With New Years’ Day right around the corner the time is ripe for setting some New Years resolutions. I would lay money that a big percentage of those resolutions made have something to do with losing weight (I can’t even count how many times I made that resolution!!).
The crazy thing about making this a resolution is that there is actually no proven way to permanently lose weight – with diets failing at least 95% of the time (and many of those who do maintain the loss past 2 years fall into the category of clinically disordered eaters). So why set a goal that statistically you are going to fail at?
At the root of the goal to lose weight is the belief that doing so will make you happier (it might for a short time, until you gain it all back – and then some!), so instead I propose that you make some resolutions with the much more achievable goal of becoming happier!
Here is a list of some behaviours you can resolve to lose instead:
1. Dieting. As stated earlier, losing weight and keeping it off are biologically pretty much impossible. Letting your happiness be dependent on your weight guarantees ups and (mostly) downs in your joyfulness…not to mention how joyful are you when you are dieting?!? Dieting, especially with the repeated ups and downs with your weight, is actually much more harmful to your health than being overweight or even moderately obese. Instead of dieting, learn to tune back into your body’s hunger and fullness signals and your weight will stabilize where it’s supposed to – you’ll live longer, be healthier and happier!!
2. Judging your body. As humans we are designed to come in a variety of shapes and sizes – just look at other animals like dogs! By judging your body you are not making yourself thin. If anything, by making yourself feel badly about your body, you are infinitely more likely to use food to soothe yourself! Notice your thoughts when you are judging yourself and replace it with a body positive thought such as ‘bodies are supposed to come in different shapes and sizes, and they are all equally good bodies’.
3. Consuming body shaming media. Women’s and fashion magazines are the worst offenders for triggering negative body image. The young, photoshopped and often underweight women portrayed are always shown in a positive light, with average bodies pretty well never shown (or if they are, they are usually a ‘before’ picture). It’s hard not to unfavourably compare ourselves to this thin body type if we are being constantly being sold the idea that this is what all humans ‘should’ look like. It’s hard not to fall into diet mentality when you are bombarded with articles on ‘who got thin, and how you can too!’ (psst! we can’t, remember?). Those types of magazines are usually the ones to try to avoid but if you notice you’re feeling bad about yourself when watching certain tv shows, then that’s your clue to avoid those too! Instead, surround yourself with beautiful images of women of all sizes. Try filling your instagram feed with body positive images of plus sized models (who start at size 8 btw!).
4. Weighing yourself. Nothing can send you back to crazy diet brain than stepping on a scale. The scale is nothing but a tool to judge your body. And remember, we aren’t doing that anymore! Just like dieting, weighing yourself has never made you permanently thin (and may also lead to shame, which also leads to emotional eating), so getting rid of it will not make you fat either. Most of my clients really resist this one, but the ones who successfully implement this are soo much happier than those who still hang on to their scales. Get it out of the house, or have a fun scale smashing ceremony!
This year make a resolution to quit doing things that make you miserable and replace them with some new behaviours that will help increase your level of happiness. This is a totally achievable goal! When you focus your energy on gaining happiness, rather than losing weight, I guarantee 2016 will be your best year yet!!