I just got back from the grocery store. If, at any time during the shopping I’d left my cart somewhere, I wouldn’t have been able to claim it. I wouldn’t have recognized it as my own. It was chock full of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fat-free everything. It was the kind of cart you don’t mind bumping into neighbors with instead of praying to escape unnoticed with your king-sized Twix, bags of chips, and rolls of cookie dough. It was a January cart.

January carts are unlike any other. They’re fresh with the promise of new resolve. They’re a testament to our new healthy way of living, new eating plans, and new diets (though experts warn against calling anything a diet.) After bingeing my way from Halloween candy straight through to the last glass of champagne on New Year’s Eve, I (along with most of the free world) could stand to lose a few pounds. And so, it begins. Again.

I choose Weight Watchers. Because, at the risk of sounding like the ad, it works. And also because nothing is off limits. It just “costs” more of your daily points. This works well for me. Like most people, if I’m told I can’t have something, it’s the only thing I want. Of course, some common sense is in order. I once had a friend that didn’t eat all day to save her points for alcohol at a party that night. Not the best plan.

This year, in addition to counting points, I’m watching my sugar intake. Me. Who’s been known to say there’s no such thing as too sweet or too rich. But my dad was recently told he’s borderline diabetic. And my mother is always saying I consume too much of the sweet stuff. Then, at a New Year’s Eve party, someone told me all the dangers of diabetes. It’s no joke. Cardiovascular disease, kidney and nerve damage, eye and foot problems to name a few. I do like my cakes and cookies, but I’m not an idiot. Call me crazy, but I operate on signs, nudges, and intuition. When the universe seems to be shouting a message, I listen.

So, I’m trying to choose foods lower on the glycemic index. I’m also reading labels. I read somewhere that you should avoid items with more than 6g of sugar per serving. Since I’m not The Diet Nazi, I’ve stretched that to anything in the single digits. I’ve also cleared everything “bad” out of the house. I’ve learned in the past, if it’s there, I’ll eat it. I can’t do portion control. I can’t have one piece of chocolate. If there are cookies in the house, I won’t stop until I’ve consumed the entire bag. When I was relatively new to the wheelchair, I used to have junk food in the house. I could eat a few and throw the baggie full of whatever across the room, the theory being that it was just too much effort to get from the couch into the wheelchair to pick up the bag. Now that a transfer is easier, no place is out of reach. And it’s worth the effort.

The decision was made to get serious about my weight when I recently visited a fitting room. (Where did those rolls come from?) I’ve also found myself more comfortable in items with an elastic waistband, or “spring-loaded” as a friend once substituted, having forgotten the correct word.

If you, too, have a plan to trim down in 2012, I wish you much stick-to-it-ive-ness. Here’s to February, March and April carts, too. And if all else fails, may you find the perfect pair of spring-loaded pants.

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