"I HAVE to lose weight! But Memorial Day is coming ... burgers with the works, pasta salad with cubes of CHEESE, gooey brownies and chips, chips, chips! I'll start my diet AFTER the weekend parties!"
Well, maybe you haven't said these EXACT words, but I bet most people have had thoughts that rival them. There's no doubt about it: looking forward to upcoming events can put a damper on beginning any new weight loss program. So I headed to our family calendar hanging on the fridge to see if I could find when the PERFECT time to start a diet would be. Surely there must be a lull, some sort of break from food-focused festivities in a twelve month span. I started flipping through the already heavily penciled months of July and August.
Right after Memorial Day comes equally tempting 4th of July barbecues, followed by our annual family camping week. Skip s'mores? No way! Three weeks after that, a much anticipated trip to Disney. Diet? I don't think so! S-U-M-M-E-R! With its never-ending ice cream socials, carnivals and weekends at the beach. The whirlwind finally ends with the biggest picnic of all -- Labor Day.
Maybe fall? Everyone heads back to the gym when school buses roll around. But mixed with all the back-to-school supplies, retailers are also featuring bags of Halloween treats. Chocolate and twizzlers catch our eyes EVERYWHERE! No sooner are we done with Trick or Treat than we are bombarded with the makings of pies and pastries and everything for THE FEAST to end all feasts. Thanksgiving... the day synonymous with bounty -- gluttony -- and the kick off to the holidays. There's no doubt about it; December can be a trying time for anyone looking to eat less and cut back on high calorie foods.
But what about New Years? Resolutions abound as Americans flock to renew gym memberships and purchase diet supplements which boldly promise "Lose 10 pounds in 10 days!" The actual holiday itself is steeped in open house buffets and hors d'oeuvre orgies, but after that? No wait, I mean after the Superbowl? Retail shelves trade footballs for lacey red hearts and pink satin bows secretly covering pounds and pounds of decadent chocolate. This time of year also brings mid-winter vacations, hot chocolate in the ski lodge, cruise line specials and comfort foods. Outdoor activities are curbed for a time and motivation lags in the long nights and short, cold days as the world holds its breath in anticipation of ... Spring.
Although lent could be a great kickoff for a diet, there's no avoiding those marshmallow bunnies, chocolate eggs and cello bags of sweets. Easter is the number one confectioner's holiday and peeps can be awfully hard to pass up. Then there are the rounds of graduations, weddings and showers. It almost seems as though the parties will never die down when ... you got it, we're back to Memorial Day again!
A year and no decent window to diet! No wonder we still struggle with our weight! And I haven't even mentioned all the days in between that tempt us -- like boyfriend break ups and new relationships beginning and the stresses of moving, new jobs, NO jobs! Deaths. Tragedies. Health issues, being layed up or being layed off or being layed over (stuck in the airport). Care giving. Giving birth. Birthdays and anniversaries and all the millions of other occasions, joyous or sad, that drive us together or pull us apart, and, in the center of it all, there is food.
And then, as I let the pages of our family calendar fall back into place I saw it. There it was. The PERFECT day to start my new diet. It was TODAY.
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