5 Ways To Kickstart A No-diet New Year by Fran Allen
The New Year brings excitement, new goals, a fresh start, and motivation. Many of us make New Year’s resolutions with good intentions to keep them and change our lives. For a lot of people, this looks like starting a new diet and losing weight.
Dieting has a 95% failure rate, creates a yo-yo effect, can lead to binge eating out of feelings of deprivation, further separates you from your natural hunger and satiation cues, knocks down your confidence and can make you feel like s*#t both mentally and physically.
That probably doesn’t sound like the brand new you you were hoping for.
While looking ahead to the new year, take time to reflect on all you’ve accomplished this past year and the person you’ve become. If you know that there are habits in your life that aren’t serving you, and you want to work to change them, that’s ok! Instead of fighting who you are and who you want to be, consider how you can better support your health and happiness to ensure you have adequate energy and joy to offer the world. If you’re interested in moving forward in a non-diet new year, here are my recommendations for making this year different.
Don’t feel like you need to accomplish all these recommendations at once–work on one or two that inspire you and come back to others when you’re ready.
1. Celebrate your body today
Today, not tomorrow. Not x pounds from now or at the end of 2019 when you fit into your goal jeans. Today.
When your starting honouring the body you’re in now and appreciating all of the amazing things it helps you accomplish every day, you will experience a fundamental shift in how you move through the world. Research shows people who are body-positive are more likely to engage in healthful lifestyle behaviours than people with high body dissatisfaction.
When you see yourself as someone not worthy of this courtesy until you accomplish a certain goal, you’re missing the fundamental steps in what it means to take care of yourself. When you replace negative and dissatisfied feelings with love and acceptance, you begin to do what's best for you and what supports the beautiful amazing body you have.
I urge you to go through your closet and get rid of anything that is too tight, uncomfortable, or doesn’t make you feel great. Letting go of these articles will honour where you are now and let go of the pressure to be a certain way.
Pay attention to your thoughts and challenge your own assumptions about other people's health or body size–those things mean you’re also judging yourself by the same standards. No longer participate in body-shaming yourself or others. People come in all shapes and sizes and all bodies deserve respect – including yours.
2. Switch From a Weight Focus to a Health Focus
We spend so much time stressing over how our bodies look and neglect how our bodies feel! Diets and excessive exercise can lead to isolation and anxiety around food; a lifestyle that is unsustainable long-term and can lead to detrimental health effects. A healthy life requires balance, compassion, and comes from a place of love and support over restriction. Create daily healthy habits that help your body feel balanced and supported. Instead of focusing on a number on the scale, emphasize healthy behaviours, well-being, and how you feel.
3. Find a physical practice you actually enjoy!
Movement is good for you; it’s a fact! It should feel good when you do it too. Having a fitness practice in your life (especially as we spend so much time being sedentary, staring at computer screens) can make a huge difference in your mood and overall health.
Fitness practices look different for everyone. It doesn’t mean you have to join a gym and work yourself to exhaustion. Consider where you are at right now and find a movement that works for you. Luckily, there are so many amazing programs and practices to honour every budget and ability.
This year, create a healthy and fun relationship with exercise so you actually look forward to movement.
4. Prioritize Regular Self-Care
Self-care gets a bad rep but I believe it is an important first step in honouring your voice and healing yourself. With the many demands of modern life, there are so many excuses to never having enough time in the day. Making self-care a priority means intentionally carving out time to refill your cup–a practice that is essential in avoiding burnout and exhaustion.
Self-care has been branded as an expensive luxury few can afford, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be as simple as recognizing your need to rest, taking time for self-reflection and journaling, or going for a walk. Setting boundaries doesn’t cost anything. Block out some “me” time and learn to be okay with saying “no.” It is important to yourself first, sometimes. Learn and practice self-compassion. This can be a simple as letting yourself sleep more–sleep plays a huge role in healing and well-being. When our to-do lists are so long, it’s easy to forget how important and restorative this basic human need is.
Having support is crucial. Open up to the people you care about and so they can support you when you need it.
5. Cut Time on Social Media
Social media is exhausting! Don’t get me wrong, I love social media and I recognize its value in our daily lives. But having an imbalanced relationship with it can have a negative effect on our health and the way we view ourselves.
Make it a priority to spend more time doing things you love and cultivating the important relationships in your life. You can use apps like OFFTIME and Social Fever to help reduce and monitor how much time you’re spending on social.
When you’re online, take time to deep clean your social media and let go of people and accounts that aren’t serving you. No one needs to follow accounts that make them feel bad about themselves. Instead, change it up and surround yourself with accounts that support body-positivity, self-acceptance and body diversity! You will notice how much better you feel when you are surrounded by voices that advocate for developing postiive self-worth and lead by example.
Are You Ready to make 2019 your No-Diet New Year?
For many of us, making small daily changes isn’t enough to help us heal our relationships to food and our bodies. If you’re starting this life-changing process and want more one-on-one support, consider seeing a professional.
Our holistic nutritionist Fran, works with clients to support non-diet lifestyle, healthy at every size and body positivity. She can help you through your journey – and offer you the tools you need for a successful shift.
Let this year be the one you finally let go of diet culture.
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