By Alex Raymond, RD,LD.
Oh, January… The month in which we are all bombarded with diet talk galore. We all feel the pressure to make New Year’s Resolutions and to somehow reinvent ourselves in the New Year. But, truly, all that happens is the sun sets and rises on another day.
The diet industry has completely taken over New Year’s to, well, make a huge profit.
The diet industry is worth almost 70 billion dollars. What this means is this industry knows how to play it to get our money. And they do this by making us feel badly about our bodies. And driving us to want to change our bodies to meet this unrealistic ideal.
Think about it… how many New Year’s resolutions are about some kind of weight loss or toning or shaping our bodies?
I don’t believe it’s anyone’s “fault” if they fall victim to the diet industry. It’s constantly in our face. We are constantly bombarded with those messages. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You do not have to measure your worth by the number on the scale. Thoughts of food and body image take away from you living your full and best life.
Overall, I do think New Year’s Resolutions are overrated. We get all hyped up for the New Year and what’s going to be better, but the resolutions don’t last. And that’s okay. If it’s a diet, it wasn’t meant to last. I’d like to talk a bit about reframing resolutions if you do decide to make one.
Which, keep in mind, there is absolutely no pressure to make one. Personally, sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. And my resolutions are quite small. For example, one year I decided to make sure to put my clothes away first thing after I came home from work. One year, I decided to journal more (this one didn’t last long, but that’s okay).
So… let’s talk about reframing those New Year’s Resolutions.
1.Instead of making a resolution, you can set an “intention” for the year.
I really like the idea of choosing a word and making that your focus for the year. Write down a few things that you want to see more of this upcoming year. Write down a few things you want to see less of this year. Then, choose a word based on these things. I like this idea because it allows us to be flexible
2. Ask yourself: Is this going to help or hurt my relationship with food and body?
If it’s going to help it (more self care, better sleep schedule, buying clothes you feel comfortable in…etc.) then sure, it makes sense to set the resolution. If it’s going to hurt you, maybe you can think of something else. 🙂
3.Remind yourself: It doesn’t have to be “perfect.”
No intention for yourself is going to work 100% of the time. It’s okay if you have to shift your thinking a bit to match what is going on in your life. Otherwise, it’s too black and white. For example: A few years ago I made a resolution to read 1 book a month. Some books took me 6 weeks to read, other books took me 3 weeks. Plus, I actually didn’t start this “resolution” till March… If I decided I “messed up” one month by taking too long to read a book, then that would have discouraged me from reading other books. Which would have been just silly. So give yourself permission to do what you can.
4. Don’t make a resolution.
Again… Remember, you don’t have to make a New Year’s resolution at all. Yes, I feel that the beginning of the year is a good time for us to take a break and reflect (I also feel this way about the change in seasons), but becoming a “New Year” is just another day. So no pressure to try to change something that might not actually need changing.
Please reach out to our wonderful dietitians if you have any questions about setting empowered, body positive resolutions ( or not-resolutions!). We’d love to talk with you about this or anything else! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.