New Years- time to set a New Years Resolution?

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted. And the past month I have been gearing up for holiday eating conversations, weight loss conversations, the new food diets and trends for 2019, and of course New Years Resolutions. The latter has brought me back to about 4 or 5 years back when I first launched my website and blog. I was timid, nervous, and afraid to put myself out there and speak my mind against the ever growing diet industry and culture. I went back the other day, convinced to find my piece I wrote on resolutions vs. intentions, and to my surprise I couldn’t find it. All these years later, I believed I had put words to paper on why the we should focus not on resolutions but intentions. I guess I never wrote it down…

So, being it’s now 2019, and nothing has changed with regards to new diets, diet culture— hold on scratch that— one thing has changed and it’s a big one—the rise of Intuitive Eating Dietitians, Non Diet Dietitians, and a place for Eating Disorder Dietitians. YES! These are my people and my tribe. 5 years ago, I didn’t have the support I do now and it warms my heart that many courageous RDs have broken out, gone against the grain, and formed their own groups to support one another! So for that, yes, there is change and hope!

Let’s take this back though, to New Years and resolutions. It’s the thing to do and has been for a long time. I can remember writing down my resolutions back in middle school and would put them under my bed and pull them out to see if I had succeeded. It usually had something to do with weight (insert RD Meredith shaking her head). But it happened and it’s still happening with the majority of people. People who measure their worth to what they can accomplish and for many it’s weight related, numbers, scale related, food related, gym related, appearance related. But are these resolutions sustainable? Or are you setting yourself up for disappointment, guilt, a sense of failure? Then what happens? One blames themselves even further and the cycle of saying “tomorrow is a new day” continues.

Insert the word intention. In the yoga world, and I’m a yogi and yoga teacher, many of us start out our practice by setting an intention. This intention is not a goal but rather its something that gets us through, it’s a sense of purpose, a meaning. My friend Heather, also a yogi, said it perfectly this year in prefacing what a yoga mala, 108 Sun Salutations really is. An intention is something to help inspire, motivate, or spark change or awareness in the coming year.

In my counseling sessions with food and nutrition, we continue to peel back the layers to get at what drives you, who are you, why do you do what you do when it comes to food and weight. I want to know your values and what makes you happy as a person. Once we figure that out, then we can build on those to find a true intention for our actions with food. Actions to get to weight loss (i.e. cutting out food groups, going dairy free, working out 6 days a week to lose a pound a week) aren’t sustainable. Why? It’s not motivating enough. Life can get in the way. It’s surfacey (is that a word?) But what if, someone wants to lose weight because they want to enjoy life with their kids and be able to get on the floor and play games with their kids? What if they had a heart attack and they want to make small changes for medical reasons and to live a long enjoyable life? Weight loss can happen, it’s acceptable, and I would never deter anyone. But do you see the difference between a resolution and intention? To me, an intention, goes beyond goals; it’s a sense of strong purpose with no expectations attached.

On this first day of 2019, I challenge you to ditch the diets for the sake of weight loss (you all know what I mean- it’s the weight loss to look good for summer kind of weight loss), ditch the extreme and unsustainable goals, but instead dig deep and really reflect on you! What do you want? What drives you? What makes you feel good? The key factor here is YOU! Only you can answer this question. This is a VERY hard task. It requires you to drown out the noise of the world. The noise that continues to throw fad diets in your face, the newest trends, the thing everyone does. By doing this work, it requires you to be you. It may mean going against the grain. But guess what? That’s what makes you special and unique. Many people follow the newest diet, by following in the same footsteps doesn’t make you extraordinary; it makes you ordinary because everyone is doing it. Dare to be YOU in 2019!