I want to talk about the craziness that is the New Year’s resolution and how to stop the madness of it all. I have a confession, for years New Years was my least favorite holiday, the constant resolutions, failed promises and disappointments and I always beat myself up for why the new diet didn’t work, how I had failed and when would I get control of my eating, my life…it’s a painful place to live. Always feeling like you’re never good enough and basing your self-worth by the number on the scale, it’s an awful way to spend our time here. And the awful truth is that diets have a 96% failure rate, but we never blame the diet, we continue to blame ourselves and buy into the insane 60billion dollar per year diet industry and the cycle of restriction and binging or overeating continues because in this mad cycle of beating ourselves up and feeling like a failure we don’t learn how to listen to our bodies and respect them and truly self-nourish. But it’s not your fault. The entire industry thrives on making you feel bad about yourself and disempowering you.
How many times have you waited to do something, buy something, go somewhere, find love (the list goes on) until you lose those 5, 10, 20, 50 pounds? I call this if/then living and it’s pretty depressing. If I lose 10 pounds then I can go to the beach, If I fit into those skinny jeans then I can go on the date…you get the idea, I’m sure many of you are all too familiar with the scenarios and your version and how it plays out. But the thing with New Years is it’s the biggest If/Then time of all, for some reason we’ve imbued this time with the mother of all diets. But what if you were to reframe this time of year and turn the old, painful patterns on their ear? Who says you have to join a gym you don’t want to go to, eat only 25 grams of carbs a day or 1200 calories per day (which by the way, is semi-starvation), why do you have to do something so contrary to what your body naturally craves and needs? It’s a form of insanity and the grip is powerful, I get it. But there is an alternative, if you’re tired of doing the same behavior over and over and expecting different results, but getting the same results, you can make a change, you truly can. If I could do it, trust me you can!
So, here’s a New Year’s challenge I’m going to pose to you, give up the scale and go on a no-diet diet. Yep, how rebellious to thumb your nose at an industry that keeps selling us a bill of goods that they know doesn’t work. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve awoken feeling pretty good only to hop on the scale and see an increase, doesn’t matter if it was only half a pound and my day is pretty much consumed then by the weight increase, it’s ridiculous how much time I’ve wasted. I know it’s scary to give it up, but it’s also got potential for great reward. The reward of learning who you are without worrying about the size of your backside, discovering your likes and dislikes, what truly nourishes your body, what it’s like to not fear your hunger because you know that you’ll take care of yourself and feed yourself based on not only what gives you energy and nourishment, but pleasure too. Food is pleasurable and you don’t have to feel guilty about it. To be able to slow down and taste your food and learn how to listen to your body when you’ve had enough. To discover how you like to move, not giving a care about how many calories you’ve burned or whether you’ll get the sought after six-pack. It’s a practice, it takes time and there are some days that won’t work in the way you think it should, but if you’ve been trying the same thing over and over and it isn’t working isn’t it time to go a different direction, to give yourself a break and get out of the diet mentality, the same one that works as a bludgeon to keep you down? You’re worth this. You can discover your voice and listen to her! Because the voices we’ve been listening to for so many years, the diet that experts keep coming up with, more and more rules to follow…but, really if there were a perfect diet out there then that’s all we’d need, no more books, supplements, potions, the industry would eventually diminish, instead of continue to grow. The diet industry has led us down a path of no return, it screws up our metabolism, our self-worth, and our ability to understand our body and trust in our capacity to heal, none of this is good stuff. You’re each unique, it’s time to find out what fills you up, no more 350 calorie dinners of 3 oz chicken breast with steamed vegetables and a teaspoon of olive oil, when you’re starving and as you take each bite you wonder how the heck you’re going to make it through the night with this meager allotment of food. Unless of course you had a great big lunch and only want a very light dinner, the trick is it’s your choice to figure out what you want and it can change with every meal, by tuning into your body wisdom and learning to trust yourself.
So the challenge this New Years, while everyone else at work is devising their own crazy version of the Biggest Loser, you can politely decline, put away your food scale and bathroom scale and get to know yourself. You might discover, when you’re well-nourished, that it’s not always food you’re craving, maybe it’s more connection with loved ones and getting out and socializing more, maybe it’s forgiving someone that hurt you and letting go of the stress that holding that pain causes, maybe it’s volunteering somewhere a couple times a month, or finding more time to be alone to ponder and figure out what else life holds for you. Because when you can let go of the constant need to be thin/perfect/good enough it frees up so much energy so that you can find out, who you truly are and what you want to be and what life holds for you!