Every new year, people always think about making resolutions to change who they are and/or what they look like. Add a new decade to the mix, and people are even more excited about it. We see it everywhere: “New Year, New You”! Why do people feel they need to change just because there is a change to the date? You would think by now that we would have learned that resolutions don’t last and just set us up for failure. We get into the dangerous language of black-and-white thinking; “should” vs. “should not”. Being so all-or-nothing is not sustainable. As a result, the resolution that was set with the best intentions doesn’t last and we feel even worse about ourselves.
The most common resolutions, unfortunately, are around changing physical appearance. Therefore, diets and exercise regimes become the “in” thing. January is a very busy time for gyms and diet companies. They make money targeting the people who are making these sorts of resolutions knowing that most of these people may not be able to keep them.
If people are truly trying to get healthy, than why are they waiting for a new year to do it and choosing unhealthy ways of getting there?
Any type of change needs the proper motivation and plan to be successful. In order to start, look back at the past year and decade and ask yourself:
- What went well?
- What are you grateful for?
- What didn’t go as well?
- Why didn’t it go well?
- Is it something you want to work on, are you ready to work on it?…
Don’t make any plans or goals yet, just reflect on the past year. Reflection is not always easy but it’s important. Try not to judge; just be matter of fact about it.
You may still find that nutrition is an area you want to see changes in. If that is the case, then the science suggests that the healthiest way to eat is to return to our beginnings and re-learn how to be intuitive eaters. Think about a toddler; they eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. They trust their bodies and have no judgement about the foods that they are eating, the nutrients, the latest diet fads and burning calories. They have no food rules. Wouldn’t it feel great to go back to that?
Does it sound too good to be true?
It’s not. The truth is that it’s dieting that doesn’t work and cannot be trusted. Diets are designed for people to see results quickly but are not sustainable, just like resolutions. If foods are labelled as good and bad, eventually a person will give in to eating these “bad” foods and likely overdo it. In addition to this, because diets slow down metabolism, a person will likely always gain back any weight lost and usually more. The worst part about all of this is that people blame themselves and their “lack of will power” for this when the reality is that diets are not meant to be sustainable. There are numerous studies that have proven this and yet no one is listening. Instead, we start a new diet, a new fad, and a new way of eating. We therefore eventually gain the weight and blame ourselves again…and so the vicious cycle continues.
Many people are worried that learning how to eat intuitively means that they can eat whatever they want, whenever they want and that this will lead to weight gain. The truth is that intuitive eating is not defined this way. There are ten principles for a person to follow and master in order to be true intuitive eaters. This takes time and patience with yourself. Once it is mastered though, a person learns to truly respect their body and with the food rules gone, so is the emotional eating, the overeating of certain foods and the restricting.
What about weight and shape?
This is determined by our genetics and not by society’s diet culture. In other words, let your body go where it wants to go (your set point) rather than where you want it to go. Focus on learning self-acceptance. Embrace yourself as an individual and remember that health is possible at every size.
To learn more about intuitive eating, here are some book recommendations:
Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch
Health at Every Size by Lindo Bacon (formerly Linda Bacon)