AUTHOR: Madeleine White, RD
Associate Dietitian at Nutrition Instincts
As we head into the New Year, the conversations, memes, and internet cracks inevitably shift from shaming oneself about eating all of the holiday goodies and a sad “winter-bod” joke to the New Year, New Me mentality where “THIS IS YOUR YEAR.” There’s a tv commercial, Facebook ad, or high school acquaintance on instagram that’s convinced us that come January 1st, we’ll “drop the weight” and somehow by next Christmas we’ll be rich, in love, and have it all. How the diet industry has managed to connect weight loss to love and wealth is beyond me…I guess with over 60 billion dollars you can get people to believe anything.
You’re going to be surrounded by people who soak up this fantasy. You may even find yourself believing in parts of it too, and that’s okay, these are some of the best marketers out there! If people aren’t actually talking to you about it, they’re posting about it, writing about it, conversing loudly at Starbucks about it. Not to mention the number of half-naked “before” photos that inundate your social media feed.
So…how do you continue YOUR journey of body image healing? It’s tougher this time of year, there’s no doubt about it. We are all impacted by the societal pressure to manipulate our bodies, personalities, or some part of whatever it is that’s “wrong” with us. Here’s what I like to do:
- Take a Social Media Hiatus. It’s fun to see all the family Holiday photos, but by January 30th you’re likely to have had your fill. Take a week or 10 days and tune out.
- With the extra time, start a new show, book series, or catch up on the 2019 best films of the year.
- Organize your space. Build the DIY decor piece that’s been on your Pinterest for months now. Head to your local thrift store and completely renovate an item you’ve always wanted to have.
- Brainstorm 1-3 New Years goals that will support you in succeeding in your career, managing stress, being more present, getting more sleep, practicing mindfulness, or healing your relationship with food and body.
Sometimes it’s most supportive to forego New Years Resolutions all together – that’s something I did for years and fully support. Recognizing where you are and if you’re really able to maintain healthy goals is incredibly brave. You have full permission to head into 2020 the same person you were at 11:59 pm on December 31st, 2019.
If you are ready to adopt some healthy, non-diet New Year’s resolutions, here are some ideas for you:
- Reach out to three leaders in your field and invite them to coffee
- Create a detailed road map for your next move
- Schedule a meeting with your boss or supervisor and discuss your 3-year plan. Let them know how they can best support you, and ask the same from them
- Write out your weekly tasks (divided into work, home, kids, self-care etc.) and create a time block calendar
- Explore your biggest stressors, and create boundaries. Does work follow you home? Incorporate a ritual when leaving the office each day: straighten up your desk, write the following day’s to-do list, turn off the lights, and silence your email notifications.
- Use January to schedule all of your appointments: annual physical, teeth cleanings, vet check-ups, kids’ shots. And just like your physical health needs tending to, so does your mental and emotional health. If you currently see a therapist regularly, be sure you’re still on that recurring schedule. If you’ve been looking to begin your mental-health journey, block out some time to do some discovery calls with a few that interest you. Schedule that massage or pedicure for March or April too, you’ll thank yourself in a few months for it 🙂
Being more present/Practicing Mindfulness
- Choose one mindful practice that you’d like to try and create a realistic monthly goal for it. For example: if you want to journal, choose one day the first week and add another day each week.
- Create phone-computer-time rules. If you live alone, this is totally up to you! If you live with a partner or family, discuss with them at what time the phones go silent for the evening.
- Get your free-trials on! There are tons of apps and subscription services out there aimed at mindfulness. Try a bunch of them and find what you like. I’m a huge fan of HeadSpace.
Healing your Relationship with Food and Body
- Clean out your social media. Delete or “hide” anyone that makes you feel ashamed of your body or how you feed and move it.
- Fill it back up! With body and non-body related themes that interest you: plants, non-diet professionals, thriller podcast pages, body activists, home designers, space and science, body-diverse fashion pages, and whatever else peaks your interest.
- Think it through, and write it out. Try this prompt:
- Take some time to think about where you are in this journey. Are you stuck in a diet mentality? Do you jump from diet to diet feeling the high of the newness only to crash in guilt and defeat a few weeks later? What, if any, feelings of shame or frustration arise surrounding your eating, exercise, and body?
- From there, determine where you want to be. What does life look like free from diet culture for you? What do you want to be able to do that your fears of eating, activity, and body shaming hold you back from?
- What do you need to support you in getting there? Do you need to take some time to read and research about Intuitive Eating, Health At Every Size, and diet culture? Do you need a professional to help you sort through it all? What kind of support groups are available for what you need?
I hope you find this post helpful in easing the pressures that the New Year always comes along with. Here at Nutrition Instincts, we understand how complex life makes healing to be, and we meet you wherever you’re at. If the food and body image healing especially stuck out to you, give us a call or learn more about our intuitive eating group starting in January 2020.
Wishing you all a happy holiday season, and a bright New Year.
Maddie White, an eating disorder and diabetes care provider at Nutrition Instincts is passionate about helping others restore their relationships with food, body, and mind. Maddie also works as a clinical dietitian in a local San Diego Acute Care Hospital and previously managed youth programing at the American Diabetes Association for San Diegans living with type 1 diabetes. Maddie believes intuitive eating holds a space for everyone and every body. By taking an individual approach with each client, Maddie walks alongside her clients as they learn the best way to navigate your journey to food and body freedom. Interested in working with Maddie? Schedule a clarity call today!