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Chapter 16. New Year's Resolutions and O... > Losing Weight and Lifting Weights - Pg. 166

New Year's Resolutions and Other Self-Improvement Promises 166 The key here is to think not so much in terms of the timing of the resolution. Sure, it's a new year, a fresh start, old acquaintances can be forgot, yadda, yadda, yadda. The reality, though, is that New Year's Day is just another day in your life. And whether it's January 1, June 1, or October 1, you're not going to make changes in that life unless you understand the change process, as touched on in the preceding list of three problems and in more detail in Chapter 6. Losing Weight and Lifting Weights The American Dietetic Association has found that at any given time, 45 percent of women and 25 percent of men are on a diet to lose weight. Recent government surveys show that almost 51 percent of women and 59 percent of men are overweight, according to the government's updated ideal weight charts and figures. The weight-control industry makes $30 to $50 billion a year from diets, drugs, and other products and programs. Even my little procrastination survey of 309 people (see Appendix D, "The Procrastination Survey") found that losing weight and exercising are two of the three biggest procrastination problems. All the numbers add up to the fact that a lot of people are seeing higher numbers on the scales than they'd like. As for exercising, it, of course, is not always done for weight loss. Weight loss is a major reason people exercise, but some people exercise to feel good, be healthier, or look better. A recent Newsweek poll for a special issue on women's health found that 66 percent of women exercise to look better and feel healthier, while only 18 percent do so because they enjoy it. (Ten percent said they never exercise, and 5 percent had other reasons not stated.) I wouldn't be surprised if the statistics for men are similar. Considering that we're a society that places such importance on looking good, those who don't exercise often end up feeling inferior somehow. I know the feeling! The Day I Stopped Exercising I can pinpoint the day that I became an exercise procrastinator. I was in my mid-20s and in my first year of graduate school in Los Angeles. Up until that point, I had been an extremely active and athletic child and teenager. In college, I still considered myself a basically athletic person even though I didn't do much in the way of exercise. It wasn't an issue of procrastination; I simply found too many other fun things to do during the undergrad years (including eating way too much pizza, which led to putting on the proverbial "Freshman 10"--okay, maybe 15). Matter of Fact For many people, struggles with weight are caused by, and made worse by, a poor self-image and low self- esteem. Working with a psychotherapist or other mental health professional can therefore be a valuable com- plement to any weight-loss effort. You can think of it as working on your appearance from the inside out. To work on your self-esteem from the outside in, consider meeting with an image consultant, who can help you feel better about yourself by looking better--no matter what your weight is. You can find one through the Association of Image Consultants International at 800-383-8831 or In graduate school, I thought that I would get back into exercising and sports, but for some reason, I did so only sporadically. I now know why. It all started one day when I attended a psychology conference. At the suggestion of a fellow student (and against my better judgment), I sat in on a speech given by a motivational speaker/psycho-babbling guru popular in the 1970s and 1980s. I'm