Every January, millions of people vow to make weight loss, exercise or health a priority for the upcoming year. Gym membership rates soar, diet talk fills the break room. Until last year, I was one of those people who obsessed over my weight or what new diet I was on. My past New Year’s Resolutions usually involved some sort of weight loss goal.
Since discovered Intuitive Eating and the Health at Every Size movement (and the freedom and joy associated with it), I’ve been able to spend the time and energy previously devoted to losing weight on endeavors that truly fulfill me.
For 2019, my goals were to heal my relationship with food and my body, reduce my single-use plastic waste, find a weekly activity to do with my son, only buy clothing from conscious clothing brands or secondhand shops, apply to a master’s program, finish the Marketing Certification on HubSpot Academy and start planning a trip to Machu Picchu. I was able to accomplish all but two of those items plus we added another member to our family and bought a house (one of my 40 Before 40 Goals).
To celebrate this amazing year, I wanted to share 10 of my favorite non-weight loss related New Year’s Resolutions. They’re all SMART goals, meaning they’re Specific, Actionable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based. Most resolutions fail because they are too vague, too overwhelming or too impersonal. When you set a goal to, for example, plan your dream trip, make sure you decide beforehand what your dream trip is. You should have also saved up enough funds to be able to start booking a flight and hotel rooms. If this isn’t attainable just yet, pick a different resolution!
Hopefully this list will inspire you appreciate your body for all it enables you to do rather than trying to change it.
When I first embarked on my intuitive eating journey a year ago, I had just decided to end my 20-year relationship with diet culture. I was terrified that when I gave myself unconditional permission to eat whatever I want, I would be overwhelmed by options and not be able to make choices that made me feel good. Because my relationship with food was so fraught since childhood, I had no idea what a normal day of eating and not obsessing about food looked like. In my search, I came across Rachel Hartley's series, "Why I Ate Wednesday" in which she chronicles and examines the intentions behind her eating choices. I found those posts to be incredibly helpful and thought I would share my own in case anyone finds them useful.
In the last year, what I eat on a daily basis varies greatly. Some days, all I want are hearty foods. Other days, I just want fruit for dinner. Mostly I have found that eating intuitively has resulted in me to barely even think about the foods that I was obsessed with in my dieting days, like bagels, croissants and donuts because I can and do have them whenever I want.
For over two decades of my life, I spent countless hours and too much energy focused on losing weight. My first diet was at eight or nine years old and my last one was at 29. I tried everything from the Cabbage Soup Diet to weight loss tea to Atkins, Keto, Whole30...And they all worked for a bit until they didn't.
Exactly a year ago, I was in the throes of my last diet, five days away from completing the Whole30 for a second time. I had been trying unsuccessfully to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight for about six months and nothing was working. My body was holding onto the weight like my life and the life of my baby depended on it. After a month of torturing myself and feeling obsessed with food and "clean" eating, I stepped on the scale and had lost a measly 5 pounds. I was devastated.
Frustrated with my so-called failure, I began looking for yet another diet, this time in podcast form, when I came across Food Psych. This was the start of my journey to Intuitive Eating, learning about Health at Every Size and healing my relationship with food and my body.
I learned that diets and yo-yoing in weight is more harmful to one's health than staying at a larger weight consistently over a lifetime. I learned about the "obesity paradox." I learned to free myself from diet culture and weight stigma. I learned to enjoy eating again, not only to sustain my body, but also for the pure pleasure of it, because food is not only delicious but it brings us closer to the people we love. I learned to embrace and celebrate my body for the amazing things it's able to do.
A year after giving birth, I got pregnant again. My starting weight with my second pregnancy was the weight I was the morning I went into labor in my first pregnancy. This was the ultimate lesson in accepting that bodies are meant to change and diets are designed not to work.
Instead of obsessing over food and weight loss this past year, this is what I've been able to do: