Lifestyle

Resetting for the new year | Welbourne

'The early bird gets the worm.'
— image credit: Courtesy

I am a night owl still trying to be an early bird. Lately, though, I haven't been trying hard at all.

Over the Christmas holidays I allowed myself to stay up late and sleep in more. Because I was sleeping in more I was exercising less, and because I was exercising less I started eating crap again. A couple weeks of that and I'm now geared up for a self-imposed intervention.

Feeling crummy is not unfamiliar territory to me. I've written a few times about my long struggling battle of the bulge and how directly related the food I eat affects the way I feel. What may be unfamiliar is the potentially speedier recovery from my fall off the proverbial wagon.

"You're skinny," my friend said when she learned of my junk food relapse. "You should allow yourself the occasional treat."

First of all, I've only ever been skinny once and that was 15 years ago and only lasted about four days, but thank you.

Secondly, an occasional cupcake will do to me what an occasional hit of heroine will do to a druggie. I'd really rather not spend the year ahead jonesing for junk food like so many years past.

So how do I jump back on the wagon and reverse my last two weeks of destruction? By waking up early for starters.

"The early bird gets the worm," my dad used to say when I was a sleepy-head teen. Fine with me, I'd think to myself, it can have the worm.

Eventually I took him less literally and gave his early morning strategy a try.

Initially I disliked exercising before the sun was up, but after awhile I found that if I didn't get it over with right away, I wouldn't do it at all. I also discovered that once I went to the trouble of working up a sweat at the start of my day, I'd be more likely to eat healthy and get to bed at a decent hour later on.

My plan now is to return to that great habit for at least two weeks to put myself back where I was and feeling good again.

If it sounds like I'm embarking on a New Year's resolution, that's OK. I am.

I've always liked the fresh start of a new year, a new month or a new week to make goals for myself. And I'm experienced enough at failing miserably that I won't abandon my resolutions for long periods of time anymore. I now cut myself some slack and keep trying until I finally find some success with whatever it is I'm attempting to achieve.

Of course, rising with the sun isn't the only solution. It's doing what works for us as individuals and our willingness to persist that makes the difference.

My dad was right about the early bird getting the worm, but there's another equally correct saying about how it's the second mouse that gets the cheese.

Personally, if I had to choose between a worm or cheese, I'd eat the latter. But I'd better compare their calorie counts before deciding for sure.

Lori Welbourne is a syndicated columnist. She can be contacted at LoriWelbourne.com

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