By Lindsey Mazur, RD
Tired of making resolutions and not keeping them? You’re not alone. Studies report most people aren’t able to maintain them. If your resolutions are about dieting or weight loss, there’s even more research to show how unhelpful those types of goals are.
Here are some reasons on why it’s time to Ditch Dieting and start your New Year’s Revolution:
- Diets cause weight gain. People on a diet may lose weight for the short term but in the long-term, research shows they gain it all back, plus more. People who diet often end up heavier than if they hadn’t dieted.
- Diets make us hungry. Diets involve eating less, so naturally we become hungry. This can impact our moods and we can be irritable or grumpy.
- Diets aren’t sustainable. It’s common to hear dieters say, “I just couldn’t stick to it.” Diets fail, not the people who try them. Diets are just not a realistic way to eat throughout your life.
- Diets can harm us. Not eating enough and losing/gaining weight from dieting creates stress on the body and mind. This can lead to physical and mental health concerns.
- Diets are expensive. Dieting is a multi-billion dollar industry. Diets are designed to fail then attract new (and repeat!) customers, over and over again. Supplements and diet program memberships can be very costly.
Here’s a better idea: start a New Year’s Revolution and change the way you think and talk about your body!
Recognize and celebrate the diversity of body shapes and size.
It’s normal and natural for people’s bodies to be different shapes and sizes. Just as some of us are short or tall, some of us are thin or fat. All of those words are just simple ways to describe body size. The word ‘fat’ is often used to insult or shame, however many people are reclaiming the word as a simple description. Some people feel more comfortable using the terms larger-bodied or full-bodied. What matters is being respectful when we talk about bodies, our own and others.
Take care of the body you have right now.
We can care for our bodies by fueling them regularly and enjoying a variety of foods, including sweets and treats! When we take care of our bodies by eating enough food, we feel better – in mind, body and spirit.
Just as our bodies need to be fed, our bodies like to move! Move your body in ways that feel right for you. Have fun!
People often put off buying clothes until they’ve reached a certain weight or body size or shape. Why deprive yourself of feeling good? Dress the body you have right now in clothes that you like and feel good to you.
Change can be difficult. If you are working on taking care of your body differently, start slow. Your body and mind will appreciate that.
Speak kindly to yourself.
Lots of us have negative self-talk about our bodies. This can make us feel awful and get in the way of our self-care. Next time you find yourself having negative thoughts about your body, shift your focus to the positive! Prompt yourself to think of some ways you appreciate your body, just as it is. Maybe it’s the way your body can move, or how strong it is, or how it helps you do things that matter to you – there are many reasons to thank our bodies!
Avoid diet talk.
Any time we talk about eating less, counting calories, weight loss, feeling guilty about eating or not exercising, that’s diet talk. And it’s not good for us. It makes us feel worse about ourselves and stands in the way of taking care of ourselves in ways that are genuinely helpful. To avoid diet talk, try changing the subject, leaving the room, or sharing why you no longer want to take part in these conversations.
Advocate for a more body positive world.
When you challenge diet talk, you are already advocating for a more body positive world – a world where people of all shapes and sizes are treated with respect. You can also talk about body positivity with friends, family, co-workers and others in your community. You might consider contacting local, national or international media outlets and let them know why you support body positive programming or why you don’t support dieting and diet talk.
Learn more about the Health at Every Size approach.
Health at Every Size (HAES) supports health and wellbeing without a focus on weight. It benefits all of us! Whatever our weight or size, HAES supports individual people to work toward health through compassionate self-care. It advocates for a world free of weight bias for everyone.
Join us for the 2015 New Year’s Revolution! Let’s continue to ditch dieting, celebrate size diversity, focus on compassionate self-care and speak out against weight bias. Together, we can make a more body positive world for all!
Cheers to a joyful holiday season and a body positive new year!