Weight loss is my New Year’s Resolution. What can I do?

Health & Wellness

A: As we enter the New Year, people are putting a lot of weight on their weight. Losing weight is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions. But your health is more than just a number. Here are some ideas to help you focus on what really matters here.

Maybe you have noticed that your clothes aren’t fitting the same. Maybe your eating and exercise patterns have changed a little, maybe a lot. Maybe you find yourself thinking about this often or even feeling ashamed or guilty. If so, you are not alone.

First and foremost, we must remember that bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and one is not better than another. Unfortunately, negative body image is pervasive. Negative body image is when someone has a feeling of shame or anxiety about their body and feels that their body appearance is an important indicator of worth. Not only do we judge ourselves for our bodies, but other people do too and that has real impacts on health and wellness. Rather than stigmatize, we need to celebrate the natural diversity and beauty in all shapes and sizes.

Next, it is important to recognize that the number on the scale is not a meaningful definition of health. Eating and exercise are important components of health, but weight is not the key indicator. Fitness and nutrition are more important. You can’t tell if someone is healthy by looking at their body shape.

As we enter the new year, there can be a lot of pressure on us to set goals and achieve them. For many of us, those goals may involve our weight, eating patterns, or exercise. It’s great to reflect on ways we can focus on our wellness and to create new habits that are health promoting. But we don’t want to let these goals become looming monsters that are causing far more harm than good.

So, what can we do? Here a few tips:

➡ Be kind to yourself. Your value has NOTHING to do with your weight, shape, or even your health status.

➡ Use positive language to reflect on yourself and others. Avoid the shame game.

➡ Make goals for your eating that work for you that are healthful and nutritious. Multiple studies of rigid diet and exercise programs show participants lose some weight early on but typically gain it back over the long run. Little changes made regularly can increase health without feeling like you are missing out on something. Avoid the FOMO.

➡ Celebrate your successes toward your goals. When a goal isn’t met, don’t enter the shame spiral. Think about what worked and what didn’t, and then learn for your next goal setting. Refining goals can help us achieve them and give a sense of accomplishment.

➡ Eat mindfully. When you feel hungry, ask yourself “Am I actually feeling stressed, thirsty, or tired?” When you sit down to eat, focus on what you are eating and enjoy! Minimize distractions and pay attention to when your body feels full.

➡ Focus on movement, not exercise. Exercise can be a dirty word for some and bring on unpleasant memories of gym class or feeling embarrassed about your athletic ability. Move in the way that you enjoy. Hate running but love to dance? Dance away! Find activities that are fun and mix it up to keep it interesting.

➡ Talk with your primary care clinician. Share how you are feeling and what is going on. They can help.

For great info and resources, check out the Health at Every Size Approach. This approach focuses on reducing stigma and blame, balanced eating, active movement, and respect for all body shapes and sizes.

Stay safe. Stay well.

Those Nerdy Girls

Link to Original FB Post