Saying Goodbye (& good riddance) to 2020
The year 2020 was hard for many of us, but I hope that we can find some glimmers of positivity from this past year. Let us start by focusing on these 10 non weight-loss related intentions for the new year.
For my family, we were able to reassess and take time to figure out what our priorities are. To be able to slow down and not feel the constant pressure to go, go, go.
I was able to finally move forward with my dream of opening my nutrition private practice. I feel so honored and blessed to be able to focus my business on helping others who struggle with chronic dieting and disordered eating.
So, while there were many crazy happenings in 2020, I am doing my best to let it serve as a period when we were able to learn and grow in many ways.
The problem with weight loss resolutions
As we head into the year 2021, I know that you *may* be thinking about (or feeling pressured to) make some ‘New Year’s Resolutions.’
When you hear ‘New Year’s Resolutions,’ what is the first thing that comes to mind?
I’m willing to bet that it involves weight loss. We have almost been conditioned to set some kind of weight loss goal each new year. As if this is the only time of the year that we are able to ‘reset’ and “finally” get our life in order. And that ‘getting our life in order’ or becoming ‘healthier’ is solely based in weight loss.
But, let’s take a moment and think back to all of the previous years when that was a goal we set. How did it go? How did we end up feeling?
Did we end up feeling defeated yet again? Or maybe we lost some weight and plateaued? Or maybe we lost some weight only to gain it back again?
Basically, the question is: Was there ever a year where we focused on weight loss that made us feel truly better in the long run?
What if there was another way?
What if there was a way to set an intention for improving your overall HEALTH this year? What if there was a way to truly focus on what makes you and your body feel better and actually improve your health and wellness?
The solution: Improving our health with New Year’s intentions
I would encourage you to consider setting New Year’s Intentions that are NOT weight loss focused. And to instead focus on your overall health & wellbeing.
My focus is to encourage healthy behaviors and your weight on the scale is not a behavior.
To get you started, I have 10 non weight-loss related intentions for the new year in 2021:
1) Stay hydrated and drink more water
I am often asked how much water we ‘should’ be drinking each day. I’m sure many of us have heard the “8 8-oz glasses of water” each day as the standard. However, if you look at the research that suggestion is based on, it was referring to all water consumption, including what’s in food.
It would be pretty difficult for the general population to determine the ‘perfect’ amount of water each person needs. Each person is different in the kinds of foods they choose to eat, water content in those foods varies and everyone perspires differently.
My suggestion is to learn how to focus more on your body and how you feel. Learn what your body feels like when it is properly hydrated vs. dehydrated. The easiest test would be to observe the color of your urine. If it is light yellow or clear, you’re good to go! (pun intended).
2) Get more sleep each right
Sounds so easy, right?
On average, adults need about 6-8 hours of sleep per night (your mileage may vary).
Do you know many people (including yourself) who get this amount? I know, I don’t do get enough sleep regularly and it is something I am working on in 2021!
Some tips and ideas for better sleep:
- No screen time 1-2 hours before bed (Read a book, to do lists, journal, chase kids, etc.)
- Wear an eye mask
- Bluetooth speaker version (*)
- Regular mask (*)
- Use earplugs (*)
- Listen to meditation
- I like Calm and Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson
- Try melatonin (*) (after discussing with your doctor)
- Try the Hatch Restore sound machine (*)
3) Clean up your social media & follow more diverse bodies
Go through all of the accounts you follow on social media. Do you follow a lot of accounts with ‘perfect’ bodies? Or accounts that are pushing perfect eating, perfect exercising, etc?
I think we know by now that perfection is a myth.
Each person is unique and even if we ate and exercised the exact same way, we still would have different bodies.
I encourage you to unfollow any accounts that make you feel inferior. Find accounts that focus on health promoting behaviors AND body diversity.
Here are some accounts to check out:
- Shameless plug for my Instagram 😉
- Body image with Bri
- Body image therapist
- Body positive dietitian
- Kristina Bruce
- Tally Rye
- Meg Boggs
I could probably go on for ever, but this is a good list to get you started!
4) Focus on your mental health & stress relief
As with any intention or goal, they need to be realistic. I would first suggest becoming aware of what things are causing you stress or are affecting your mental health. Are there realistic changes or adjustments that can be made?
What are you doing for self care? And I don’t just mean the random mani-pedi or hot bath; those are just part of normal hygiene, yet we act like they are the only self care women need?!
Would talk therapy be beneficial? Are you doing movement/exercise that helps you feel better and relieves stress and tension? Is meditation or prayer something that helps you start your day in a better mindset?
5) Focus on finding ways to move that you enjoy
Most times, and especially during the New Year, exercise and movement are talked about only in connection to weight loss. However, I encourage you to change your perspective when it comes to movement/exercise.
Start to think about what kinds of movement your body enjoys. What feels good?
Some people love to run because it’s a great stress reliever (I’m not one of those people due to a bum knee). Others loves to dance. I personally love to walk, do yoga and lift weights/do body weight exercises.
The key is to change your ‘why,’ change your perspective (doesn’t have to be ‘traditional’ exercise) and be flexible. Didn’t get to move today? That’s okay, you can try again tomorrow. Starting to feel like you can’t eat certain foods unless you move that day? Start to reassess your reasonings behind feeling that way.
6) Limit your screen time
Look, don’t laugh. I know this one will seem a bit crazy considering that our lives are currently revolving around screens as the only way to communicate. And as with any suggestion I make, I encourage you to make it realistic for YOU.
For myself, this simply means that I try not to spend too much time on screens that isn’t necessary or preventing me from being present with my family.
So, think about what this would look life for your lifestyle and whether there is anything you would like to change.
7) Allow yourself to rest
Now, this is one that I have been working on for several months already. I struggle with actually allowing my body AND my mind to rest. I often feel pressure (from myself) to always be ‘doing something’ or being ‘productive.’
But, I soon realized this pressure was coming from my own unrealistically high expectations.
I believe in mantras, so trying one could be helpful. Even if it’s just something simple like: “I am allowed to rest.”
8) Try some new recipes
This is one that I am obviously a fan of trying! I don’t mean going on Pinterest and feeling like you have to try ALL.THE.RECIPES.
I mean maybe finding one new recipe every week or month to add to your rotation of recipes.
Maybe it’s familiar ingredients with different seasonings. Maybe it’s something completely outside of your norm. Whatever would help you to branch out and find a new favorite recipe or food.
9) Find ways to add more fruits and vegetables
I am a big supporter of finding things that you can ADD to what you eat instead of taking things away.
Instead of focusing on what you think you ‘shouldn’t’ be eating, focus on all the things you can add!
Just as with all things, flexibility is important here as well. You can add fruits and vegetables if it is something that sounds good or you know will make your body feel better. BUT, what you don’t want is to feel pressured to add these things or start to judge yourself for not adding them.
For example, maybe one week you add some spinach and mushrooms to your spaghetti, but one week you just do sauce and noodles. Neither choice is better than the other, they are just different and variety is good!
10) Start your Intuitive Eating journey
Of course, my #1 wish for everyone in 2021 is that they would be ready to start their Intuitive Eating journey.
Starting the journey to healing your relationship with food and your body is honestly the least we can do for ourselves after surviving the year 2020?!
I hope these 10 non-weight-loss-related intentions for the new year have inspired you.
So, tell me: What are YOUR New Year’s Intentions for 2021?
PS – If you haven’t already, be sure to join my FREE Facebook group because I also shared a video talking about Non-Weight Loss Related Intentions for the New Year!