With the New Year comes new goals and often a toxic dose of Diet Culture Messages. Whether you are brand new to your Intuitive Eating Journey or have been on this path for quite a while, this time of year can be challenging! You may even be wondering how to set New Year Goals the Intuitive Eating Way...is it even possible?
Setting Non-Diet Wellness Goals for the New Year
As an Intuitive Eating Counselor, one of the biggest questions I get is, "how can I focus on improving my health without making it a diet"? For far too long, we have been brainwashed to think that pursuing weight loss is the key to achieving improved health. Research shows that intentional dieting, with the goal of weight loss, actually has the opposite effect! Dieting is a predictor of future weight gain AND the weight fluctuations resulting from yo-yo dieting are shown to increase the risk for cardiovascular disease... much more so than the higher weight itself.
So here is what we know:
Intentional Dieting is associated with weight gain, increased risk for chronic disease, low self-esteem, and more.
Significant health improvements can be made when you learn to recognize and follow internal hunger and satiety cues, exercise consistently, and receive support to learn body acceptance, regardless of whether or not weight is lost.
How to Set New Year Goals the Intuitive Eating Way
Reject Diet Mentality
With the New Year wellness traps and diet culture messages that promise to help you lose weight quickly, easily, and permanently, remind yourself of what you know to be the truth: diets don't work, and weight loss is not the key to better health. Rebel against the messages that have made you feel like YOU are broken when you can't stick to the rigid food rules or gain the weight back. In fact, I encourage you to throw out the scale...it literally tells you NOTHING about your worth OR your health...
Set Weight Neutral Wellness Intentions
If your New Year goal is better self-care and to improve your health, remember this: you can achieve your fitness goals and improve your health WITHOUT restrictive dieting.
Instead of saying I need to lose ______ lbs so I can ___________, take that
secondary feeling, health outcome, or fitness goal, and set it as your main
For example: if you think you need to lose weight to have more energy,
reduce your blood pressure, have less pain, and breathe easier...set those outcomes as THE GOAL, and forget about the scale to measure progress...
Here are more reflection questions to help you out:
What is your main goal? (example: reduce your blood pressure, have more energy)
What tangible actions can you take that will help you move towards it? (example: spend more time in nature and walk more outdoor trails; I will eat more fruits and vegetables)