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Reminders for the New Year from a Nutritionist

Photo of a lit sparkler against a dark night sky
On New Year's Resolutions:

This New Year’s Eve I went to my parents’ house to celebrate. Getting together with the family to have a nice meal is a beautiful way to close out the year. This is also when we do all our New Year’s rituals. Maybe it’s a Mexican thing? If you and your family have similar (or different) rituals, I’d love to hear about them!

Our New Year’s Eve to-do list looks like this:
  • Wear something you haven’t worn before.

  • Wear red underwear.

  • Tie a yellow ribbon or string to a piece of your clothing.

  • Put cash inside your shoe.

And that’s all before midnight, when the clock strikes 12 (or 11, or 10 if we’re celebrating with a different time zone to get to bed a little earlier), it’s time for the midnight rituals:

  • Eat 12 grapes.

  • Spill water outside and sweep it away from you.

  • Throw 12 pennies backwards over your shoulder.

  • Take a suitcase outside and walk/run around with it.

Ok, I think that’s all of it. As you can see, there’s a lot to cover while celebrating. This is supposed to help with different things in the new year: love, money, luck, travel, etc. It’s tradition. We're typically the only ones running around outside with a suitcase on New Year's Eve on our block, we must look pretty funny to the neighbors! Another big tradition that I think many more people participate in is new year’s resolutions. Did you make any resolutions this year?

Why Do We Set New Years Resolutions?

There’s something about the fresh energy of a shiny new year that can encourage us to dream, and plan, and set goals. I think it can be fun and helpful to think about what we’d like to accomplish in the next year. If we don’t know what we want, if we don’t have goals, it’s pretty impossible to achieve them. Knowing your goals is the first step in setting up systems and action steps to eventually reach them.

I get it, I like a new beginning as well. I’ll share with you some of my resolutions in a second.

My Problem with Some New Year's Resolutions

You know what I hate? Diet culture. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Probably a lot.

Diet culture has completely infiltrated our society and so so many of the New Year resolutions I see have to do with diet culture. It’s not your fault, diet culture is everywhere and we’ve been taught that it’s desirable.

However, this is how we end up setting the same resolution of “losing weight” for 20 years in a row, feeling shitty about our bodies, damaging our relationship with food, and making our health worse.

This is because a smaller body for the sake of a smaller body has nothing to do with health, only appearance.

Body diversity is real, disease and health can exist in a body of any size. We cannot tell anyone’s health just by looking at them. (Our health is also nobody else’s business but our doctor’s.)

Let me be clear, what you do with your body is your business. I believe in body autonomy. What I am saying is that thinness is not a requirement for health. What I want to say is if you want to feel better and be healthier, then make changes around health-promoting behaviors. (Body size is not a behavior). If we do more health-promoting behaviors, research shows that we’ll see benefits to our health—independent of weight.

Diet Culture is Harmful

Diet culture causes harm in many ways. It glorifies thinness over health and encourages behaviors that can lead to disordered eating, eating disorders, shame, guilt, mental health issues, and more.

Still, it’s difficult to battle it. It is everywhere.

Some things that help me, are remembering that diet culture is promoting fatphobia and weight stigma, which are actually harmful to your health. Same with weight cycling. In the book, Fearing the Black Body, by Dr. Sabrina Strings, you can learn more about the historical context of fatphobia and racism. I really recommend this book as part of your unlearning about the supremacy of white, thin bodies.

What can we do?

I think New Year’s resolutions that are intentionally set outside of diet culture can be really great. I like focusing on physical and mental health, as well as including some ideas to help my emotional well-being. I also like setting some professional goals and some personal development goals. This year some my resolutions are:

  • Meditate daily.

  • Make art more often.

  • Blog more regularly and be more present on social media.

  • Practice more self-compassion.

  • Recognize perfectionism as it comes up and try to challenge it.

  • Spend more time with loved ones.

  • Learn to rollerblade.

More Ideas for Non-Diet New Year's Resolutions:
  1. Do not skip meals.

  2. Include carbs, fats, and proteins in most meals and snacks.

  3. Practice listening to your body’s needs.

  4. Read more books just for fun.

  5. Try a new recipe each week.

  6. Practice eating mindfully one meal a day.

  7. Learn about intuitive eating.

  8. Ask for help more often.

  9. Journal.

  10. Joyful physical movement.

  11. Call someone you love more often.

  12. Reduce negative self-talk.

  13. Take all your meds.

I hope some of these ideas resonate with you. If one of your resolutions is to become an intuitive eater or to better your health through nutrition without diets, you know where to find me! I’m also running an online group to go through the Intuitive Eating Workbook together, if you want to hear more about it (and get early bird pricing), you can join the waitlist here.

Happy New Year, now you know that one of my resolutions is to write here more often, so, until next time!

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