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Resist a New Year’s Diet

Now is the time that many people start a diet, vowing that this time it will stick and be the last one they’ll ever go on. Maybe your friends, family members and co-workers are planning to be “good” around food for the rest of their lives and follow a new fitness routine. Maybe they’re under the faulty assumption that they’re going to manage to say no to all “bad” foods even though that never has happened before.

Don’t be fooled by their take-charge attitude, hope, and enthusiasm. Don’t be seduced by the idea that a diet is what you need in order to lose weight. I don’t care what the media or doctors tell you. You know better. You have your own experience to go by. Sure, it can be very exhilarating to strategize with friends, relatives and colleagues about how you’ll triumph over the battle of the bulge. January, as resolution month, is a time of high spirits and infinitely misplaced expectations and optimism. But what happens when February or March rolls around. What has happened to you when you’ve jumped on the new year diet or fitness bandwagon? How long did it take to slide off?

I’m not saying to forget about growing healthier, eating less, more nutritiously, or getting fitter. I’m 100% for all for those goals. But, think of it, what’s so special about New Year’s that’s going to work the magic you long for? January 1 is just another day of the year. Why not mend your ways on October 27, June 3, or April 11? Why not treat your body well every day of the year, year after year, decade after decade?

Pay attention to how you feel on January 1 when it seems that everyone in the world is starting a diet--the urge to join them, sadness that diets never work for you long-term, frustrated that you’ve had a difficult time becoming a “normal” eater, glad that you’re eating better but disappointed that you haven’t lost as much weight as you wish you had (or any weight at all), still torn between practicing intuitive eating and following some restrictive plan, hopeless that anything you do will ever resolve your eating problems.

Observe your emotions, then consider what you can do to deal with them without dieting or committing to some fitness routine you’ve never stuck with before. Sit quietly, explore your feelings, and first off, soothe your emotions. Don’t make decisions according to how you feel right now. Instead, spend time using your critical thinking skills and the love you have for yourself to decide how you can really take care of your health all year long. What are small steps you could take? Name three. What are changes you really want to make (not feel you “should”)? Say no to diets and yes to loving yourself.

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