Has anyone else noticed that “New Years’ resolution” has become synonymous with weight loss and dieting? Icky!
It’s not that there’s anything inherently wrong with making a more “traditional” health-oriented resolution like starting a workout routine or a change of diet. But my experience is that for a lot of folks, focusing on eating less and exercising more actually makes them less healthy in mind and body–especially since a lot of folks have an unrealistic notion of how much fuel our bodies really need. Which is why I say it’s time to reconsider this tradition.
I realize this post is a few days late for the new year. But ah well. I wrote this list down in my notebook last year around this time, when I was thinking about starting a blog but hadn’t gotten around to it. I don’t particularly want to wait another year to post it. And besides, while I think it’s useful to have a time in our calendar when it’s traditional to make a mindful change in our lives, there’s nothing magical about January 1, either.
My folks and I went out for a hike on New Years’ day. One major difference between my exercise routine now and what it was a few years ago is that I enjoy lower-intensity exercise a lot more now–like tromping around in the snow! I used to tell myself that exercise didn’t count it if I wasn’t burning as many calories as possible, and sometimes I still find it easy to fall back into that mentality, but it’s not a healthy mindset. There are a ton of benefits to exercise of all kinds–and there is such a thing as too much of it! (The first picture, by the way, is not from the same hike. That’s from a New Mexico trip a few years ago.)
So when you’re committing to your resolution this year, think about what you really want, and what you really need. Here’s a few suggestions for alternative resolutions that might help you get to a healthier place.
- Resolve to eat whenever you’re hungry, because you’re hungry
- Resolve to stop weighing yourself
- Resolve to quit doing exercise that you don’t enjoy and find a kind of exercise/movement you like better
- Resolve to find some non-exercise-related hobbies (painting, volunteering at the local hospital…heck, writing fanfiction…etc.)
- Resolve to stop reading nutrition labels
- Resolve to eat proteins and fats with more of your meals
- Resolve to eat carbs with all of your meals
- Resolve to give yourself permission to have seconds
- Resolve to stop eating when you’re full, because you’re full (i.e. not because you feel like you’re supposed to or you’ve eaten “too much”)
- Resolve to eat breakfast
- Resolve to stop counting calories
- Resolve to eat a wider variety of foods and try new things
- Resolve to reduce, reuse, and recycle food packaging waste (or just in general)
- Resolve to not comment on the nutritional value of food that you or others are eating
- Resolve to snack between meals to keep your blood sugar even
- Resolve to become a better conversationalist <–this one was mine last year
- Resolve to buy clothes that fit and look good on your body as it is now
- Resolve to try something to reduce stress, whether that’s journaling, trying a yoga class, or even giving yourself permission to watch an hour of TV before bed
- Resolve to buy yourself foods that you love but don’t give yourself permission to enjoy <–for me, this used to be real mayonnaise
- Resolve to eat more fruits and vegetables (but not necessarily less of other things)
- Resolve to spend more time planning your meals and cooking foods you will enjoy, even if just for yourself
- Resolve to spend less time cooking. Give yourself permission to just buy the damn Ragu and frozen meatballs so you can move on with your life
- Resolve not to engage with off-handed comments about weight, or make any yourself
- Resolve to read more books
- Resolve to do something you used to enjoy that was replaced by exercise
- Resolve to schedule rest days into your workout routine
- Resolve to model self-love and a healthy body image to a child or someone else you care about
- Resolve to eat a bedtime snack so you don’t wake up hungry
- Resolve to eat slowly and enjoy your meal
- Resolve to say “thank you” more and “I’m sorry” less
By the way, my New Years’ resolution for 2016 is to keep my apartment cleaner. So there’s 31.
What was your New Years’ resolution last year? Are you glad you made it?
What’s one food that you love but never let yourself buy?