Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Anti-Resolution Revolution

So, I was going to type up this whole post about how New Year's diet resolutions don't work (because diets in general don't work, so why the hell would they work just because it's the start of a new calendar year?!), but then I stumbled upon this fantastic article in which two anti-diet sisters (both of whom are Licensed Clinical Social Workers and authors) discuss this very issue, so I thought I would just share it rather than rephrase everything they said.

And, below, I will share a few of my resolutions (which aren't really resolutions, per se, because these are things I am already working on, and will probably continue to work on for my entire life) that are related to food, my body, and my health. You might find these helpful for you as well.

Be Kind to Your Body
Our inner dialog regarding our bodies can be considered downright abusive at times. Looking at yourself in the mirror and pointing out all your imperfections is counterproductive and depressing...if you hate everything about your body, why would you treat it nicely? Try pointing out all the things you love about your body, even if it's just that your legs function well enough to get you from A to B (which, I can tell you after having 2 hip surgeries, is not something to be taken for granted!). Buy clothing that actually fits you, not something too tight in the hopes that you'll lose the weight. Being comfortable in your clothes will help you feel comfortable in your body. Try to focus on how different things make your body feel. Do you feel refreshed after going for a walk or sweating in the gym? Are you more energized and alert after eating a well-balanced meal? If you focus on how you feel after doing these things, rather than just doing them because you're supposed to, you might find yourself participating in these healthy activities more often. Love your body enough to make it feel the best it can feel.

I plan to love myself more in 2012. I will practice positive self-talk, and I will seek activities that make me feel good in my own skin.

Listen to Your Hunger
This means eating when you're hungry, and stopping when you're satisfied. Try to check in with your body every once in a while to gauge your hunger level. You might find that you're hungry at unusual times when you wouldn't normally allow yourself to eat, such as an hour or two after you've just eaten...just go with it! Trust that your body knows when it's time to eat again. If you don't listen, you might let it get so bad that by the time you eat, you're ravenous, and you'll scarf down whatever's available! And that's another thing...when you're eating, eat slowly so that you'll start to feel it when you're satisfied.

I still struggle with this. Sometimes I let myself get too hungry, and then I eat really fast and go past my point of being satisfied, and by the time I realize it, it's too late. This year, I hope to be more in touch with my hunger signals. I will honor these signals by eating when my body tells me to, and stopping when I'm satisfied.

Be Here Now
I had to participate in this "Cultural Transforation Retreat" for work, and while my co-workers thought that it was a little hokey, and joked about "drinking the Kool-Aid", one of the concepts I actually really liked was the mantra to "Be Here Now." In other words, try to live in the moment, instead of letting your mind race and think about everything else you need to accomplish. I tend to be a planner, and I think there's something to be said for planning (buying certain ingredients so you can cook a nice, well-balanced meal, for example, takes some planning), but if you're constantly thinking about what you need to do in the future, then you'll never really enjoy where you are or what you're doing in the present. This concept can be applied to food and eating as well. When you're eating, try to be present. Really taste the food, feel the texture in your mouth. Turn off the TV and really focus on what you're doing. Besides making the eating experience more enjoyable, you might also find that focusing on the act of eating will help to cue you in to when you're satisfied, because the intensity of pleasure from eating will diminish as you approach satiety (and when the food stops tasting good, you should stop eating it!).

This is something I will probably have to work on for my entire life. Maybe this year I will attempt to take up meditation as the ultimate "Be Here Now" activity. The thought of it kind of terrifies me...which probably means I would really benefit from it!

So, those are my "resolutions", if you really want to call them that. The most important resolution I can propose is NOT to make a resolution, especially one that has to do with dieting! They don't work, despite what your family, friends, and co-workers might tell you, so resist the urge and join the Anti-Resolution Revolution! ;-)

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