11 New Year Resolutions That Don’t Focus On Weight Loss
December 31st, 2017 by Sara Upson
It’s that time of the year when everyone is talking about the New Year- setting resolutions, making plans and goals. I bet you wouldn’t have to think very hard to guess what the number one new years resolution is (it makes me cringe)…of course- get healthy/weight loss/new me. I lump them all together because really they’re variations of the same idea over and over- I can be healthier and happier/ a better version of myself if I lose weight. WRONG! Here’s the truth: losing weight doesn’t make you happier, it doesn’t automatically make you healthier either and no matter what you do, you are still you. And you’re pretty awesome (even if you don’t believe it, it’s true)!!
Please resist the temptation to fall into the same pattern of setting another weight loss/get healthy/new me (or other variation) goal where the end outcome is focusing on weight loss– even if you (or the person selling it) says it’s not a diet! This won’t help you feel better in the new year. It will lead you right back to where you are.
Think about it- if diets worked, why would you (and the majority of people) need to go on one (or more) every year? The reality is, they don’t work, they set you up for failure and to make you feel worse. So instead of engaging in diet culture and choosing another weight loss resolution that you won’t keep, which will likely lead to weight gain, try something different! I have 11 ideas for you to consider. I hope you’ll pick one and share which one you picked!
- Reject Diet Culture. This one’s challenging, despite how easy it might appear. It seems like it’d be so simple just to say no to diets, dieting and all things diet related, but as you start trying your eyes open to how firmly entrenched dieting is in our culture. It’s definitely a challenge, but it also feels amazingly good. Instead of another diet- try rejecting diets and diet culture. I have a free diet culture detox + 5 day mini course to get you started. It’s the only detox that I can firmly stand behind!
- Self Compassion. Self compassion is extending compassion to yourself in moments of perceived inadequacy, failure or suffering. Think about how you talk to your best friend or someone you deeply care about when they’re struggling. I bet you don’t call them stupid or a screw up. You probably offer words of kindness, compassion and grace. Now think about how you talk to yourself when you feel like you’ve messed up or are struggling. Are you as kind to yourself as you are to your friend? Would you ever talk to your friend the way you talk to yourself? Self compassion is extending the same grace to yourself that you would extend to a friend. Self compassion acknowledges that you’re struggling and that you’re worthy of the same kindness you would extend to someone else. Again- something that is simple, yet so hard. I love Kristen Neff’s book Self-Compassion* and Chris Germer’s book The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion*. Neff also has a self compassion assessment on her website that you can take right now to get started. Find out how self compassionate you are: http://self-compassion.org/test-how-self-compassionate-you-are/ (*The two book links are affiliate links. I receive a tiny commission if you purchase through this link.)
- Self Care. Self care is taking time to care for yourself. It acknowledges that you have value and worth just as you are. Sometimes with self care our culture turns more toward the materialistic version of self care where we think of getting a massage, a pedicure, spa day etc. But the reality is self care exists on a spectrum and includes anything that you enjoy doing or anything that comes back to taking care of you- basically you become a priority in your own life. The reality is self care could be taking a shower, putting on new clothes, or brushing your hair. When you’re struggling, these acts of self care are not so simple. Self care can also expand to include journaling, seeking help or support (therapy), reading, or saying NO to a new project. Instead of weighting (pun intended) until you’ve “earned” worthiness or feel that you’re deserving of kindness and respect, give it to yourself now.
- No More Weighting. This could be a form of self care as it’s taking time to do something that you desire or long to do right now. Not when you’ve earned it or have the “right body type.” Think about it like this. Make a list of all the things that you would do if you felt confident in your body. Go ahead…Now look at your list and pick one of those things to do right now. Some of the things might have nothing to do with your body- like learning a new craft- but some of them might be something that you’ve put off for years because you were weighting until you felt like you were “right” or “looked good enough” to do it. No more! Be that person now! If you want to learn to swim- go swimming. Want to hike- you just have to start somewhere. Challenge all or nothing thinking and take the first step to try something new. Discover new passions and what you really enjoy. Focusing on weight and dieting limits your life and makes your world small. #NoMoreWeighting!
