Here's Why Dieting Shouldn't Be A Resolution This Year
The beginning of a new year sparks so much drive and motivation to revamp our lives. New year, new you, right? It’s so refreshing to be able to feel like you can leave everything in the past year and start out again on the right foot. Around this time, it’s easy to fall back on resolving to change the way you eat and consequently, change the way your body looks. Here’s why that is not a good idea, and some better ways to frame body positive intentions this year.
Dieting doesn’t work.
Those people that you see constantly dieting usually have one thing in common: they keep trying new ones because the previous one probably didn’t work for very long. The diet industry still thrives today because when one doesn’t work, it’s instinct for people to keep trying more as they strive to reach their goal weight. Jenna J summed it up perfectly when she said, “Diets don’t work. At least in the long run. If they did, there would be no multi-billion dollar diet industry.” When I speak about diets, I’m not just talking about typical ones like Jenny Craig or South Beach. Whole30, Paleo, and all those little juice cleanses are forms of dieting, too.
You probably hate doing it.
There’s always a point (or several) during the dieting process where you just don’t want to do it anymore. It’s a mentally taxing process, not listening to your body when it’s asking for things that you’re restricting it from having. From personal experience, every time I tried to restrict myself from certain foods I ended up thinking about what I wished I could eat all day long. Then, I would beat myself up for not being able to “get a handle” on myself. It took over my life, made my anxiety way worse, and I was never a truly fun person to be around. I hated every day that I kept from eating pasta, rice, and whatever other gluten-filled goodness society had deemed as “unhealthy.” My best friend over at Wholesomely Hannah had similar feelings when she went on her Paleo diet. Bottom line is: dieting is not fun, and often people experience a ton of negative effects on their bodies and minds in the process.
I know what you might be thinking. Achieving something means putting in hard work that might not be enjoyable, right? Sometimes, yes. But this is your body we’re talking about. The thing that makes it possible for you to live and breathe and walk and talk. This isn’t something you just mess around with, especially if you haven’t consulted a registered dietitian about the latest diet that all the fitness-crazy Instagrammers are claiming makes them those weight and feel “so cleansed of all the toxins!!!!!”
It’s breaking down your confidence.
When you put yourself on a diet, it’s basically signaling to your brain that you aren’t perfect just the way you are. That something is wrong and needs to be fixed. Here’s a question for you: how can you work to better love yourself if you’re always trying to change your body because you think it isn’t good enough? Self-confidence is comprised of having a sound body and mind. It makes it incredibly difficult to achieve both of those if your thoughts are comprised of being critical of your body. Do yourself a favor. Try these ten body positive affirmations instead. Nurture your relationship with your body instead of tearing it apart, and see how your confidence grows as a result.
Instead of a new diet, set the intentions to:
Exercise in ways that make you feel good.
I used to run 2.5 miles per day every morning on the treadmill. Sure, I got that nice little rush of happy endorphins afterwards, but I didn’t have fun exercising and certainly went back to hating my body by the time the afternoon rolled around. The thing about exercise is that no matter how much it’s claimed to be good for you, it will truly suck if you don’t like the kind of exercise you’re doing. Don’t run if you hate running. Instead, try lots of different movement until you find one that you really love (or can at least stand to do without wanting to stop halfway through). For example, I choose to practice yoga as my primary form of exercise. When I complete a class, I feel incredibly energized both mentally and physically. Incorporating movement into your life that you love to do will make exercising so much easier to do. Try it sometime. Better yet, start experimenting tomorrow.
Eat that extra slice of pizza.
Intuitive eating is a simple way to not only get more closely connected to your body, but maintain a balance within your body that signals when you need more protein, carbs, greens, or anything else. When we diet, it ignores the signs our bodies give us that tell us what we need that day to achieve optimal performance. Sometimes you might need more fats or carbs in your diet and that is perfectly normal and acceptable. So seriously, eat the extra slice of pizza if that’s what you want to do.
Live every day to enjoy your life.
The thing about restricting yourself is that it takes away from experiencing as much joy in your life as you possibly can. Go to that basketball game and order the nachos. Meet your friends at the bar and grab those late night wings to soak up the alcohol. Embark on a fitness journey that makes you feel happy and fulfilled. Try new things. Explore what makes you light up inside instead of focusing on changing something that genetics have made incredibly difficult to alter. Most importantly, have yourself a kickass year.