Still No Resolutions

Well, welcome to 2014—and to this blog. My apologies, especially to those who check in regularly, that I haven’t posted for a while. Thanks for sticking with me. To those who just found the blog, I’m happy to have you along for the ride.

As I wrote in the early days of this blog with a post called, “You Say You Want a Resolution”  I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, but many people do. And by now (mid-January) some of that resolve may be waning. If it hasn’t, good for you. If it has, you’re not alone. Take comfort that you tried—and you can try again. It all has to do with breaking bad habits and setting better ones.

Check out the January 2 episode of CBC’s Doc Zone for more about habits—why it’s so hard to break them—and why it pays off to keep trying to set those new ones.

I don’t think of myself as a creature of habit but I seem to have some anyway. One involves chocolate, or really anything sweet–and my habit of wanting to eat it too often rather than as the occasional treat it should be. My friend, Manitoba author Doreen Pendgracs has done a lot of research about chocolate for her book, Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate. 

Doreen, or as I like to call her, the “Queen of Chocolate,” will tell you that a daily dose of a small piece of really good dark chocolate is actually very good for you–and there is research to back that up, which she outlines in the book. The problem is just sticking to that small piece—or even two three pieces of that chocolate. If I could do that, then I might not want the other sweets that make it hard to keep up with trying to set, not break, another habit: daily exercise. I find too many excuses not to work off those calories that come from me liking to bake–and eating what I bake.

I’ve found two solutions to this dilemma that I hope will help. I’ve stopped using refined sugar—so my baked treats are not as sweet. (I use agave syrup, coconut sugar, organic honey, or maple syrup.)  The other solution is an exercise program called Essentrics.  I started doing this in September.  It’s fun, and there are good results. I find I sit and stand taller and while I may not have lost any weight, my clothes definitely fit better and I feel healthier.  So there is incentive to keep going.

Here are some of the videos from the program founders Miranda Essmonde-White and her daughter Sahra. I’ve been working with friends at the 55 Plus Activity Centre in Napanee using these exercises. The centre’s Activity Co-ordinator, Tricia Cammaart, who also co-owns Zeal Health and Fitness Studio (also in Napanee,) is a great leader and trainer. We have a lot of fun in our groups, and we are noticing that the hard work is having a positive effect on our health and appearance!

So while I may not make any resolutions, there are some habits that I will try and cultivate this year. Putting it that way, there really isn’t anything I can “break”—only some things that I hope will get better.

If you need some “bibliotherapy” to help you keep those resolutions or habits, you can check out your local library, bookstore, or even the grocery store for books that offer all kinds of advice on diets, exercise, and changing those habits. Here’s a sample from my local grocery’s bookshelves.

2014-01-15 10.52.37

I am a big believer in getting whatever help and support you need, and if one of these books helps—that’s great. Just remember that any diet or exercise plan will work in the short term—it’s the longer haul that you have to think about if you want to make those new habits permanent. At least that’s the advice I get from Tricia–and from my doctor.

Here’s to making 2014 healthy and happy for everyone. Whether you make resolutions or not, I hope you have some ways to make this a great year and you’ll share your ideas with us.

My thanks to my husband Jim Peets for the wonderful new photo on the blog, and for his never-ending support for all that I do!

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4 thoughts on “Still No Resolutions

  1. I don’t make resolutions either but, as you know, my life has changed dramatically since June 2013 with the loss of my husband. So I am trying new things and that includes diet and working with a fitness trainer plus some things for my writing business. It is the first time every that I feel totally committed to making these changes, but as you appropriately point out I may be one of the majority who drop out sooner rather than later, and that’s o.k. No pressure.

    Thanks for the information on Essentrics. I was disappointed to see that it was yet another “buy before you try” experience so I am not sure it’s for me, but I’ll check it out when I have more time.

    I am sure whatever you put your mind to you will do, Christine. You are strong and committed and a very good friend.

    1. Thanks, Suzanne. It is amazing to me how well you have coped with everything you’ve been through. I’m glad you’ve found new ways to help you stay strong, fit, and prosperous. The Essentrics videos are helpful. I hope I linked to the samples. (If not there should be links under either Miranda or Sahra Essmonde-White.) That’s how I got started–just by watching them over and over and doing the exercises. Two other friends were doing it too, so we decided to go together and buy some new videos (DVDs), which we’ll share. Miranda Essmonde-White still has her “Classical Stretch” show on PBS. It’s shown at 6 am here, which is way too early for me, so that’s why I like the DVDs.
      The show on “habits” resonated with me, and I think it’s better to say that I’m trying to make better habits rather than making (or breaking) resolutions.
      Thanks for following along, and for your comments. You are a valuable and supportive friend.

  2. Happy New Year, Christine, with or without a resolution!

    Thanks so much for including the links to my writer’s blog and book site in your post. I am so grateful for the support and friendship you have shown me.

    With regard to chocolate, you really WILL find that if you eat really high grade chocolate, you only need one piece. It’s that strong and pure that it immediately satisfies a chocolate craving. It is chocolate infused with too much sugar and additives that leaves you craving for more. Eating chocolate of 70% or more cocoa that only contains a small amount of cane sugar, and perhaps a natural flavouring enhancement such as cocoa nibs, fruit or nuts is good for your health, your waistline, and your moods. Enjoy in moderation!

    1. Doreen, you are most welcome for the links–and I will get another review of the book posted to Amazon soon! Thanks to past advice on chocolate from you, I only eat dark chocolate and most of the time it’s 70% cocao–sometimes higher! I still have trouble limiting myself to that *one* piece, but I do find it easier not to eat the whole bar than I did with my favourite “candy” (Crispy Crunch.) So, I will continue to enjoy it, but maybe not *quite* as often.
      Thank you for always chiming in on my blog, and for your wonderful friendship and support.

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