Sorry not sorry, but you’re not going to be able to undo what you did this fall, no matter how hard you try in January. And frankly, I don’t think you should feel guilty about the past months anyway. I’m sure you’ve seen the advertisements for all of the gyms, all of the equipment, all of the meal plans, and all of the diet pills bombarding your screens to make you question your physical form and self-worth. How do those messages make you feel? Guilty? Regretful? Upset? If you think you have to apologize for existing, we’ve got some big things (and it's not a number on a scale) to work through. Just like last month was Santa’s big scene, this is the weight loss industry’s big scene. Recent studies show that 45 percent of Americans resolved to lose weight for the new year. In actuality, only 8 percent truly achieve this goal.
With such a small number of people seeing success, yet such a high portion seeking this goal, I think it’s time we start to unpack why so many people are making this their first thought when making a resolution. We are often our own harshest critic, and that’s what the weight loss companies hope for. It’s the mission of the diet industry to make you question how you feel about yourself because there is no money in it for them otherwise. Total revenue for weight-loss companies was two billion dollars in 2018. That’s a lot of unhappy people.
First of all, if diets worked, we wouldn’t have to go on so many of them. It’s so easy to say you’re giving up fast food for the new year, be “going really strong” for the first 16 days, and then be on the verge of throwing up your burger and fries on day 17. So often, there is no room for failure in people’s plans. It’s all or nothing. Messed up on one day? Well fuck it, I’m a disgusting piece of shit, and I ruined my diet/year. No one benefits from that mental beatdown. If changing the way you eat is something you’re going to strive for, start small.
Certified nutritional therapist, Diane Teall Evans, agrees. “That all-or-nothing, perfectionist attitude is often why new habits fail. Don't underestimate the small steps! For example, for my nutrition clients who are used to dining out for most meals, we focus on prepping one meal consistently.”
So often, there is no room for failure in people’s plans. It’s all or nothing.
Unless we’re speaking of those individuals at the ends of the body-size bell curve, the scale is really a useless tool in tracking your health and fitness. It isn’t your life’s purpose to lose weight. Working toward goals that bring you joy, now that’s where the real transformation takes place. Simply stated, do more of what brings you joy. If you like to play beach volleyball, go do that! If you like to play on the beach with your rescue dog (umm call me), go do that! Chances are that once you start doing more of the things you love, you will start seeing changes. You’ll be happier and healthier in a way that isn’t reflected in a scale. And remember to celebrate the small things. It’s totally fine to have a big goal, like finishing a 10K, but that doesn’t mean you get to disregard all of the little steps it takes to get there. You made it for a walk around the block, amazing! No more goals on how you look or how much you weigh. Why is it that you think you need to lose weight? What do you think your weight is holding you back from?
There is this belief that happiness, success and sexuality are things that only skinny people get to experience. Surprise, everyone is worthy and deserving regardless of what they look like. This is not a sweeping generalization that everyone needs to love their body right now. It’s not all dark chocolate and orgasms. If you aren’t in a place where you can say you like your body, you have to start with body neutrality. This is the vessel that is carrying you through life, and you only get one. You can absolutely make changes to your body, but try to make sure they’re coming from a non-hateful place.
And remember, there is no quick fix to achieving your physical goals. I don’t care what the advertisements said. Just like it took you a long time to arrive at wherever you are, it’s going to take time for any kind of change to takes place.
“Every body is different. It's important to find what is right for you versus what everyone else is doing. Just because your neighbor is raving about Keto does not mean it will be right for your body's unique needs,” says Teall Evans. “People often feel catalyzed during the new year because it’s a fresh calendar, but truly, any kind of transformation can take place at any time.”