Get ready for it, the diet industry’s favourite time of year. Here come the commercial onslaught of promises; ‘give us your hard earned money and you will happier this year’. Now whilst many company’s have learned that guilt and shame are not effective marketing tools and are madly rebranding, be aware of the underlying messages that state ‘you are not good enough as you are, you’ll be better after you buy our product’.
Here’s something’s you won’t hear from that industry:
- Your health, weight, shape or size does not reflect your worth. Every single body is worthy of care and respect, just as it is.
- Intentional weight loss results in weight regain within 1-5 years for 95% of people. 95% of people. Yes, I meant to type that twice. About 60% of those people will gain more than they lost.
- Health is determined by our behaviours, not our weight. Health risks at larger weights can be eliminated by healthy behaviours such as a balanced diet, regular movement, lack of substance abuse and self care measures.
- The commercial industry plants insecurities in our minds to sell products. Including the so called health and fitness industry. A secure and content person makes for a poor consumer.
So do we need New Year Resolutions to improve our lives? I don’t think so. However if you like to use the turn of the year to reflect on your wellbeing and set some goals (which you can also do at any time of the year, of course!), then here are some things to consider.
- Take a moment to right down some of your values- what is important to you? E.g. family, community, achievement, charity, education etc. You can find cards/activities online that facilitate this. What parts of your life support these values? What parts obstruct them? What small actions can to take to do more of what sparks joy for you?
- Write a thank you letter to your body for all that is does for you, for all the experiences it has allowed you to have. If your health is a project and your body is a colleague, what will the project outcome be if you feel badly towards your body and actively punish it? Body love is a fantastic concept, but sometimes body respect is an empowering step.
- Consider your relationship with food. Take 24 hours and write down observations such as:
- Reasons for eating i.e. hunger, tiredness, boredom, comfort, celebration, taste enjoyment
- How did your body feel before eating? How did it feel after eating?
- Foods that give you energy, foods that make you happy
- Any other thoughts that come to mind about food, e.g. food rules, do you think some foods are ‘good’ or ‘bad’? Why?
There are no right or wrong answers, reflect on what you have learnt and if there is anything you would want to change.
- Have you found a movement that you enjoy? Exercise for weight loss only or even just health can be a form of body punishment and difficult to sustain. But any form of movement can have health benefits, for the body, mind and socially. Think about what do you enjoy from movement- is it the action itself? Socialising? Time alone? Fresh air? Nature? How your body feels after? You may like to explore options like dancing, swimming, yoga, gardening, bush walking, group classes.
- Clean up your social media- there have been research studies linking social media use to poor body image and general contentment with life. Never forget we are comparing our everyday with people’s highlight reel. If anything in your world (virtual or real!) makes you feel less than worthy, unfollow! Find a community (virtual or real!) that shares your values and lifts you up.
One of my favourite quotes right now (from google…. I wish I could find the author) is;
Binge on life. Purge negativity. Starve guilty feelings. Restrict unhappy thoughts. Count blessings, not calories. The only weight you ever need to lose is the weight of the world on your shoulders.
Have a wonderful 2019, from Eat Smart Nutrition