I didn’t feel the stress tickling my nerve endings that usually accompanies my weight concerns and I speculated as to the reason. Was it because I didn’t care anymore? Hell, no. Maybe it was because I knew I had a plan in place, a plan I carried with me in my head. And then, I wondered, because when one is on holiday one has time to indulge in wonder, is resolve the same as a resolution?

The days leading up to and following New Year’s are the most replete with resolutions. People swallow the notion that a new year can be underlined with a fresh start. They vow to lose weight, quit smoking, give up reality TV, but not many of them actually see their declarations through. Maybe, that is because these resolutionaries become caught up in a whirlwind of goodwill and false bravado. By February, recurring thoughts of what they have given up threaten to overwhelm their intentions to be healthy. Failure is prescribed.

A resolution is a thing created in writing or speech that commits one to a certain course of action. It is often made in the company of others; it is often made under duress. Resolve, on the other hand, is a quality that is born and maintained from within. It is a lot harder to topple.

Resolve can occur any day of the year. In my experience, it is something that percolates for a time within one’s subconscious. It is announced quietly, a soft opening that only the originator of the change needs to hear. I resolved to lose the tummy weight on a Friday in early November. I had fretted about it for too long. I had eaten enough bags of chips at ten at night to fill a warehouse. I decided inside and once the decision was made I was loathe to renege on it. I would not allow a ten-day vacation to lead me down the one-way path to ruin. I was on a cul-de-sac. I would turn things around.

Prior to New Year’s Eve and a few days before we came home to Toronto, I stood on an outcropping overlooking the Carribean Sea. Taking out my iPod, I decided to turn it on to “shuffle” and that whatever song came on first would be my mantra for the coming year. I would live my life by it. This to me was as random as any premeditated New Year’s resolution. I was making a leap of faith, though. I have almost 700 songs on my iPod. What if I called up “Yesterday” by the Beatles or “Tie your Mother Down” by Queen? It wouldn’t be pretty. In the end, the first song that came on was “Hold your Head Up”, a golden oldie by Argent. I listened to the whole tune. The grammar is debatable but the message has power. I resolved that this year, whatever happens I will keep my head high.

Resolve is to resolution what integrity is to intent and timing is of no importance. My weight loss plan will make a u-turn. Already, I have replaced the afternoon strawberry daiquiri with a cup of green tea. It’s not as sweet, but it heats my thermometer.

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