The New Year seems to have this invisible notion surrounding it as THE day to make any changes in our lives; almost as if it’s the only day. This time of New Year’s Resolution typically comes with an onslaught of shiny “new” diets and “new” fitness fads. Think back to a time that you made a New Year’s Resolution surrounding health and fitness. Was it successful? Are you still reaping the benefits of that one resolution? If it was successful and you are still seeing benefits, great! Unfortunately, these results are not the norm and many of us tend to give up on the resolutions and find ourselves defeated. So, let’s change the thinking around New Year’s Resolutions surrounding health and fitness and make more sustainable changes that don’t negatively affect our psyche along with our physical health.
Sarah Gleason, Eating Disorder Registered Dietician, talked with Advocate this week about how we can reframe this perspective. Because nutrition and our bodies is not a black and white subject, we need to give ourselves a little more grace when it comes to the rigidity of what we want. For instance, let’s say we make a resolution to lose ten pounds. Ask yourself, “why do I want to lose, specifically, ten pounds?”. Is it really the ten-pound loss that is what you want, or is it perhaps feeling better overall, having more energy, being able to bend down, play with your kids, or anything else you enjoy in life? The point is, maybe it’s not really the ten pounds; rather, maybe it’s another goal that really doesn’t need you to lose ten pounds. It might be that you start a morning stretching routine for five minutes (tiny change), or take a walk every afternoon, or start preparing foods on Sunday afternoon for the rest of the week. Whatever it is, it does not necessarily mean it has to be scale or weight-related.
A goal to lose weight is not a bad thing. It’s the self-worth we tie to the number that can bring with it devastating consequences. As our bodies change, and our lives change, we may not be able to, or for that matter want to, reach a certain scale “weight”. Our bodies are physically hard-wired to stay alive, so it may not want to respond to the scale weight you say you want simply because it is not in a place to do so. And that’s ok. It’s reframing the conversation surrounding how we view ourselves as healthy that is the important piece.
As educators, we tend to put a lot on our plates, on top of what is already being asked of us. Add in a little perfectionism, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster if not managed properly. So, think of these tips to guide you through this New Year without having to lean on hard and fast health and fitness resolution:
- Make the goal less about the number, and more about the outcome.
- Take a walk every day
- Set a goal to read a chapter a week in a book
- Set a time to food prep each week
- Instead of taking away foods in the quest to change the number on the scale, try adding in foods. You heard me correctly, add in foods like more fruits and veggies, more single source foods instead of processed foods. Make it a family challenge.
- If you have dieted before, make a t-chart of the parts of the plan that worked for you, and then the parts of the plan that didn’t work for you. Add the parts (or start with one part) that did work, and begin adding as a daily habit.
Most importantly, regardless of what goal you set, what journey you choose, remember that there will be peaks and valleys. It is important during these times to take pride in the successes and be gentle with yourself during the struggles. Throughout your journey, remember that you can reach out to us at Advocate, anytime!
Listen to the full podcast here: Advocate in Edu Podcast