An open and honest essay from one woman to another, and a call for everyone to answer the question for themselves: What if Weight Loss Wasn’t Your New Year’s Resolution?
What if Weight Loss Wasn’t Your New Year’s Resolution?
It’s that time of year again…(insert eye roll here).
The annual onslaught of uncomfortable diet and weight loss talk amongst coworkers, family and friends followed by a solid two week attempt at ‘being good’, cutting out food groups, restricting calories and flat out ignoring overall wellness in the pursuit of weight loss come January 1st.
You know the talk, the same phrases we utter year after year with no true intention behind them:
- After New Years I’m going to go back to the gym and eat healthy so I can lose weight.”
- “I want to lose 10 pounds this year”
- “I want to lose weight so I can fit back into my jeans again”.
And you know what, I’m sick of it. I’m finally going to say it: weight loss really isn’t an acceptable New Year’s resolution.
Now hear me out..
In Defense of Weight Loss…
First and foremost, I am not saying that your desire to want to lose weight is wrong.
That is not what I am trying to say at all.
In fact, I am one of the few dietitians I know who doesn’t run away from the words ‘weight loss’, and I have talked about that extensively in my ‘I Am Not an Anti-Diet Dietitian‘ post.
A someone who has struggled with their weight, I personally understand the true, deep desire to lose weight and I hope you don’t think that I am trying to discredit your feelings.
I just want to encourage you to look at it in a new way. Keep reading…
In Defense of New Year’s Resolutions
Secondly, I love making New Year’s Resolutions.
I am a Type A personality and the thought of goal setting and planning truly does excite me, I love the feeling of having the opportunity to start fresh.
The New Year offers us the chance to reinvent ourselves, it fills us with optimism and the exciting thoughts of what the New Year may hold.
Many people feel the same way, and that is why, year after year, hundreds of thousands of women make the pledge:
“This is my year to (insert get healthy, lose weight, exercise more: here)”.
And it truly is wonderful, I would never ever ever discount or discredit anyone who wants to make a positive change in their life.
In fact, I wish more people would.
BUT here is the problem…
How many times have you declared that this is your year to lose weight?
How many times have you started the month of January with hope in your heart, determined to eat perfectly healthy and exercise every single day?
How many times have you followed a strict diet that deprives you of all your favorite foods, only to find yourself 5 days in standing in the pantry in the dark at midnight snarfing an entire bag of Oreos (ahem, spoken from experience).
How many years has this approach actually worked for you?
How many years have you ended the year weighing less than when you started?
How many years did your resolution to lose weight last beyond January 15th??
Seriously. Think about it.
Now, think about this.
Weight is nothing more than a measure of the gravitational force between your body and the earth.
Read that again.
Your weight is not a sole indicator of how healthy you are.
Your weight is not a sole indicator of how happy you are.
Your weight is not an indicator of what a kind, loving, giving person you are.
You weight is not an indicator of how incredibly intelligent and thoughtful you are.
Your weight is not an indicator of what a loving mother, sister, daughter, wife and friend that you are.
So then why are we letting our measured gravitational pull between our bodies and the earth have such an enormous impact on our perception of ourselves, our abilities and our greatest qualities?
Why do we put so much emphasis on such a meaningless measure?
What would happen if we took all the energy we put into micromanaging our weight and put it into something more meaningful?
What if Weight Loss Wasn’t Your New Year’s Resolution?
I haven’t weighed myself in over three years, and let me be the first to tell you that it has been one of the most liberating choices I have made when it comes to my personal health and mental well-being.
It has taken me a long time to start to let go of the weight complex that I believe we all subconsciously carry with us.
And it is my hope that the lessons I have learned for myself can help you to start changing the way you think about health, weight and happiness.
My resolution last year was to take care of myself better.
Over the past year I have learned how to:
- Speak to myself with the same compassion and understanding I have when I talk to my son.
- Nourish my body with the foods that make me feel good, happy, and whole instead of restricting calories and relying on numbers or rules.
- Be kind towards myself, and learn to recognize when I need to take a moment for self-care.
- I (am still starting to learn) how to do yoga because it makes both my mind and my body feel better afterwards.
- Remove aspects of negativity from my life, including friends and family, to preserve my own mental well being.
What I am trying to say is that:
If weight loss was my goal for 2018, I would have never been able to explore and develop so many other wonderful aspects of my life.
And for that, I am thankful.
I wouldn’t know, but I’m pretty sure I weigh more than I did last year.
But I know for certain that I am healthier.
From one woman to another, I am urging you to think about this important question: What if Weight Loss Wasn’t Your New Years Resolution?
What more could life offer you? How much happier & healthier would you be?
Know When it is Time to Work with a Professional
If this is your year to get happy and healthy, one and for all, the RIGHT way, then this is the year you may need professional help. I am thrilled to be opening my private practice to help women just like you overcome these issues so that you can take the focus off of weight, and put that focus back on your wellness.
What happy & healthy New Years Resolution (that has nothing to do with weight) are you going to make this year? Let me know in the comments section below!
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