What To Consider When Setting New Year’s Resolutions
Losing weight is a top resolution here in America, and no doubt, in many other countries, too. Maybe some of you are also considering it.
Resolutions are, of course, a personal choice.
But I encourage you to consider what healthy and truly nourishing habits you can cultivate instead. Consider intentions that focus on the journey, not the destination; that bring you joy, and aren’t punishing; that expand your life, instead of restricting it.
Recently I interviewed Judith Matz, a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in treating binge eating disorder and emotional overeating, for a piece on setting nourishing New Year’s resolutions. I loved what she said about dieting and weight loss.
(By the way, Matz is also co-author of one my my favorite books Diet Survivors Handbook: 60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance and Self-Care.)
According to Matz,
This time of year also brings a bombardment of ads for weight loss products and programs that work in the short-run, but are destined to fail. In fact, the majority of those who resolve to diet in January are off their plan by February.
Unfortunately, after the diet, there is a rebound effect both physically and psychologically; people are set up by the diet/binge cycle to overeat the very foods they’ve restricted, and the pounds will return, often leading to higher than pre-diet weights due to the mechanisms that control our natural setpoint. If fact, that’s why our tag line for The Diet Survivor’s Handbook is: People don’t fail diets; diets fail people.
She suggested readers try these resolutions instead:
For people concerned about their eating patterns and weight, I encourage them to set an intention to truly nourish themselves with food by honoring their physical cues for hunger and fullness, and choosing from a wide variety of foods; this approach is known as attuned or intuitive eating.
I also encourage people to find ways to take care of their body – physical activity, plenty of sleep, meditation or mindfulness practices – without the focus on weight.
Of course, like other resolutions, changing overeating patterns is not a one-time promise to do things differently, but rather a process of cultivating practices that are nourishing and sustainable.
Here are a few other ideas and questions to consider before setting your intentions for the new year:
- Consider changing your food mentality from calorie counts and low-fat labels to nourishment and enjoyment: What nutrients are you eating? How do different foods make you feel? What gives you energy? What always gives you a stomach ache? What foods do you love to eat because of their taste?
- Remember that normal eating is flexible.
- What does self-love mean to you? What does it look like every day?
- What are your favorite ways to move your body? For instance, I love what Tara Sophia Mohr told Mara in her self-love interview:
As I write this, I’m in a week-long dance workshop. Dance gives me a physical vitality that I love, and moves me from stress to relaxation, from cranky moods to relaxed, loose, contented moods. And there’s a spiritual aspect to dance – somewhere in those two hours of dancing, I find communion with the sacred. It’s a pretty incredible list of benefits. In one activity I get physical exercise, emotional processing, community, and spiritual connection. Not to mention—a big libido boost too. For me, it’s not sustainable to do a form of exercise that is just about the physical. I want something that supports me emotionally and spiritually as well. I believe every person is granted at least one form of physical moment their heart and soul will truly enjoy – and it’s our job to find out what that form is and do it!
- How can you add more joy to your life? What about to every day?
- What is your self-care practice missing?
- Women’s magazines are often a waste of your time, and a slippery slope into body bashing.
- We can rewrite our stories.
- Counting our blessings is a great perspective shifter. This is a wonderful way to do that.
- You are enough, just as you are.
Again, what — if anything — you pick as your resolution for 2013 is up to you. I just want to remind you that it’s actually healthier (and more satisfying and exciting) to pick intentions that focus on nourishment and your needs, and on self-compassion, self-care and self-love.
I’d love to know what resolutions you’re setting for 2013. Please share in the comments!
Tartakovsky, M. (2014). What To Consider When Setting New Year’s Resolutions. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 9, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/weightless/2012/12/what-to-consider-when-setting-new-years-resolutions/