Ugg… January is here! It really is “national dieting month” and even though I’ve tried to avoid “diet talk” as much as possible, I still hear friends, family, and clients talking about how they are going to be “good”, “eat clean”, “lose weight”, and “finally take control back”.
So if you know me, you know I’m all about creating a happy and healthy lifestyle. No diets needed! Dieting can increase disordered eating behaviors and habits, and also send you down a destructive relationship with food. So rather than diet, what can you do? Here are some ideas so you don’t have to diet and feel deprived. Rather live your life and feel fabulous about food!
1. Practice Your Intuitive Eating Skills. One of the best things you can do for yourself when everyone around you is trying to detox or go on the latest “New Years Resolution Diet” is practice your intuitive eating skills. Intuitive Eating is comprised of 10 principles that help you reject the diet mentality, honor your hunger and fullness signals, and improve your relationship with food and body image. Instead of removing foods from your diet this month, try adding in more healthful options and remind yourself that there is space for both apples and ice cream. Practice eating mindfully instead of restrictively by truly tuning into your body’s hunger and fullness signals. Finally, one of my favorite principles is “Challenge The Food Police” – which means that you practice saying ‘No’ to that voice in your head that tells you that you’re bad for not doing the detox that everyone at your office is doing, or good for skipping dessert at that party. Food is neither good or bad; food is just food and all foods fit into a healthy lifestyle!
2. Go for a daily walk. Gyms are notorious for their New Years Resolution marketing campaigns. If a gym is not for you, try the cheapest exercise on earth: WALKING. Taking a daily stroll for even just a few minutes/day can do wonders for your health. Start with 5 minutes and slowly work your way up! This is also a great way to manage stress levels. You can find a walking buddy in your neighborhood or at your office, walk your dog, or listen to your favorite podcast or music, all while improving your health and well-being.
3. Start a gratitude practice instead of “trying to change”. Unfortunately we connect “losing weight” to “being happier” when this simply isn’t true. Try to focus on what you have, right now! Actively thinking about what you are grateful for has been shown to reduce stress levels and increase happiness. Practice saying out loud one thing you are grateful for each day. Bonus if you can write it down or post on social media! Spread the word 🙂
Non-Diet Ideas for Health
I love these ideas to focus on health and well-being for the new year. All of these sound so much healthier than a diet!
- Go to a yoga class. Even better if you sign up for a class package!
- Try a new recipe and cook with your family
- Go grocery shopping and pick some new food items
- Eat out at a new restaurant
- Go on a hike
- Plan and BOOK a vacation!
- Go to bed 1 hour earlier tonight and get more rest
- Diffuse essential oils throughout your house or office
- Pick up a new book and read for 20 minutes each day
- Volunteer and give back to your community
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Jennifer is a Registered Dietitian and the owner of Eat With Knowledge in Nyack, NY. She is on a mission to help people heal from diets, and find peace and balance with their food choices. She leads a team of dietitians who support the philosophy, “Feel Fabulous about Food!”
Start your own healing by downloading her Free Stop the Cycle of Binge Eating guide or her Free Hunger – Fullness Scale.