Now that New Year’s Eve is the only holiday standing between us and 2019, folks around the world are observing another holiday tradition.
Some of you take this as your cue to grab your new journal and curl up in your favorite chair all ready to start resolving, but for others the very word may make your skin crawl! Wherever you fall on the spectrum, I offer these up as inspiration for a different start to your new year than perhaps what you’ve done before.
Each of these takes a typical New Year’s resolution that is focused on dieting, weight loss, or restriction and transforms it into a more introspective and holistic self-care activity. Whether you make them into resolutions, aims, or drishtis, I hope you find a refreshing alternative to the dieting mindset many are gearing up for right now.
If you want a guarantee that you’ll learn about and practice all of these self-care aims, join the online course and support group Nourish with Intuition that Megan Medrano and I are starting in the New Year. We wanted to create a safe place for you to dive deep, learn more about your body, and find a better way to take care of your nutritional needs…so we dreamed up this group! We’ve got a few slots left and registration will close soon, so grab a spot while you can! You’ll find more information at the end of the article.
Table of Contents
Resolution Swap #1:
Instead of: Setting a calorie/fat gram/point limit
Aim to: Listen to your body as it tells you that some days it’s hungrier than others and needs varying amounts of energy day to day
While diets are often disguised as self-care, they are anything but! Research shows that diets absolutely result in weight loss…short-term. In the long run, the majority of people who dieted regain the weight or are heavier than before they dieted at all. They may be worse off mentally and may even have developed another medical condition as a result. (1, 2, 3)
I think I can best explain it in an analogy.
Imagine weight loss diets were a medication (they already are a prescription!). “Here, take this pill. It’ll make your heart disease/diabetes/cancer much better at first, but eventually it will get worse, even worse than before you starting taking this medication. You’ll have to take progressively stronger doses. You’ll be isolated from family and friends at meals. You’ll feel hungry all the time. You’ll possibly develop a mental illness. It requires a lot of time and planning that will take away from the aspects of life that are important to you. You may experience hair thinning, nutrient deficiencies, weakened bones and muscles, and hormonal imbalances. You probably won’t be able to take the medication consistently because the side effects are so bad. But if it doesn’t work for you, it will be viewed as your fault. If you’ve failed enough, we may recommend amputating part of your stomach.” This medication would be off the market in a heartbeat!!
Resolution Swap-out #2:
Instead of: Committing to a certain number of workouts per week
Aim to: Try a variety of methods of moving your body so you have options depending on what you need on a given day.
I’m not dissing all workout/training schedules. But if you’ve only ever exercised to lose weight, change the shape of your body, or just because it’s good for you, then you’re missing out. Our bodies are meant to MOVE and to feel good because of it.
Need some ideas? Choose 3 from this list that you’d like to sample or revisit with a curious mind. If they don’t serve you, try something else.
Walking, Running, Jogging, Sprint segments, Elliptical, Cycling (outside or inside), Yoga, Pilates, Barre, Ballet, Group Class focused on weights/cycling/aerobics/etc., Zumba, Jazzercise, Rock climbing (indoor or outdoor), Hiking, Rollerblading, Ice Skating, Weight lifting, Body weight exercises, Stretching, Jump rope, Canoeing/Kayaking, Swing dancing, Ballroom dancing, Geocaching, Playing with your kids/nephews/nieces/grandchildren, Karate, Jiu-jitsu, Boxing, Kick-boxing, Parkour, Play an instrument, HIIT, Swimming, Water Aerobics, Trampoline, Team sports: Basketball, Football, Baseball, Softball, Volleyball, Soccer, Field Hockey, Hockey (pick-up or organized league), Paintball, Bowling, Horseback riding, Juggling, Ping-pong, skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, Youtube workout videos, Youtube dance move how-to videos – my new personal favorite 🙂
Resolution Swap-out #3:
Instead of: Resolving to limit portion sizes or never get seconds
Aim to: Get to know your unique fullness cues
Dieting forces you to conform to an external source of food rules and creates distrust of your body. Funny enough, telling yourself you can’t have seconds is kind of like playing mind games with yourself. It’s like telling yourself not to think of a white elephant.
If instead you approach each “eating experience” with an open mind, wondering in this unique situation, given what you’ve already eaten or not eaten that day, what the food you’re about to eat is made of, and the current metabolic state of your body, when will you feel satisfied and content? It’s different almost every time. Maintaining this curiosity boosts you into mindful eating almost effortlessly. When you feel full, you have the option to stop or continue. It’s totally up to you and there is no guilt either way. It’s whatever! It’s a moot point. Save it and heat up the leftovers later. Or not. But whatever you do, it’s not the MAIN part of the meal and it’s not a “failure” if you continue to eat and then end up learning more about what it feels like to be more full than is comfortable.
It takes practice and by no means will you have to be hyper focused every time you eat. But with time, you will find yourself naturally stopping when it feels best. Your body is running the pace of your metabolism and your body is controlling your hunger and fullness cues. Getting rid of distractions helps you let your body just do its thang.
Resolution Swap-out #4:
Instead of: Cutting out all desserts or sugar for a month…or 30 days 😉
Aim to: Make peace with all foods
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people talk about all the things they’ll eat once they’re done with whatever cleanse or detox they’re on. Restriction creates obsession. You want to know the secret for craving a donut stronger than you ever have? Cut out sugar for a month.
Some people decide to try a quick fix diet, such as Whole 30, that cuts out several common food additives or food groups because they suspect they have a digestive or other medical condition that would benefit from doing so. If this is you, I STRONGLY recommend seeing a dietitian instead.
There a several reasons not to do a blind elimination diet, as I call it. If you see positive results, you’re not sure which thing you cut out was the culprit and you’re left with an overly restrictive diet. And if gluten was the bad guy and you haven’t been tested for celiac, then you’ll have to RE-introduce it in order to get an accurate test result. It is imperative that you know whether or not you have celiac disease so you know how careful you have to be…ie is it ok for you to have fries made in the same fryer as breaded chicken or not? Can you use the same butter knife as someone who just used it on their wheat roll? And if you have children or expect to have children one day, they would be at a higher risk of having the autoimmune condition if you in fact had it. You’d want to know so they could be tested.
If these resolution swap-outs resonated with you, then you will be thrilled with the information and support you’ll receive by joining my online course and support group Nourish with Intuition. The clock is ticking! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to ditch diets for good and learn how to intuitively nourish your body. Register by midnight on New Year’s Eve in order to get the workbook on time. Sunday, January 6th is the hard and fast final deadline. Find out about all the goodies you get when you sign up!