With the New Year here, it is inevitable that many of us get excited about the opportunity for a fresh start and another chance to achieve those unfulfilled resolutions.

If you’re a female aged between 8 and 80, living in Western society then it’s likely you’ve thought about losing weight. It’s also likely that you’re aware of the overabundance of products and plans promising quick fix solutions.

However, you’ve probably also realised that these products not only don’t work, but they actually bank on the repeat business that results from their failure. Dieting is not only a waste of money but in 95% of cases any weight loss is short term, dieting in fact leads to weight regain in the long term.

If you really want to improve your health this year, make a promise to yourself to invest in practises that foster, rather than hinder, your physical and emotional health.

Here’s a starting point that many clients find helpful:

  1. Ditch the scales: swap weight loss goals for other more helpful measures such as improving energy levels, nourishing your body and engaging in joyful movement.
  2. Choose self care over punishment and deprivation: If you want to make healthy choices, it is more helpful to do this from a place of self care than punishment. Instead of punishing yourself with exercise you hate and restricting your food intake in the short term only to rebound with binge eating and weight regain, perhaps you’d like to try some of these self care ideas instead:
    • Bring lunch to work more often
    • Think and speak positive about your body
    • Reduce caffeine intake (might help your budget too!)
    • Engage in movement you enjoy (as opposed to for the purpose of calorie burning or punishment)
    • Make homemade meals more often
  3. Resolve to never diet again: we know diets don’t work, evidence clearly shows this. Instead of starting another weight loss diet and only blaming yourself when it (inevitably) doesn’t work, resolve to learn how to understand your body; this may include what we call ‘intuitive eating’. Intuitive eating is a nutrition philosophy based around becoming more attuned to the body’s natural hunger, rather than following another meal plan.
  4. Count your blessings instead of calories: the act of practising gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Instead of always wanting more and never feeling satisfied, practice appreciating what you have in your life.
  5. Commit to always remembering that ‘healthy’ is far more than simply the calories you eat, the amount of exercise you do or the amount you weigh.

Written by Centre For Integrative Health Dietitian, Kate Pollard.