Think you can’t keep that resolution? Think again.
I caught up with a group of old workmates just before Christmas and couldn’t believe my eyes.
In the 12 months since our last festive fizz, they’d all shrunk – and by a sizeable amount.
“I’ve lost 16 kilos,” cried one gleefully.
“Ten!” said another.
“More than 20,” said a third.
On January 4 last year, a core group of four gathered in a busy Adelaide office and pledged their allegiance to the cult of Dukan.
Off went the heels. Out came the scales. In true bureaucratic style, someone whipped up an Excel spreadsheet.
And the Dukan diet began.
“We’re really proud of ourselves,” said Ms 16kg.
“Some joined later in the year, after they saw how well we were all doing. They’ve lost weight too, but nothing like those of us who’ve been at it for 12 months.
“Others started and didn’t keep it up, and they’re kicking themselves now for not sticking with it.”
I’ve always been cynical about diets, especially those that require you to sign your life away for months in advance, buy a self-help tome, or consume nothing but some weird ingredient like cumquats.
I’m doubly cynical about New Year’s resolutions, generally cast aside quicker than those cute Christmas puppies that turn out (surprise, surprise) to be more hard work than soft toy.
But you can’t help but be impressed when you see a group of people who’ve made a pact to support each other through thick and (wafer) thin, stuck it out for 12 months and turned their lives around.
I don’t know much about the Dukan diet and I know you Punch readers are bright enough to thoroughly check it out before you head into the four phases of introduction, attack, consolidation and cruise.
But I like French founder Dr Pierre Dukan’s philosophy of taking people across the globe on a “journey” out of obesity.
What’s life without a proper commitment to the journey? A bunch of good intentions and sad abandoned starts.
Take a friend of mine who’s been trying to quit smoking for ages now. Each time she falls off the wagon, she rings a support line and they tell her to “just keep quitting”. (Whenever I think of it, I hear Dory in Finding Nemo: “Just keep quitting, just keep quitting…”)
So after years of attempts, she just keeps quitting… and smoking.
That’s what’s so impressive about my radically reduced former workmates. They not only started the journey but made their way to the end, too.
These days it seems we’re all very happy to hop onto the latest fad, but boredom or lack of determination or work/life balance, that pitiful excuse cursing the modern world, soon has us legitimizing old habits.
Get it right, though, and it’ll change your life.
A couple of years back, another friend took up running to show her children the power of commitment.
She hadn’t run since high school and was quite unfit, so she started slow on January 2 – running between power poles (walk one, run one) for five minutes the first day, building up in five-minute increments as she got stronger.
By the end of the year she’d run half marathons in Adelaide and Melbourne.
Surely it’s the same with anything, from dieting to weaning yourself off maxed-out credit cards.
In one week you’ll feel a bit better. In two weeks, better still. Months down the track you’ll be ecstatic that you’re months down the track.
More than 60 per cent of Australian adults are overweight or obese. If you’re one of them, consider this: 2011 proved you can’t do much about tsunamis in Japan, economic woes in Europe or natural disasters in Queensland.
But it’s also proved that a little group of people in little old Adelaide can get a whole lot littler, thanks to willpower, moral support and an Excel spreadsheet.
If you did make a resolution last night: start slow. Aim big. Stick with it. And imagine how fantastic you’ll feel in July.
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