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Valerie's Top 5

Year after year, the number 1 New Year’s Resolution is the desire to lose weight. After shedding 75 pounds over the past few years, here’s five things I’ve learned that might help you if that’s your New Year’s Resolution, too:

1. Feeling feelings sucks. In the beginning, I resolved not to eat my feelings. Do you know how bad a bad day feels when you don’t shove a cupcake in your mouth to forget about it? And, if you decide to just say screw it and eat the cupcake, you are now cognizant of the fact that you are using the cupcake to make you feel better. At that point, either way, the cupcake has lost its appeal and no longer makes you forget all about whatever it was that upset you. On the other hand, not eating feelings keeps me being able to only buy one seat on an airplane, not buy my clothes at Nashville Tent and Awning, and keeps little trucks with flashing lights and wide load signs from following me around.

2. Most People Push Food. If I ate every time someone thought I should, I would be as big as the broadside of a barn. Why are people so concerned with when I eat or how much I eat? I don’t need a slice of cake at every wedding, birthday party, bridal shower, or girls’ night out. NO means NO, people…..whether it’s sex, drugs, or FOOD. For goodness sakes, back off, y’all.

3. Eating Healthier Doesn’t Equal Deprivation. Now that I’m eating healthier, I eat more food than ever. I used to wake up, drink a Diet Coke, go all day without eating, come home at 6 pm, basically set up a buffet and graze the rest of the night on junk food until bedtime. Now I eat all day long, just better choices, whole grains, lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and LOTS and LOTS of water….with even more trips to the ladies’ room!

4. Try New Things. I have tried all kinds of new things in my quest for a healthier lifestyle. Some I now love and some, not so much. I tried Spin classes. At first, I thought I might die. Now, it’s one of my favorite forms of cardio. I tried celery root as a substitute for mashed potatoes. It didn’t fake me out that I’m was eating mashed potatoes, but it was dang good celery root purée. I tried making flaxseed muffins. Let me just say, sawdust from my Daddy’s barn has to taste better than those muffins. I tried Hot Yoga. Nothing about me wants to be in 110 degree weather unless I’m floating like a walrus in a swimming pool with a fruity drink in my hand. Point is, try something new. Somethings won’t work but somethings will.

5. It Ain’t Easy. I’m not going to sugar coat it. The past few years haven’t been sunshine and rose petals. To put it plainly, some days, it’s been hard as hell. Some days, I’ve cried, I’ve whined, and I’ve raised cain. Other days, I’ve laughed, smiled and jumped for joy when I’ve fit into a smaller size, watched as the scales dropped, or noticed a muscle I hadn’t seen before.

January 1st, the big day when everyone sets out with all their New Year’s resolutions, is right around the corner. If you think it’s going to be easy, forget about it. But if you’re willing to do the work knowing that some days you’re just going to have to put your head down and grit your teeth to make it through, have at it. Trust me, a year from now, you’ll be glad you did. I know I am.

Valerie Kemp Dreier

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