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SATL LAKE CITY — The end of the year can make us feel all kinds of panicky about weight.
Every year, millions of people resolve to follow some type of restrictive diet to lose weight starting January 1. Most don't really consider the fact that 95 percent of those diets will fail long-term.
This year, I'm encouraging you to think outside the box with your New Year's resolutions. Pursuing weight loss just might not really be the greatest way to truly achieve health.
Ask yourself: "What has the pursuit of weight loss done for me? Has the cycle of dieting, restriction, deprivation, giving in, feeling guilty and recommitting brought me closer or further away from my best self?"
The key word here is pursuing. Losing weight in and of itself can be fine for many, but the pursuit of it tends to lead to less than ideal outcomes such as: weight gain, binge eating and even eating disorders.
Yo-yo dieting and weight cycling have been associated with greater incidence of diabetes, hypertension, insulin sensitivity and mortality.The on-again off-again nature of diets is not helpful long-term and likely does more harm than good.
Most people's own lived experiences of dieting and restriction would tell the same story: dieting leads to more self-loathing, less self-trust and long-term weight gain. Yet we are somehow still tempted by promises of "you'll be so much more lovable if you only lost weight."
It's a trap, run far away.
You don't have to go on a diet to be healthy (or lovable for that matter). In fact, if you want to be healthy, dieting is only going to make it harder to achieve the health you so desperately want.
Rather than pursuing weight loss this new year through another diet, why don't you make a resolution to take the very best care of yourself possible through learning how to provide your body what it needs?
Why don't you resolve to set aside a weekly trip to the grocery store to buy foods you need for meals and snacks?
Why don't you resolve to plan and prepare well-balanced meals at home more often?
Why don't you resolve to move your body each day in a way that feels life-enhancing?
Why don't you resolve to find a way to get a solid eight hours of sleep per night? Or, can you resolve to balance and organize all your commitments and stresses of life so that you can take adequate time to care for yourself?
This year, don't make another resolution that will take you further away from where you want to be health-wise. Focus your efforts on learning how to take the very best care of yourself possible. The best part is you can actually control (as opposed to the scale which is out of our control and fluctuates greatly on a day-to-day basis) how well you take care of yourself and you can see progress in improvements in behavior and lifestyle each and every day.