Plantastic: Misery Loves January

Updated: Jul 10, 2019

By Anne Trominski:

During the throws of Christmasdom as I was sipping on my extra-nogged egg nog and chomping on some of my Mama’s homemade fudge (nope, neither is vegan), I was watching one of the many incarnations of Ebenezer Scrooge declare, “I will carry Christmas in my heart all year long!” As usual at that point in the story, it got me. My eyes welled a bit, and I was filled with the warmth of feels. It’s a beautiful sentiment, no doubt. But . . . it’s not realistic. Let’s face it, we as human beings are a distractible lot. We’ve got a lot of good ideas and a slew of good intentions, but the everydayness of life does tend to get in the way. It’s hard to carry Christmas in your heart while flossing or washing dishes. And did I pick up the dry cleaning? Is there a vegan recipe for fudge?

We’ve got a lot of little things going on constantly that we really need to take care of (oh, crap, I need gas!), and sometimes the big concepts in life get pushed to the side. So, I would like to state for the record, I am 100% on board with reminders that come in the form of holidays. I like a nudge once a year to remind me to be thankful for what I have and to tell the people I’m thankful to, to remind me to look up from my personal dilemmas and see that I can give something to someone else to help with theirs, and, yes, bring on those January resolutions! You don’t need the New Year to remind you to take stock and adjust some of your hedonistic tendencies? Then, go you! Sure, you really could do it anytime of year, but in March you’ll be distracted by Irish stereotypes and Guinness cocktails, so let’s get with the healthy now.

If you are one of the ones who is using the new calendar as a way to jump start your good habits, I’m right there with you. Let’s clean out that fridge, focus on our flawed habits, and kick a little healthy ass as we charge into 2019. Setting goals is great way to accomplish change, and a shiny new calendar is a great place to start tracking said goals. I know there’s been a lot of backlash against the tide of resolutions, and you’ll hear as many people explain why they don’t do resolutions as those who tell you what their resolutions are. I’m sure you saw at least one article (or heard one radio host talk about such an article) that had some gloomy statistics about how resolutions fail each year. Yes, ideally we would keep our habits pristine all year long, that’s a great goal, but just like Ebenezer Scrooge, sometimes we all need a nudge that there’s more to life than accounting.

So, how do you beat the statistics? How do you carry New Year-resolution enthusiasm in your heart all year long? I’ve got one suggestion: enjoy it. Let me tell you a story and see if it is familiar. My coworker has been bringing dry salads for lunch all week long. I know this because she is loudly declaring that she has brought dry salads for lunch every day this week while decrying her holiday weight gain. She lasted until Friday, where during her daily announcement of having brought a dry salad for lunch, she asked if anyone would like to go out for Chinese takeout. She was sick of dry salads.

Is this you? Are you pushing your dry salad out of view? Are you wondering if I work with you?

Let me tell you another story. While discussing breakfast options with a loved one, he said he was going to have a low-fat English muffin with organic apple butter. Not a bad breakfast at all, but I was a bit surprised since he usually goes for an egg breakfast sandwich. When I queried the change, he said he was trying to be good, and the first option was lower in calories. Well. Yeah. But. The breakfast sandwich isn’t “bad.” It’s an egg white and lean ham on a similarly low-fat English muffin, so it’s not like he was eschewing a quarter pounder with cheese. I explained that while higher in calorie, it was also higher in protein, which would keep him fuller longer and would be more satisfying. So, was the breakfast sandwich really the less healthy choice?

Is this you? Are you looking only at calories? Are you surprised that “satisfied” came up in a discussion about health? Have you conflated the idea of healthy with hard, miserable, tasteless? Are you a believer that less is more and that you can’t, indeed, gain without said pain?