- Get Rid of the Scale/No More Weighing. Yes, you read that right- get rid of your scale. Make a commitment to focus on taking care of yourself and not the number on the scale. Therefore, get rid of it. The scale actually interferes with your ability to connect with what you need and what’s best for you. So stop, throw it out, and focus on something else. Besides, think about how much fun it will be to tell people who ask about your resolution… What’s your new years resolution- to never weigh myself again.
- Joyful Movement. That’s not an oxymoron. A lot of people morph their new years resolution “away from dieting” into one that focuses on getting healthy or exercising- BUT it’s still all about dieting and weight loss. That’s not what joyful movement is. Joyful movement is all about finding body movement that you enjoy and feels good to you. It may be hard to believe but there was once a time in your life that you loved moving your body. That’s what bodies were created to do after all- move! Over time with dieting and forced exercise- exercise has become a chore. Make your resolution to change that by reconnecting with something that you love. If it doesn’t feel like reconnection then discovering something that you love. Here’s some ideas to get you started: think about your history with exercise/activity movement- did you play any sports or do any activities? What did you enjoy doing as a child? Why did you stop? Make a list of activities that you would like to try- consider your current fitness level, how you want to feel during and after exercise, how you like to exercise (alone versus with others), and where (inside/outside) etc. Try different things that are FUN. If you’ve been dieting for a while, are new to working on intuitive eating or in the recovery process from an eating disorder this may not be the best resolution for you as it takes time to separate exercise from previous associations. Your version of this could be permission to not exercise to relax and wait for your body to say it’s ready. (If you’re working the recovery process that also includes permission from your treatment team to exercise as well.)
- Stop Labeling Food– another challenging resolution that appears easy on the surface. When everyone around you labels food in terms of good/bad/healthy/unhealthy/clean, etc it can be difficult to change your thinking. A step in moving away from diet culture is no longer labeling your foods with any labels that describe food in moralistic terms. It’s a challenge to change your thinking when most people around you still do this. But soo freeing and actually a huge improvement in health and well-being too!
- Body Respect. This comes on a spectrum too, but is basically accepting your body as it is. For some people it may mean working on hating your body a little bit less or creating a neutral space (my body is okay), to believing that your body is worthy of respect. Body respect is a radical notion in our current diet culture. IT says that you’re good enough just as you are. You don’t have to change. You are worthy of love and respect no matter what. This is a fact. The hard part is working to change your thinking to believe it for yourself. Imagine a year of focusing on being kind to yourself and believing that you are enough as you are. Think about how contrasting that is to dieting…
- Seeking Satisfaction. Pleasure has somehow become a four letter word and it’s not something that gets very much credit. But satisfaction is extremely important especially when it comes to eating. With this resolution, instead of deprivation (dieting) you choose satisfaction. This means being selective with your eating because you’re finding foods that are pleasing to you. This will look different for everyone but the question to keep in mind is what do you really want to eat? While you’re eating check in- does it still taste good? Are you enjoying this? If no- what can you do to make it more satisfying? Also consider where and who you eat with. How can you make your eating experience more pleasurable, it may not just be about what you eat but also, where, how, and why you eat…
- Sleep. With our busy go, go, go culture somewhere sleep fell off the list as a priority. And even more than that- there seems to be a value placed on going without sleep- of doing more with less. The reality is- sleep is really important. It impacts your mood, health, well-being and eating patterns. It’s something that doesn’t get a lot of attention, but really deserves to be well taken care of. So instead of burning the midnight oil- go to sleep. Focus on establishing sleep patterns that are supportive to you. Generally this includes going to bed and waking at the same time, turning off the tv, establishing sleep rituals, and making sleep a priority.
- Intuitive Eating. You probably knew this was coming somewhere on my list. Intuitive eating encompasses most everything on this list as it’s all about honoring you and your body when it comes to nourishment. It means eating for hunger and fullness, but also for pleasure and satisfaction. It includes balance but doesn’t force it. It’s about attuning to your needs and discovering what you really need. It’s letting go of the list of rules and systems that you’ve used (dieting) to feel in control and instead learning how to be fully in charge by reconnecting to your body rather than disconnecting. It’s honoring your body by NOT doing something to you a diet) but doing something with you that is supportive and fulfilling. Scary- yes, worth it- absolutely. I have some groups to support you in this process if you’re interested: Monthly Intuitive Eating Group and 10 Week Intuitive Eating group. Individual support is also available.
What will you choose? Share with me below!