A Non-Diet Approach to the New Year
As a new year is fastly approaching us, so do the many New Year’s resolutions revolving around dieting and weight loss. In fact, 50% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions every year. As we see yearly, weight loss or dieting consistently makes one of the most common resolutions for Americans around the world. Despite everyone’s best of intentions, only 8% of people who make resolutions actually follow them. Why? For those specifically focusing on weight loss, this is because many diet-focused resolutions are restrictive, unrealistic, and focus on changing your body.
What if this year you decide not to set a diet or weight loss related resolution? Crazy, right! This may seem like a very odd proposition especially because of the influx of weight loss and dieting ads bombarding our phones, TVs, and social media before January. However, I encourage you to reflect differently this year. Instead of a weight loss oriented resolution, why not make a resolution that rejects diet culture in favor of positively impacting mental health and recovery! Below are some ideas of non-diet new year’s resolutions to think of instead.
Non-Diet New Year's Resolutions!
1. Change Your Language
The language you use around your body and food matters! The way you talk about yourself, your food, your body impacts your thoughts and emotions. Instead of using words such as “good” or “bad”, try to find words that are more neutral and nonjudgmental. Remember that your words have power. Language that perpetuates feelings of shame and guilt is very consistent with diet culture. Instead, why not make it your New Year’s resolution to begin the journey of speaking kindly to yourself.
2. Take Time for Self Care
Another idea for a New Year’s resolution is taking even just a few minutes for yourself daily. This could look like a walk with your dog during your work break, a few minutes of deep breathing after a long day of work or reading a book with your favorite cup of tea. Try to take at least 5 minutes every single day to prioritize yourself.
3. Stop Comparing Yourself
Social media can be an amazing way of connecting with loved ones and friends. However, it can also be a very difficult place for someone in recovery. Unfortunately for many, social media also breeds unhealthy comparison. Perhaps a goal for this year can be to start unfollowing people on social media who are triggering or who are not supportive to your recovery. This is also something that can help to cultivate a more positive environment full of like-minded people on your social media.
4. Practice Gratitude
Being present in the day to day of life can be very difficult. Sometimes, it feels like a lot to simply take a second to reflect on the day you had. Another resolution you could try for next year could be simply practicing gratitude on a daily basis. This does not take a lot of time, but could be as simple as reflecting on one good thing that happened during your day. Remember that these reflections do not have to be deep, they could even be as simple as “I got to spend time with my best friend today” or “I got to eat my lunch today in the sunshine.” Reflecting on even the smallest things everyday can help to begin cultivating a mindset of gratitude.
5. Practice Gentle Movement
If you are in a space where you can begin working on gentle movement, maybe this upcoming year can be more about discovering the joy behind movement. Shifting your focus around movement can be really difficult, especially for those who have practiced years of movement as punishment. This upcoming year, start to pay attention to how movement feels in your body! Recognize what types of movement feel good to you and what movement might not feel good in your body. Take time to discover new forms of movement and be mindful of what your body is calling for at the moment. Doing a full body scan and recognizing how each body part feels before you begin movement can be a great way of starting to bring intention to joyful movement.
I encourage you to take a different approach to New Year’s resolutions this year. Recognize that if you don’t want to have a resolution this year, that’s okay too! Where you are in your own personal journey is unique and special and can look different from everyone else’s.