Losing Weight. To Resolve or Not to Resolve?
Guess what? Losing weight is the #1 new years resolution this year. Shocking right? It’s also probably not shocking that less than 4% of people maintain this resolution 3 weeks into the new year. Don’t feel bad if you’re one of the 38% of people who made a weight-related resolution. We live in a culture that encourages and normalizes this.
It makes perfect sense. After holiday celebrations, the letdown sets in. For many, this letdown is shrouded in guilt over indulging in bad foods. You ate the fudge your neighbor gave you… made a meal out of baked brie, meatballs and artichoke dip, tried each variety of cookie from your cookie swap tray, finished the last of the egg nog…. and now it’s time pay! Well, not now… tomorrow. Right?
It’s natural to want a pick me up this time of year given how your body may be feeling after all the holiday cheer, late nights, lack of exercise, sub-optimal sleeping quarters and as my sister pointed out, “not having eaten a vegetable in weeks”. You’re craving renewal… or perhaps a new body. Let’s face it, what you really want (what we all really want) is to feel happy, feel well and be proud of our bodies. There’s nothing wrong with that. The problem is how we go about it; by resolving to lose weight.
Weight loss is an outcome, an outcome we have a lot less control over than we care to think. When you resolve to lose weight, you are resolving to get to a certain number on the scale. Then what? For most, the changes put in place to lose the weight aren’t sustainable. You are much more likely to succeed with resolutions around behavior change. When you resolve to change behaviors, you are more likely to create realistic goals and actually stick to them. Perhaps weight loss will follow, perhaps it won’t but you will be healthier either way. AND, if weight loss does result, you are more likely to maintain the loss.
When you resolve to lose weight tomorrow, you give yourself permission to eat with reckless abandon today, something often referred to as the “last supper”. Then, let’s face it, when tomorrow comes, you’re not going to feel any more like dieting then than you do today. And no wonder… dieting is simply a form of punishment; the price you pay for having eaten the foods you love. The whole notion of adopting a diet is that it is temporary, at some point it ends. In fact, most diets last less than a month. Interestingly, dieting by it’s name is on a downward trend – a Fortune magazine article reports a 13% decrease in women reporting dieting in the past 2 years along with decreased revenue for companies such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, etc. However, 77% of people report trying to “eating healthier”. Healthy eating is a subjective term, a more socially acceptable term in our current culture. Let’s not be fooled though because a diet by any other name is still a diet. Whether you’re “eating clean”, removing whole food groups from your diet in effort to lose weight or just “leaning out”, any rigid rules you apply to your eating sets the stage for your inevitable demise in the long run. Deprivation leads to overeating and bingeing. “When you give yourself permission to eat, you can give yourself permission to stop” – Ellyn Satter.
Read this article in US News on more reasons why you shouldn’t resolve to lose weight this year.
So, instead of resolving to lose weight, consider one of these resolutions. Notice how different it feels.
1. I resolve to cherish my body
2. I resolve to move my body in ways that make me feel joyful and alive
3. I resolve to be kinder to myself and my body this year
4. I resolve to eat until I’m full
5. I resolve to connect more with others
6. I resolve to drink more water
7. I resolve to feed my body food that feels good in it
8. I resolve to listen to the cues my body provides and act accordingly
9. I resolve to eat what I want, when I want and to truly get enough of it
10. I resolve to set boundaries around my body – to make choices I feel are in it’s best interest
These are just a few suggestions, think of some that are pertinent to you and the relationship you currently have with your body. Here are a few helpful books you make consider picking up if you’re looking to shift your relationship with food and your body this year.
Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch
Eating Mindfully by Susan Albers
Body Respect by Linda Bacon
Set up an appointment with one of our nutritionists today to start working on your 2016 health goals! Contact us here.
(See more 2015 New Years resolution statistics here.)