Saturday, January 02, 2016

Of Regrets and Resolutions

[Mmmm . . . . forbidden donut]

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The second best time is now."

I'm a big fan of New Year's resolutions.  Not necessarily because I'm particularly good at keeping them, but because of the hope they offer: the chance start with a clean slate and do better than I did yesterday.  And for me, there is something rather empowering about the start of a new year, though years have taught me to temper my expectations some (at least in terms of the number of resolutions).

This year, I've thought carefully about two resolutions, but part of seeing them through I think will require making them public (and thereby making me accountable to someone other than myself).

So, here they are:

The first is that I'm aiming to do a physique competition in October 2016.  Many know that this was one of my goals for 2015 (and made up a good part of efforts through September of last year).  But, I started cutting a bit too late given how much fat I needed to lose.  Beyond that, I was also dealing with a rather limiting elbow injury (that I'm actually still dealing with), that lead me to abandon my efforts in the fall.

The second is that I intend to go without sugary treats for the entirety of 2016.* 

If you know me at all, this latter goal will be at least as difficult (if not more so) than the first.  I have a strong attachment to sugary treats: donuts, cookies, brownies, ice cream, cereal, Peanut M&M's, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and so on.  I love them.  I also hate them.  As I've noted elsewhere, when I start in on eating them, it's very hard to stop.  And the overconsumption leaves me feeling miserable, if not often downright depressed (and a bit overweight).

So this latter goal, as much as it will help with contest prep, is at least as important to me on an emotional and spiritual level as a physical one.  I want to see what happens to me physically, spiritually, and emotionally as I completely give up sweets.  For a year.

And I expect to document those results here.

Now, given what's happened between September and January (i.e., the repeated and prolonged indulgence), I'm not quite comfortable yet to publicly give up where I'm at physically, much less share any photos.  That may come at some point later on when where I'm at now is sufficiently in the rear view mirror.

As for the ground rules -- what constitutes "sugary treats" -- I can say that it includes everything I mentioned above (donuts, cookies, brownies, ice cream, sugary cereal, candy), and the general test for me is if it's something sugary that I'm inclined to reach for (and potentially over consume) to satisfy my sweet tooth.  That means it also includes gray area items like graham crackers (and animal crackers) and most granola bars (I generally exempt protein bars -- unless and until they become a problem, too), as well as gray area cereals like granola and Honey Bunches of Oats.

Eventually, given my contest prep, I'll work back into regimented carb cycling to cut.  But the baseline for the year will be to avoid sweets entirely.

Of course, by laying out these goals publicly here, I expose myself to the possibility of failing rather publicly.  It's happened before here, and here.  But on the whole, I'm comfortable with the calculated risk. It's one that I've been weighing for weeks now, and I tend to believe I have learned a thing or two from my past failures. 

I look forward to sharing the year's journey with you.

* The irony of sharing this resolution on a blog entitled "The Forbidden Donut" is not lost on me.

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