“New Year, New Me” – At the start of every year, millions of people rush to make New Year’s resolutions that are often promises to lose weight, exercise more, shrink, tone, and have it all by Christmas 2022.
Many will fall prey to fad diets and bogus weight-loss products – juice cleanses, 30-day challenges, intermittent fasting, weight watchers, keto diet, etc. Yet, 95% of all diets fail and most dieters will gain back the weight they lost. (1) Dieting, and intentional weight loss, can contribute to food and body fixation, disordered eating, weight cycling, yo-yo dieting, and rarely does it produce a leaner, healthier, happier you. (2)
A challenge to you in 2022: Ditch the diet in the pursuit of thinness. Instead of the primary focus being weight loss, take an approach that focuses on respecting, honoring, and caring for your body, mind, and spirit.
The following resolutions are not centered around a diet, but respectful care and holistic well-being:
1) Discover Joyful Movement
Movement should be rooted in joy – never punishment. Joyful movement is a way of approaching exercise that emphasizes pleasure, joy, and choice. It does not focus on burning calories or working off the cookie you ate at dinner last night. Joyful movement can include any type of movement, from gardening, dancing, walking the dog, taking the stairs, cleaning, yoga, to going on a run with a friend. Discover activities that you enjoy or would like to try in 2022.
2) Practice Gentle Nutrition
Make food choices that are satisfying to you while also honoring your health. Gentle nutrition is flexible and balanced, rather than restrictive and extreme. It can be as simple as grabbing whole wheat bread vs white bread for added fiber and nutrients or simply adding veggies to your restaurant burrito. ALL foods provide us with nourishment, comfort, enjoyment, and connection.
3) Catch Some Zzz’s
Sleep is essential for your overall health and well-being. A good night’s sleep can boost your immune system, improve memory, reduce stress, increase productivity, and can lower your risk of developing chronic diseases and conditions including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. (3)
As you enter the new year, strive to get at least seven hours of sleep each night:
- establish a bedtime routine
- create a comfortable bedtime environment
- avoid caffeine and alcohol before heading to bed
- remove all electronic devices from the bedroom (3)
4) Practice Body Neutrality
In today’s society, it is easy to feel ashamed about your body or body size. It is important to acknowledge that dieting or intentionally altering your body size will not help you to love your body. This new year, begin to explore your relationship with your body. Your body is deserving of respect, dignity, and celebration – no matter it’s size, shape, or color. Body neutrality focuses on appreciating your body for all that it does each day. Start with identifying qualities that you appreciate about yourself, that have nothing to do with weight or shape. On bad body image days, remind yourself that it is okay to not love your body right now, but you can always work to respect it.
5) Create a Self-Care Routine
Self-care is not only facials and manicures. Self-care is often just getting the basics – Are you getting enough sleep? Are you skipping meals? Self-care can be any restorative activity that leaves you feeling enriched and nurtured. (4) Self-care can look different for everyone, it can be a walk around the neighborhood, meditating, a 20-minute nap, talking with a therapist, doing your grocery shopping online, or taking the scenic drive to work. In 2022, explore what rest looks like for you.
Be patient, be gentle, and be kind to yourself in 2022. Wishing you health and happiness in the New Year!
Author: Madi Zaidel, CHES®
Madi is a Certified Health Education Specialist and is currently the Community Health Outreach Specialist for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. Madi holds a degree in Public Health and is working on her master’s degree in Public Health Nutrition. Madi is passionate about health promotion, health education, and holistic well-being, and is an advocate for health at every size (HAES).
1. Mann, T., et al. (2007). Medicare’s search for effective obesity treatments: Diets are not the answer. American Psychologist, 62(3), 220-233. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.62.3.220.
2. Memon, A., et al. (2020). Have our attempts to curb obesity done more harm than good? Cureus, 12(9), e10275. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.10275
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Sleep and chronic disease. https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/chronic_disease.html
4. World Health Organization. (2021). Self-care interventions for health. https://www.who.int/health-topics/self-care#tab=tab_1