Why I Finally Decided to Stop Making Weight Loss My New Year’s Resolution…
As long as I can remember, I was always very conscious of my weight. I was always considered the chubby kid. I was heavier than most of the kids in my class…the heaviest out of my friend groups…and heavier than my 2 older sisters. And it didn’t help that my weight was the topic of discussion amongst several “private” family conversations. They didn’t think I could hear them talking about me, but I was a very bright kid, and I knew every single time.
Growing up in the 80s-90s, I was surrounded by weight loss advertisements and those low-fat, low-calorie, low everything foods! And like most moms during that time, my mom would keep our home stocked with those Snackwell Chocolate Cookies, Slim Fast drinks, and detox teas. This way of life became normal to me and before I knew it, I started dieting by the tender age of 9. Of course, I didn’t realize that I was dieting, but looking back at those alarming behaviors which included—weighing myself every day, barely finishing my meals, and counting calories—I realized that was definitely a diet and disordered eating patterns in the making.
Over the years, I tried every diet imaginable, no matter how ridiculous it was! If it promised quick weight loss, I was all for it. And because I became so obsessed with weight loss, I decided to make it my New Year’s Resolution every year—EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. Like most individuals, we tend to make resolutions that solely focus on weight loss, instead of developing habits that can positively contribute to our overall health. In fact, studies show that approximately 42% of Americans prioritize weight loss as one of their New Year Resolutions. When asked how long they kept their New Year’s Resolution, just over half (55%) of those who made a resolution did not keep it for the entire year – including one in ten (11%) who kept it for less than a month. And let me just say that I definitely resonated with that 11%.
I continued to gain weight each year due to my “failed” diet attempts…until a couple of years ago. I finally realized that my weight loss resolutions were not contributing anything positive to my life and was setting me up for failure. Anytime I heard the words weight loss or diet, I became filled with anxiety and words such as restriction, deprivation, and sadness began to consume me. Because of this and my extensive unhealthy relationship with food, I decided to give up diets—for good!!
No More DIETS!
Whenever I say that I finally decided to stop making weight loss my New Year’s Resolution, I always receive backlash and negative comments from others. They see that I am a plus-size woman who, in their minds, could stand to lose a few pounds. They suddenly become so concerned with my health because society has trained us to believe that losing weight and being thin is the only indicator of health—which is completely false!
Saying farewell to diets does NOT mean that I’m not prioritizing my health—it simply means that I am choosing to make positive lifestyle choices that are not centered around weight loss. I am choosing to make healthful food choices without worrying if those foods are considered bad or good. I am choosing to increase my physical activity without obsessing over the numbers on the scale. I am choosing to engage in things that bring me joy, not stress and anxiety. I am choosing to be FREE! And guess what, it feels so good!
Steps That I’ve Taken to Get Here…
This wasn’t an easy process, but once I learned accept myself and my body at any stage—it became a lot easier to break-up with dieting. For most people, including myself, dieting was a way to be in control of my life and gain respect and admiration from others. I craved that attention and based my whole life on it, but thankfully I began to develop love, respect, and appreciation for myself and realized that I no longer needed validation from others.
And because I found a new love for myself, I started prioritizing self-care and engaging in habits that benefited my overall health, including my mental health. I signed up for a cross-fit aerobics class that I absolutely LOVE, I bought more art supplies to get back into painting, and I implemented intuitive eating and mindful eating principles into my daily regimen. (Don’t worry, more on those 2 later!)
Now let me add a little disclaimer—I am not against intentional weight loss, nor do I criticize anyone for choosing to make weight loss a priority. I am only speaking of my experience and what has been a game changer for me. And if any of this resonates with you, you may need to consider saying farewell to diets and check out these tips for setting goals.
Tips for Setting Goals
When setting goals, stop focusing on changing yourself and focus on what you can do to enhance or add to your life. In my opinion, the continued want and need to change yourself suggests that something is wrong. We were all uniquely created, and those traits and characteristics should be celebrated. Now let’s get into these tips:
- Access your motivation– Even though we may be excited about working towards our new goals, we need to make sure that it’s the right time to try something new. Are there any challenges that may prevent you from being successful? Are you mentally prepared to start this new journey? If the answer is no, don’t give up. Instead, make a plan to help prepare you for your new journey and start whenever you’re ready.
- Make a plan– Write down your goals and make a realistic plan to make it happen. The key word here is, REALISTIC. If your goal is to increase your physical activity, it may not be realistic to commit to working out 6 hours each day—instead try enrolling in a fun dance class a few times a week or get with a group of friends for an exciting game of basketball. Your plan should include things that make you happy.
- Check in with yourself– After a couple of days or weeks, take a moment to check in with yourself. How does this new activity or plan make you feel? Is it something that you can continue? Don’t be afraid to adjust your goal or plan, if needed. And don’t be afraid to get rid of that plan or goal if it’s no longer serving you in a positive way.
What are some of your non-weight loss related New Year’s goals?? Let me know in the comments below!
I Finally Decided to Stop Making Weight Loss My New Year’s Resolution