New Year- Nicer Me: Loving yourself instead of dieting in the new year

The new year is the worst time of the year for diet culture. Something about a fresh start inspires people to start bashing their bodies and restricting what they eat. Dieting may not always be healthy, and may actually contribute to decreased mental health. If you want to start a diet in the new year ask yourself, “Why do I want to start a diet? Do I want to be healthier or do I just want to lose weight?” Losing weight is more so tied to body image than just regaining your health, so losing weight shouldn’t always be the driving factor for a diet change. Instead of dieting and cutting out major food groups, what if you practiced more self-love through feeding your body what it needs and wants? By listening to if your body is hungry or full or wants to exercise or just wants to rest? Could this maybe help you reach your goal of regained health more than just working for lower numbers on the scale? Easier said than done? Here are some tips on how to start the new year off right:

  1. Accept your size

    • This may be incredibly difficult for you because everyone is is trying to change their size, but people are built differently. What is the set point weight for your best friend may not be the set point for yourself- and it’s okay. Stop fighting your body and wishing for a smaller frame. Listen to your body’s cues and nourish it with what it needs.

  2. Trust Yourself

    • Restoring trust in yourself about eating is so important for restored relationship with food. Don’t skip a birthday dinner with friends just because you don’t think you can control how much cake you’ll eat. Trust that your body will tell you when it is hungry and full.

  3. Adopt Healthy Lifestyle Habits

    • Fulfill your social, emotional, and spiritual needs. Find joy in moving your body so it becomes a part of your everyday life. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full. Find nutritious foods that you enjoy but know that there’s room for less nutritious foods in an overall balanced diet and lifestyle.

  4. Embrace size diversity

    • Find the beauty in every different size and shape of bodies. Notice how different people are built and don’t bash others for having a different size.

  5. Choose foods you like and taste good

    • Don’t deny yourself dessert or the fries. The more you restrict the more likely you are to binge and overeat. Listen to your body and if it really wants some chocolate- then feed it some chocolate! But also listen to when you’re not craving the chocolate.

  6. Find the right motivation for adopting a healthier lifestyle

    • Does eating a lot of fat hurt your stomach? Eat less fat to make you feel better- not just to lose weight. Will working out help you sleep better? Then exercise for that reason and not just to go down a pants size.

  7. Don’t get sucked in to other’s negativity and habits

    • Maybe your co-worker has decided to be vegan for the new year and started a cycling class. Just because you aren’t doing these things doesn’t mean that you’re lazy and unmotivated. Everyone is on their own health journey and what is okay for them may not cause you to be mentally healthy. And when people starting negatively talking about their bodies- don’t chime in. Try to change the subject or tell them that you’re on a journey to listen to what your body wants- not what everyone is doing.

Most diets don’t work, but just leave you with feelings of failure and disgust about your body. Don’t feel like you failed just because you ate '“too much” fruit or bread. In 2019 challenge yourself to be nicer to yourself and your body. See what a different it makes