We're optimistic that 2011 is going to be the year: The year we discipline ourselves to stop eating just before we feel full; the year we take walks instead of naps after lunch; and the year we admit that not every day is a reason to celebrate (Hey, it's Thesaurus Day! Let's feast!) But it doesn't mean that we're not cautious. There's still a pretty good chance that January 13 will roll around and we'll have fallen far from the wagon, telling ourselves that weight ain't nothing but a number and that we don't care about the Western idea of beauty, anyway. So even though 2011 is the year for food resolutions, here are a few you shouldn't count on:
1. Banishing grease and salt from your diet.
This resolution's longevity depends on your fondness for flavor and your tolerance for cucumbers. There may even be a few stronger-willed people out there who aren't lying about how much "lighter" and "healthier" they feel when they swap hamburgers for open-faced watercress sandwiches. Seasons 52 is trying to make the no grease, no salt thing happen in Dallas by serving dishes with 475 calories or less, but the preparations earned lukewarm reviews from Critic's Guide's Dave Faries, Dallas Morning News' Leslie Brenner and our own Hanna Raskin. As Raskin put it, "What's the point?"
2. Cutting Out Soda
Soda is one of the Big Bads in dieting. It's saturated with sugar, causes bloating and weight gain, and the Diet kinds are supposed to leave your brain malfunctioning and riddled with cancer. But it's easy to forget all that when you're seven hours into caffeine withdrawal and a dull ache has moved into the front of your skull and set your brain on fire. If you're that concerned with aspartame's effects, it's just as easy to buy a Soda Stream, which is supposed to let you mix carbonated water with syrup while saving the environment. But that's also cheating.
3. Going Vegan
The devoted vegans I know selected their lifestyles after long, careful and strenuous consideration (except for my roommate's boyfriend freshman year, who went vegan because it was the Awesome, College-y Thing to Do.) But generally, they didn't make that choice to commemorate the new year. Face it, a cow slaughtered on December 28 doesn't really care what you order at McDonald's on January 3.
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4. Giving Up Alcohol Yeah, right.
5. Eating out less Even though Michelle Obama and the Food Environment Atlas insist that dining out is making you fat, it's hard to resist the convenience, atmosphere and flavor of restaurants every night of the week. Maybe you're happy to make lasagna in bulk for a few weeks, but what are you going to do when your Food Saver breaks and freezer burn sets in?
FYI: Thesaurus Day is January 18.