With New Year’s Day upon us, you may be like millions of people around the globe, eager to make 2022 the best year yet. While many people are making “resolutions” they know very well they won’t keep, it’s not abnormal to desire a fresh start in 2022. While this can be very daunting for those who seek balance and want to focus on a well-rounded lifestyle rather than “dieting,” diets have a way of trying to sneak in and steal our sunshine. Many people have been dieting for most of their lives, giving them a false sense of control, and very rarely a new outcome. Instead of falling into the cliché of just desiring to make your body smaller this year, let’s look at ways to really make this the healthiest year for you, in 2022!
Diet culture is easy because it has a lot of rules to help you know if we are “right” or “wrong,” and unfortunately, the success of these diets is measured by your scale and pants size, but what if we didn’t focus on just the numbers you can see shrinking, and we allowed ourselves to grow into the person we think we want to be? If we want to do that, we need to be really honest with ourselves and name and claim, what we truly desire. At the end of the day, many people actually want to be freed from their obsessive thoughts about food, and actually, be present in their lives! They want to enjoy moving their bodies again instead of being focused on the exact number of steps they see on their Fitbit. But how do we get there? We need to think about how we want to feel, and why that is meaningful for us. Even if your true goal is weight loss, how do you hope that will make you feel and why will that be meaningful for you?
First things first, let’s get real about what we’ve been doing and for how long. Have you spent the last 20 years starting each year with a diet you never finish? Have you started each year promising you will use the treadmill every day when you really hate it? You aren’t alone! We do these things. We do them because society told us that we had to be tortured to find “health.” When you have all these experiences, don’t let them be a negative influence – let them be your truth and motivation for moving forward in a new way. Look back at these actions and remember if these things worked, you wouldn’t be here today!
Second, commit to starting fresh. Give yourself permission to move forward differently. Commit to letting go of the past thoughts, ideas and actions that never fulfilled you! Dr. Kelley Brownell says, “No matter how you go about losing weight, to lose it effectively and, especially to keep it off, your lifestyle has to change. This means that your eating habits, your approach to physical activity, and your attitudes about food, your weight and even yourself as a person, will probably need to change.” (Now read that again.)
If we need to rethink our eating habits and attitudes about food, it means just that, it’s new forward-thinking. You might even need to rephrase some of these things. Instead of “I want to lose weight,” go deeper. What would you think, act, and feel like if you lost weight? Why is that meaningful? And instead of putting a bunch of diet rules into play, think about how you can really get there. If you have been telling yourself that you’ll stop eating cheese for 30 years, chances are you aren’t really going to stop, and in fact, you may really love cheese and shouldn’t cut it out. Start New! No more forbidding foods, that didn’t work before anyway. Did you know some dieticians suggest putting dessert right on a child’s plate with their meal? They let the child decide which foods and how much they want to eat. Now a bite of a cookie is just as available as eating a carrot – neither food is “right or wrong,” it’s just-food.
Physical activity can be the same. Diet culture used to tell people they had to work out for hours a day, while many trainers and physical fitness instructors are begging you to listen that that’s not true! There are so many wonderful ways to move your body that you can enjoy and not only that but in small amounts. Many classes are now geared at getting people in and out in 45 minutes or less with a total body workout, because we know that works! More isn’t always better. Would you rather work out for 2-3 hours a day for a month or two and quit, or work out a few times a week for a whole year? Exercise also doesn’t have to be one size fits all. If you don’t’ like it, try something else. We are starting fresh, right? Try something new. Find ways of moving your body that you enjoy, that make you feel strong, independent, and empowered. When you find those, you are much more likely to keep them with you all year long, because they will be impactful to you.
If you want more energy this year, but refuse to make time for rest, you might as well own up to the fact that it’s obviously not that important to you. If you keep saying you will make time for self-care and never do, then why even pretend. Even those most well-intentioned thoughts don’t really matter if we can’t put it to action. And sometimes, when no matter what we do, no matter how bad we want something, we just can’t get there. That’s when we ask for help. That’s when we meet with a counselor, health coach, dietician, trainer, or physician to use their expertise to help us decipher who we are, where we want to be, how to get there and why it’s meaningful. If you were stuck in a ditch, you’d let someone help you out, right? Don’t get stuck this year, let someone help you!
Fresh starts are great, but they must be fresh. Will you go into 2022 with a new mindset? Will you get off the hamster wheel of “rules, restrictions and dieting,” and become more present in your own happier and healthier life? Will you give yourself the freedom to make new choices, try new things and actually let your goals happen? Will you allow yourself the chance to finally be as healthy as YOU want to be? We hope you will. We also hope if you need help, you’ll call us at 802-334-5566. Cheers to a fun, meaningful, safe, and healthy you in 2022!
Director Of The Wellness Center