Heading into the New Year, weight loss and get fit advertisements are everywhere, as are New Year’s resolutions that involve changing weight and shaping the body. Spurred on by the diet industry’s compelling messages, you may be tempted to rush into resolutions and rigid rules to finally get the weight off…this time.
But what if this year, instead of making resolutions to lose weight, you decided to set your intentions to take care of yourself differently? To give yourself more of what you really need?
Instead of setting yourself up for the deprivation-driven eating that’s generated by eliminating bread, cutting out desserts, and trying to never eat Brie cheese again, what would happen if you slowed down and thoughtfully looked at the bigger picture of why you may be struggling with eating and weight.
Perhaps you’ve been too busy at work and over-committed with projects. And as a result, you’re not getting to the grocery store, or making time for breakfast, or eating as mindfully as you’d like. Or maybe, though you’re meeting everyone else’s needs, you haven’t found time for your walk or a decent night’s sleep. Possibly, you’ve needed to use food to relieve stress, to push down anger, or to comfort or reward yourself.
Perhaps if you were able to take mindfully good care of yourself, you would not need to use food to help you through the day or to reward yourself at night.
Recognizing what’s depleting you, what’s getting in the way of caring for yourself, and what difficult feelings are there to be felt allows you to set your intentions wisely.
You could set an intention to ask for help or to delegate more often, or to say no, or at least “I’ll get back to you,” whenever possible. Or you could schedule appointments for yourself on your calendar for a weekly walk, a weekend nap, a monthly telephone call with a good friend, a consultation with a therapist, or an overdue vacation.
Focusing on what’s really needed -- instead of what you shouldn’t be eating -- enables you to care for yourself more effectively. And changing how you care for yourself will help bring your weight back into balance naturally. So this New Years, instead of making resolutions to dive into rigid healthy eating, dieting, and deprivation, consider setting your intentions to give yourself what you really need, not only to have a good year, but also to have an empowered, fulfilling, and healthier life.
Sometimes this does not seem like enough, but as author David R. Hawkins has said, “Simple kindness to one's self and all that lives is the most powerful transformational force of all.”
Adapted from New Year’s Resolutions or Self-Care Intentions? by Karin Kratina and Amy Tuttlle