January 1! Time to make all those resolutions about quitting smoking, losing weight, and going to the gym. Or not.
The classic pattern is to overindulge in various forms of unhealthiness from Thanksgiving until New Year's Eve, up to and including drunkenness on December 31/January 1, and then resolve on January 1 Not. To. Do. Those. Things. Any. More. There are two faulty assumptions here: that I've been treating myself like crap through the holidays, and that making resolutions works.
I can say with gratitude that I was able to take good care of myself throughout the month of December. I followed my food plan every day, and worked up to taking an average of at least 10,000 steps a day. I actually lost 4 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve, which I think must be some sort of record. Divine intervention is the only possible explanation.
The current issue of Veg News has a big feature story about cleanses. Five staff members went on different "cleanses" (nothing too crazy -- basically variations on eating more fruits and veggies and less crap) for two to five weeks, and wrote about the experience and what happened afterward. Most of them had been eating crap before the cleanse and went back to eating crap after it was over. I know I've written about cleanses here before, and I have to say that when I wrote that I was not in a good place. I was in that cycle of eat crap, resolve to do better, cleanse, rinse, repeat. A cleanse is a diet -- it's something you go on to go off. And you "resolve" to do better, knowing all the while that if you were any good at keeping resolutions, you wouldn't be in this situation in the first place. And by "you" I mean me.
Maybe some people can eat healthy most of the time, indulge in crap once in a while, and make it work. I am not one of those people. If I eat a trigger food, I may seem like one of those people for a few days, but I quickly complete the descent into Crap Hell. And once I'm there, some atheist version of divine intervention is the only thing that can get me out. All I can do is ask for that intervention, and be grateful if/when it comes. That's me. YMMV.
So cleanses are not for me. What's for me is this: eating (and otherwise taking care of myself) in a way that is sustainable for the long term, and asking daily for the help I need to continue. I get that help from spiritual friends, from reading and writing, and from atheist prayers To Whom it May Concern. And from inertia. Once I'm doing it, it becomes easier to keep doing it. Which is another reason why going on and going off doesn't work for me. Going off plan takes away all my positive inertia, and I have to build it back up again. To get back where I belong I need a big jolt of divine intervention, and who knows when divine intervention might get bored with my bullshit and stop intervening? So inertia is critical.
So for today, no resolutions. For today, an intention to keep doing what I'm doing, and to ask for help when I (inevitably) need it.
A happy and healthy 2013 to all.