It is the New Year! Time to join in on the latest diet trend that will guarantee us the body we desire and in turn, make us happy.
Did you read that and agree? If so, keep on reading because I am speaking to you. If you rolled your eyes at that (which I hope), keep reading as well because you might see a bit of yourself in me.
I do love the New Year because it feels like renewal, a chance to reset and get our minds focused on new goals. Everything feels possible. As such, I used to always make some sort of diet or exercise goals. I have always been unsatisfied with either my weight or muscle tone or whatever I dictated that year needed to be about.
no more diet madness
This year, as I evaluated my goals, none of them had to do with my physical looks, other than maybe trying to get rid of some wrinkles #thisis45. No weight goals, no size goals. Any goals I have for myself are all based on my health. Healing my gut from SIBO, supporting my thyroid and just wanting to feel good, strong and full of energy are all at the top of my list. If weight loss or body composition changes come from focusing on those things, so be it.
As I reflected on my goals, I started making a list of all the diets I have done in my life. Holy sh*t. It’s a lot. It is so much time wasted on shaming my body for what it wasn’t instead of everything it is. See if you can figure out what these have in common-
- “Enteman’s Diet”– age 17- this was the low-fat craze or “eat an entire box of cookies because they are fat free” diet. This was also the phase I yelled at my mom for putting butter on my bread at dinner. Sorry mom.
- Cabbage Soup Diet– age 20- I did this diet for a couple weeks before spring break of my sophomore year of college. I would like to apologize to my roommates for the stench of cabbage. And for being a generally unpleasant person during that time.
- Weight Watchers– ages 21, 27, 32- I kept going back to WW, as it’s now called, because it was the most doable and it did teach me how to read labels and some good portion control when I thought I needed that tool.
- Body for Life– age 25- I did this diet to get “wedding ready” before I walked down the aisle. This diet was a low-fat, high protein, 12-week weight-lifting program. I remember eating fat free yogurt mixed with cottage cheese every morning because the book said so. I greatly dislike cottage cheese but yes, I will eat it every day if it means looking fab on my wedding day. Eye roll.
- Atkins diet– age 28- I think I lasted 4 days. I love carbs.
- Hitch Fix– age 39- This program was from a local trainer who was a body builder. He trained others to be body builders and bikini competitors, neither of which I wanted to be. This program was a completely stringent diet consisting of plain oatmeal, egg whites, chicken breast, broccoli and a couple tablespoons of peanut butter a day. The workout schedule was pretty grueling as well with weights and cardio 6 days week. I did learn to love lifting weights during this time period so that is a positive.
- Intermittent Fasting– age 43- I did a specific online diet focused on IF and macro counting 2 years ago. I don’t believe that IF is a bad thing. It’s great to give your digestion a break. However, when I was STARVING at 10am somedays and knew I “couldn’t” eat until noon, something seemed a little off to me. This diet also involved tracking every macro (protein, fat, carbs) every day. I quickly became so concerned about the portion sizes I was eating and measuring food that all joy was quickly sucked out of any body composition changes I experienced. This was not at all healthy for me.
diets are all the same
So what do all of these diets have in common? None of them are focused on trusting your body to know what it needs. If you have lived a life of constantly denying your body’s cues and only eating what a trainer or diet dictates, it is hard to know what your body is telling you. For example, If you are truly hungry at 10am, then eat. If you don’t like egg whites, why are you eating them? Your body is telling you something there. Listen to it. Honor her. There is nothing wrong with having a realistic weight or vanity goals as long as your relationship with food is a healthy one and not one of crazy restriction. (if you want to dive a little deeper, check out Jessie Golden, who coaches women to heal their relationship with food).
I share this with you to encourage you to approach the new year a little differently and set goals that has nothing to do with your weight. It’s a hard one to let go of, I know.
The best thing I did was to stop weighing myself. I can tell how I am doing by my energy levels and how my clothes are fitting. And honestly, Right now, they are all tight but I am not stressing about it. Everything is temporary. It’s taken me a long time to adopt this mindset and all the work is worth it.
We owe it to ourselves to stop the diet madness and to have a healthy relationship with food and exercise. I want to be truly present with my family at mealtimes instead of preoccupied with how many fat grams are on my plate. Focusing on a colorful, balanced plate is way more fun. So is eating gluten free cookies without guilt.