Make this the year that you commit to something radical…don’t diet.
January 1st seems to have this power over us. We feel like it’s the day that we have to overhaul our life by cutting out sugar and carbs, giving up alcohol and eating salads for every meal.
I get it. For so many years, I spent the last week of the year planning the diet or fitness program that I would start in the new year. I would write down my goal weight and give myself a timeline to meet my goal.
Typically, just a few days into the new year, I would go out to dinner with my family or eat some leftover holiday desserts or have a few drinks with friends, and feel like I had failed.
It would always leave me feeling like I wasn’t good enough.
Even now, after years of living the non-diet life, I feel that pull to attempt to change my body in the new year. Ads have been popping up in my news feed for diets, meal plans, fitness challenges, workout programs, weight loss supplements and more. It’s hard not to let marketing tell us that we’re not good enough as we are. Those promises of a brand new body and a new life seem so appealing.
And when we have friends who have had success on a diet and it’s all they talk about and post about online, we feel like we should try it too. It’s hard to resist.
But you know how it’s going to go. You’ll feel great in the beginning, for a few days or a few weeks. You’ll get that euphoric high from restriction, eating perfectly and getting compliments from people on your discipline and maybe even weight loss.
But the deprivation will eventually feel too hard. You’ll want to go out to dinner with friends or attend a party or have a relaxed night in eating pizza and drinking wine. You might even binge on all the foods you haven’t been able to eat.
You’ll feel like you failed, like you lack willpower, like you’re not good enough. Then you’ll start making plans to do it all over again. Only the next time you diet, it’s harder to lose the weight.
It didn’t work last time or the time before or the time before that, and it’s not going to work this time. And let’s be real, if a diet really worked, you wouldn’t need to start it over or start a new one!
5 Reasons Not to Start a Diet in the New Year
- You’ll be able to spend your time, energy and money on more important things than hating your body and obsessing over food. When we’re dieting, we’re not really living our lives. Diet culture profits from convincing us that we’re not good enough as we are. They tell us we have to live in deprivation to shrink our bodies to be worthy. But you are worthy just as you are!
- You’ll feel healthier and happier. Weight cycling is incredibly damaging to your physical and emotional health. There’s so much body hate, guilt and shame involved in dieting and pursuing weight loss. It doesn’t allow us to create a healthy relationship with food and our bodies. Read: Shifting Your Focus From Weight to Well-Being
- You’ll be able to enjoy the food you eat. Food is meant to be pleasurable. Imagine being able to eat what you really desire and actually experience pleasure from eating it. Imagine eating a slice of cake at a birthday party or ordering a specialty latte at a coffee shop or ordering what you truly want at a restaurant and savoring each bite or sip. Read: What is Intuitive Eating?
- You’ll begin learning how to trust your body. We’ve been brainwashed by diet culture to believe that we must be at war with our bodies. We need to burn calories, shred fat, shrink our bodies, get lean, etc. We’ve lost trust that our body knows how to function, it knows what foods it needs, it knows when it’s hungry and when it’s full and it knows what weight, shape and size it’s supposed to be. When we stop dieting, we can start to tune into our body’s intuition and feel more connected to our body.
- You’ll REALLY be taking care of yourself. Chronic dieting and constantly pursuing weight loss isn’t taking care of yourself or your health. Shifting your focus from weight to health will be transformative. Imagine practicing self-care that had nothing to do with weight loss. Wouldn’t it feel so much more nourishing?
I hope you make this the year that you kick dieting to the curb and begin the journey of trusting your body more.
Ready to stop dieting and start making peace with food and your body? Download my free Anti-Diet Starter Guide.
Join my Body Positive Virtual Yoga Studio for online yoga classes that focus on body acceptance, self-care, and body positivity.
To find out more about my health coaching programs, click here. I’m a holistic health coach and an advocate of intuitive eating. My one-on-one coaching programs help you to make peace with food and your body, trust your body more, stop restricting, experience pleasure from food, move your body in ways that feel good, and learn how to nourish your body without focusing on weight loss.