My Struggles and Break Throughs with New Years Resolutions

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I have a love-hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions, a trait I suspect I share with many.

As a child, my annual resolution to brush my teeth every morning and night seldom made it past noon on the 7th day. These resolutions, of course, were made to fill in the blank. To answer parent’s or teachers’ inquiries and not self-motivated. And that was their fatal flaw.

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As an adult I have made a number of similar resolutions, most notably to lose weight or to quit cigarettes. Again these tended to fail at least in part because the goals were as much to meet my spouse’s desires as my own. Plus in the case of losing weight, they suffered from the lack of a concrete measurable goal and a specific timeline. Qualities most goal-setting gurus suggest are imperative.

The Failure Syndrome

The net result of years of failure of such resolutions to survive more than a few days or weeks at most was the development of what I came to see as my resolution failure syndrome.

This syndrome was most pronounced in my stop smoking efforts. I had resolved and then failed so many times, I began to see myself rationalizing that I should just light up now, and skip the withdrawal agony as I knew I would eventually fail again.

Each new failure added to that reality. New years resolution after new years resolution combined with more than a handful of interim midyear resolutions proved the point.

It wasn’t until I decided not to quit, but to abstain for a full year that I was able to break that chain. By adding that simple specific goal and timeline, I was able to successfully quit. Now as an aside, I had severe anxiety as I approached the year anniversary wondering if I would then relapse. Thankfully, I did not and have remained cigarette free since.

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It’s Hard to Stop Eating

It was one thing to give up cigarettes, another to lose weight. You can stop smoking, it is far more difficult to stop eating.

Like many people, I tried many different approaches from Weight Watchers to the Veteran’s Affair’s Move program to a dozen and a half diet plans. Generally speaking, I was successful with most — until I wasn’t.

Having quit smoking and with a sit behind the computer lifestyle, I had ballooned to over 280 pounds. On my journey to that awful level of obesity, I would lose weight on one or another diet effort only to gain it back and usually a bit more than when I had started. If this rings a bell with you, I have some hope to offer.

The Point of Maximum Pain

The point of maximum pain occurred for me, when I needed to buy a new suit for my son’s wedding, I just wasn’t comfortable being seen bulging out of my old one. (Yes, I am a one-suit, worn for weddings and funerals, sort of guy.)

In hindsight, I think it was how I would look that mattered to me most, more than the fact that I was a mini-blimp. It may well have been that pain that ultimately propelled me forward.

After the wedding, I started exploring options. A friend had success with a meal program from one of the national vendors, but he cautioned me, that while it had worked for him, he was single and thought it would be more difficult for a couple.

Exploring Noom

I had been hearing ads on public radio about Noom and went to their website. I was immediately attracted to two things. First and foremost was the chance to do a free 14-day trial. The second was that after I took the intake questionnaire they have on their site, they seemed to promise I could lose 40 pounds in four months. To go from 280 to well under 250 mark by a full additional 10 pounds excited me. Could it be true? Well, I could find out for free for a “look-see.” And so I did. The price was right.

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Quick Success

The pain was mine, and so was the motivation to get started and I jumped in and followed the program to the T, especially at first. In my case that meant sticking to a 1400 calorie a day budget, and accurately logging in each meal and snack. I was pleased to learn that there were no forbidden foods. I could eat what I wanted when I wanted. However, there were also some daily readings, mini-quizzes, and suggestions. Foods were labeled Red, Yellow and Green and daily steps goals were established using my cell phone as a pedometer.

I had been something of a cell phone troglodyte, often forgetting to charge it, often leaving it at home when out and about. Noom changed that. I was daily reading the lessons, logging my meals on the phone and it became a more meaningful part of my life. If you are already married to your phone you will find the Noom ap second nature.

I started to increase my activity level and pretty religiously stayed within my daily calorie budgets which included bonus calories for exercise. Bottom line, by the 11th week I lost 35 pounds and was so proud of myself I wrote an article on Medium about my success.

The Glide Path

One of the things that made Noom work for me, was what I call the glide path. Every day I would weigh myself and enter the result into the Noom Ap. There I could see not only a graph showing where I had been but one that projected out into the future my long term goal and an estimate as to when I would get there. It showed not only my progress, but also the promise. If I kept at it.

When I think about past resolutions, particularly New Years' ones the initial motivation was often there. What ultimately was lacking was the motivation to continue. The daily logging, the daily lessons, the input from Noom coaches and the ability to see my progress all aided in my efforts to learn to eat mindfully and within my budget.

Now at the six-month mark I have lost a total of over 60 pounds. My next target is 9 pounds away and will represent a loss of 25% of my starting body weight. That is significant. And is why I am writing this post. Noom has worked for me. In large part, because I was ready to take action, and essential ingredient. But also importantly, because it has helped me keep on keeping on.

If you are ready to make a commitment to yourself, I recommend you take advantage of the 14-day trial and see for yourself whether Noom will be as useful to you as it was to me.

Affiliate Disclosure

I have become an evangelist, because of my success and am now also an affiliate promoting Noom. Should you try the program and then stay on it, I will earn a little commission. More important to me is knowing that someone else has benefited from my experience.

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