Cheers to another year around the sun! New Years resolutions can bring a lot of excitement for the possibilities and opportunities to come, but it can also stir up some pressure to change. You know the old adage, “New Year, new me.” We can’t even go grocery shopping without being bombarded with diet-y messaging urging us to buy their “detox” powders or weight loss cookbooks.
And while we have nothing against new year’s resolutions, we would like to propose a new frame of reference going into the season. We prefer resolutions that are realistic, attainable (over 80% of traditional resolutions fail), and sustainable, and that don’t focus on changing our body shape or size. Instead of resolutions to change how our body looks, how about thinking about how you want to feel in the coming year, what you want to bring to the world and get out of your life?
When Can New Years Resolutions Be Harmful?
Resolutions or intentions that emphasize weight loss or aesthetics only perpetuate fatphobia, weight stigma, poor relationship with food and body and may lead to adverse health outcomes (for instance, weight cycling - the consistent gain and loss of weight - has been shown to lead to poor cardiovascular outcomes ).
Not only that, but there has yet to be a single study demonstrating successful weight loss over time as a result of a diet. There’s no need to consider another diet. Hey, if they actually worked we wouldn’t need a new one every year, right? The messages pressuring you to change your food choices or exercise habits for the sake of changing your body are targeting your insecurities. There is an entire industry that literally profits off of people’s body insecurities- nearly $70 billion worth of profit, to be exact.
While we are not advocating for weight-centric New Years resolutions, you can certainly aim to make health a priority! In fact, a health at every size (HAES) approach aims to do just that. By taking the focus off of numbers, tracking and weight, you are more likely to make decisions and behavior changes from a place of body respect rather than viewing your body as a problem.
Let’s brainstorm some body positive resolutions for the new year that have nothing to do with changing your body.
11 body positive resolutions that will ADD to your life, rather than rob you of it:
Appreciate what your body does for you
Now, we by no means think you think that you necessarily need to start loving your body. But, you can actively work on respecting it and appreciating what it can do. Start your resolutions by making a list of all of the ways you body does support you. Understanding the ways your body has your back can help to slowly foster a more neutral relationship.
Stop waiting to experience what life has to offer when you reach the elusive “x” weight.
You are worthy of those things NOW. Your body is just a vessel for all the good stuff inside. See if you can cultivate resolutions around activities or experiences that you feel you have gotten the opportunity to do. Or, that diet culture holds you back from. This could be: going to the beach, swimming in the ocean, go skydiving, ask for the promotion, negotiate your pay, flirt with that cute person. How would you like to live your life if the number on the scale was not a contributing factor?
Toss out your scale
Donate it, give it away, throw it out, smash it with a hammer…we don’t care. Your scale offers little valuable information about your health and is more likely to set a restrict-binge cycle into motion. Set your resolutions intention to focus instead on internal measures of health and wellbeing. How you feel in your body, instead of an arbitrary number.
Stop body checking & comparing
This is a habit we’re all accustomed to after living in a fat-phobic, thinness-obsessed society. Instead of agonizing over ensuring your body changes in the new year - what would it be like to set resolutions around reducing body preoccupation? Body comparisons and agonizing over parts of ourselves we wish we could change are only going to make us feel inadequate and uncomfortable in our skin. All bodies are good bodies, and body diversity is a real, beautiful thing. Remember - even if we all ate and exercised the same, we would still have different body shapes and sizes.
Compliment others on non-appearance related things
We never know what lies beneath the surface- a well-meaning compliment on someone’s weight or size could be feeding into their own disordered eating. Well-intentioned compliments on someone’s weight is likely to leave us feeling self-conscious and “less than”.
Instead of focusing on weight-specific phrases, let's set resolutions to reflect on non-appearance related things. Compliments that have nothing to do with appearance are likely to be more meaningful and impactful, leaving both you and the recipient of the complement feeling better. Some examples: “You light up a room!”, “Your laugh is so infectious!”, “You are so creative!”, “you inspire me!”, “you look so happy!”
Find new hobbies or learn something new!
Without dieting in your life to take up your time, you’ll have so much more brain space to learn something new or try new things! Resolutions could include: trying that new exercise class that sounds joyful, check out a cooking or pottery class, volunteer at the local animal shelter, go for long walks in nature with your favorite podcast. The opportunities are endless!
Set an intention to make self-care a priority
Stress management has a huge effect on our overall health and wellbeing. Making self-care a priority when planning our resolutions can help to alleviate some of the stress and anxiety we all experience daily. Remember - self-care doesn’t need to be glamorous- even the mundane day to day activities like brushing your hair, showering, or putting on lotion can become self-care if we make ourselves more present and mindful in the moment. The intention is everything!
We live in a digital age- our phones have basically become another appendage. The fixation with technology can leave us feeling more disconnected from people and things around us. What would it be like to set resolutions around creating time limits on your phone? A starting place could be turning your phone to airplane mode at night. That way to don’t wake up in the morning to an instead stream of notifications and updates and can start your morning a little lighter
Get some rest!
More and more, the literature is pointing to sleep as a predictor of overall health. Chronically poor sleep is likely to lead to unfavorable health outcomes. Maybe your resolutions revolve around developing a nighttime ritual. Make some tea, take a warm shower or bath, avoid screen time at least 30 minutes before bed, and read a relaxing book before sleep. Finding strategies that feel like they can fit into your daily schedule is going to be the most helpful when looking for sustainable resolutions.
Schedule time with your therapist
Feeling bogged down or anxious? We strongly believe in therapy as a way to sort through the tough stuff and organize our minds. You don’t have to go it alone! Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
Start to view your body as the home you live in
We were not put on this Earth to lose weight and pay bills. Your body is your home, one that carries your personality to enable you to live out a fulfilling, meaningful life. Starting to set resolutions in the new year around this could help to lead towards an overall more neutral or positive outlook with yourself.
At the end of the day, it’s perfectly okay to just BE as you are. And that means, you don't have to curate a weight-centric New Years resolution. Or any resolution for that matter. It’s your life, and health is not an obligation! You are worthy, whole, and enough as you are, right now. Sometimes body positivity feels impossible, and that is OK!
Begin Working with a Virtual Nutritionist in Massachusetts
Here at NourishRX, we understand that setting body positive resolutions can be overwhelming. It can also feel like a daunting task to make sure you're getting accurate nutrition information amidst a sea of diet culture-infused nonsense. Working with a virtual nutritionist can help make this task a little easier. To help you feel supported and informed, virtual nutritionists can provide one-on-one guidance to ensure you reach your health goals.
If you're interested in working with us:
Other Nutrition Services Offered at NourishRx
At NourishRx, we offer a variety of services to help you get the nutrition and body-positive support you need. We know it can be difficult to find the right resources, so we're here to help you along the way. This is why we offer Nutrition Counseling, Intuitive Eating Support, Support for Parents and Caregivers, and Meal Planning. If you are feeling like you want more information, we also offer a Questions and Clarity Call to answer any questions you may have before taking the next step in your journey. No matter what your nutritional needs are, our team is here to help.