I realize that it seems like I’m a little late to the game with this one, but just because January is almost over doesn’t mean that our long-term goals aren’t important anymore, right? Perhaps yours have already been tossed out the window, or maybe you’re still humming and hawing about the best way to keep yourself motivated? Either way, I think this post is for you.
First off, I have to be honest and say that I’ve been delaying this post over the past couple weeks because I’ve felt like I have to say something meaningful about the fact that it’s January. Because, you know…everyone cares about nutrition in January. Unfortunately, I think people often care about nutrition in January for the wrong reasons. Here’s the thing: changing what you eat isn’t going to change your life this month. At least not all at once. Nutrition also might not be the thing you need to focus on right now. At least not in a typical “new year’s resolution” sense.
January provides the feeling of a new beginning and a clean slate. I love this, and I think we all do. This might be why everyone and their cat starts dieting in January — it provides the opportunity to re-start that checklist. The thing about healthy eating, though, is that it’s really not a task or a to-do list item. Healthy eating is more of a skill, (so it’s okay that it takes time to practice).
You know what else is a skill? Running. Do you know anyone who decided that they wanted to run a marathon, so they just went out and did it? Casually tied their running shoes, walked out the door, and jogged until they’d run 42.2 kilometres? I don’t. People don’t do that. People either a) don’t run because they don’t want to, or b) they start with a plan that encourages them to start by running just 30 seconds at a time (with LOTS of walking in between). Generally, we find this socially acceptable; people can just do other forms of physical activity, and we don’t blink an eye at it. For some reason, though, there’s much less grace when it come to eating. It’s either you’re PERFECT, or you’ve given up on yourself. This is just not true, and it really really really saddens me to see people beat themselves up when they feel like they’re not performing 100% on the way that they eat.
I’m not saying that what you eat doesn’t matter, but I will say that you are more capable than you think. No need to do a sugar detox or buy a portion-defined meal plan…just take it one baby step at a time.
My challenge to you is to pick one or two things that are really important to you this month (what’s left of it!), and then reassess in a few weeks. Reassessing allows you to ask yourself if you’re ready to add something new, or if you benefit from breaking down a goal that isn’t working so great. Either way, persistence is key. Cheesy as it sounds, we all get closer to where we’re going by putting one foot in front of the other. To help you get started, I’ve compiled a couple lists of non-diet new years resolutions.
Some of My Non-Diet New Years Resolutions for 2018
- Decrease time spent in front of a screen (so far I’ve been spending more time reading, playing Scrabble with my husband, and going to bed on time)
- Increase time spent outside (also helps with #1)
- Gossip less
- Give more compliments
- Drink a little less coffee and a little more herbal/green tea (coffee makes me jittery sometimes, and I’d rather get my energy from sleep than caffeine if I can)
- Wake up a little earlier, so mornings are more relaxed
Additional Non-Diet New Years Resolutions to Consider
- Practice gauging your portion sizes on your hunger and fullness cues rather than cultural expectations or diet rules
- Go to sleep when you feel tired
- Eat without distractions
- Learn to cook more plant-based proteins like beans and lentils
- Pursue positive movement: try something new for physical activity
- Learn to be okay with not exercising when it feels like a chore (this is self care too!)
- Bring a packed lunch to work
- Practice deep breathing
(yoga and the app Headspace are great for this)
- Read a book every month or two
- Plan your meals based on whats in your fridge and cupboards to decrease your food waste
- Read before bed
- Have a fruit or vegetable with meals
(meals without fruit and vegetables are okay too sometimes – hellooo fettuccine alfredo!)
- Learn to make some of your favourite restaurant meals at home
- Try a new recipe each week
- Practice stretching before bed, or when you wake up
- Try a new vegetable or fruit once a week/month/trip to the grocery store
- Buy a reusable water bottle
(one that you like, so you’ll actually use it 😉 )
- Charge your phone outside of your bedroom
- Park a little farther away rather than searching for a spot – embrace the opportunity to make walking part of your commute
If you’re still considering dieting, ask yourself these questions…
Is this diet allowing me to work toward long-term change? For example, most diets require measuring, weighing, or specifically portioning your food. Otherwise, they’ll have lists of foods that are specifically off limits. Do you see yourself still doing these things in 6 months? How about 5 years? If not, why? What skills do you really need in the meantime?
If you’re interested in learning more about nutrition and growing a healthy relationship with food, I’d love to come alongside you. Learn more about working with me, or contact me with any questions you might have.