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  • Writer's pictureDonna Hutchison

Southern Tier Health & Wellness

Let Quitter’s Day Be Your Day to Renew and Restart

The strains of the Santa Baby and Auld Lang Syne have faded. The holiday decorations have been taken down and put away for another year. The New Year’s glitter and the confetti has all been swept away. The daylight is, thankfully, growing incrementally longer. Most of us are happily settling back into our routines … but, what about those New Year’s Resolutions?

According to a poll, fully one third of adult U.S. Citizens establish New Year’s resolutions, most of them having to do with weight loss and fitness, and yet only 10 percent of those reach the goals they set. You probably had the best intentions of following through this year, and maybe you started out like gangbusters, hitting the gym and eating vegetables for snacks. But now your resolve is fading and you don’t know how much longer you can sustain it.  You may be cruising, not for the first time, toward what has come to be known as Quitter’s Day.  Quitter’s Day, the second Friday in January, is the day when most resolution-makers throw in the towel on their resolutions.

All is not lost, however. There is nothing fancy about January 1 as a starting date. You can start on a Monday or a random day in the middle of the week. You can even decide that you are going to start on Quitter’s Day and transform it from a day of failure to a day of triumph.  

There are a couple of important things to bear in mind when you are getting started or are restarting. First, be gentle with yourself. You are not a failure. Just start where you are and move forward from here. If the Standard American Diet, aptly known by the acronym SAD, has left you fat, sick and moving toward an early grave, you are not alone. Educate yourself. Watch the documentary series Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones, or the documentary Forks Over Knives, available on streaming services. These approaches suggest a lifestyle change that isn’t dependent on limiting caloric intake, but changing the foods you eat. You might discover that many of the things you held to be true about what our bodies require to be healthy are just plain propaganda, made up by the food industry to make them rich. If you are serious about seizing control of your health it is very important, if you are on multiple medications and plan to overhaul your eating and exercise habits, that you see your doctor and have them monitor your weight loss and medication needs. You might even convince your doctor that lifestyle changes can halt and sometimes reverse serious conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Caldwell B. Esselstyn’s book, Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease might help you get started.

Some resources suggested by Donna Hutchison that can help you master those New Year resolutions to get healthy.

Second, diets don’t work. Lifestyle changes that are sustainable over time will help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight while eating a wide variety of delicious foods. Likewise, the best exercise for you is one that you will do and that brings you joy – whether that is walking, dancing, swimming, going to a gym or doing exercise videos in your basement. YOU are the expert on you.  

Third, take a look at your resolutions. Maybe the goals you set weren’t SMART: Specific, Measurable, Relevant and Timely. Break your goals into smaller pieces. Instead of resolving to lose 50 pounds in 2024, make your goal to lose 10 pounds in six weeks. That is specific (not just, “I resolve to lose weight”). It is measurable (if you have a scale). It is relevant to your overall goal, and it is timely — 6 weeks. Then get specific and realistic about what small steps you will take to get there. If you are not exercising at all and are in poor physical condition, don’t resolve to run a marathon this year; instead, start by walking a block and then increase your distance as you feel stronger and more able. Reset your goals as you hit your benchmarks. As Ted Lasso says, “It’s a lot like riding a horse; if it’s comfortable, you’re probably not doing it right.” Stretch yourself. Plan your meals and snacks and prepare for them by having snack-sized containers of cut vegetables and hummus, nuts or pieces of fruit ready to go. The more homemade food you eat, the healthier you will be. Be creative and have a plan for all of your meals. Batch your food preparation on the day before your work week starts.  

Health and wellness writer, Donna Hutchison, suggests enlisting a friend to help keep those "het healthy" New Year's resolutions. Here she's pictured with Karen, a friend and client.

Fourth, get support. Find a friend or two who want to make health a priority this year. Meet each other for exercise or to plan meals. Check in with each other. You could even do this virtually with a friend or family member who does not live nearby. If you don’t know where to start, you might want to seek out and work with a health coach. A good health coach is a guide from the side, not telling you what to do, but asking questions and allowing you to decide the plan best for you, and cheering you on as you incorporate small steps toward big change. A good health coach also recognizes that health and wellness aren’t attained by just eating healthy foods, and asks you to look at the four pillars of well-being: Relationships, Spirituality, Movement and Purpose. All of the kale in the world won’t make you healthy if you’re not in good relationships with the people you love, if you don’t have a wider sense of connection to the world, if you’re not moving your body, and if you don’t feel like you are contributing in a meaningful way.

Finally, think about your “why”. Why do you want to lose weight and be fit? Distill this down to the most essential reason. It isn’t about how you look or fitting into that pair of jeans. Most often it comes down to wanting to be here for the people who are most important to you and to be able to do things together, to travel and to play, and to have time to spend time with those you love. If your motivation is big and meaningful enough, you can do anything.    

So, don’t be afraid to start over, and it’s okay to start scared. Nothing banishes fear like information and a plan.

Happy Quitter’s Day! May it be a fresh beginning for a happy and healthy life.

About the author

Donna Hutchison is a medical massage therapist and craniosacral therapy practitioner at Soul Ease Medical Massage in Corning, NY. She is an IIN certified Health Coach and the owner of Autumn Sunrise Health Coaching.

Donna settled in the Southern Tier in 1987. She is the mother of two amazing adult children and resides in Elmira  with her husband, Mark.


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