Dear 2019: Let's Be Intuitive!

Have you ever had a list of New Year’s Resolutions that did NOT somehow involve diet or weight loss goals? Seriously, think about it. Can you remember a year where you weren’t thinking about a diet the moment you rolled out of bed on January 1? if you can, count yourself one of the rare lucky ones because most people set themselves up for failure, disappointment or shame the moment the new year rolls around. Diets, by definition, don’t last. 90-95 percent of diets fail (generally, very soon after they are started). Likewise, I recently read an article citing a study that found that the average New Year’s Resolution fails by January 12. Without question, those two phenomena are inextricably linked — Most people “resolve” to diet at the start of the year, and diets almost always fail, hence New Year’s Resolutions also fail within less than 2 weeks after the new year starts.

I struggled with the New Year’s Resolution dieting mentality for most of my adult life. Some years, I failed quickly. Other years, I stayed “strong,” punishing my body and psyche for months before finally succumbing. Regardless, by the end of the year, I was always back where I started…trying to fool myself into believing that next year would be the year I would finally stick with my New Year’s Resolution. I would tell myself, next year I would diet and (over)exercise myself until I reached some unattainable goal. I know I wasn’t alone in this type of thinking. I talked with friends who also had the same diet-based “Resolutions.” I saw new and unfamiliar faces at the gym the first week of January…only to have those same faces slowly disappear in the weeks/months to come. I heard from family members who excitedly talked about their new treadmill and home gym…the same ones that were collecting dust by the summer months.

It’s not that aspirations and goal setting are bad things. Obviously, not. They are terrific. However, if your goals and aspirations are driven by a diet, chances are you will fail. Diets aren’t healthy and don’t work. However, listening to your body is healthy and does work. With that in mind, I am sharing my intuitive eating-based New Year’s Resolution, below. I hope this rings true and is helpful to some of you out there! Happy New Year!

Dear 2019,

This upcoming year, let’s all resolve to trust ourselves.  When it comes to food rules, the 2019 “plan” is to have NO PLAN.  This means no more losing sleep and getting worked up in anticipation of our latest plan to lose weight or eat “clean.”  This means foregoing the traditional 30-day “fix” which starts with starving our bodies beginning January 1.  Instead, this year’s resolution involves accepting that we lived our lives and enjoyed the holidays...hopefully enjoying family, friends, food, drink.  This year, there will be nothing to feel guilty about and nothing to “fix” simply because - like previous years - we lived normal lives during the holidays.  We don’t need to “start over.”  We don’t need to tell ourselves, “I’ll be bad one last night before I get strict.”  This year, our new year won’t be dictated and controlled by the next (in a never ending string of) failed January diets.

We’ve wasted too many New Years past playing this silly game. This year, when we wake up to start the new year, there might be “change,” but it won’t be about the start of some illusory goal or short term diet.  The only “change” will be finally saying, “I’m enough...I love myself...I trust myself...I deserve to be happy!”