The New Year's Resolution You Can Keep: Ditch the Diet For Good

No sooner than the last Christmas presents have been unwrapped comes time for making New Year’s Resolutions.  After all, this time of year is about new beginnings, creating a fresh start after a rather turbulent year, and putting it all behind for good.  What better way to kick off the New Year than with a…DIET.

Wait, what?!

The four letter word that sounds like a regurgitation of self-loathing, guilt, and regret.  Because the perfect response to a season of indulgence naturally seems like dieting, and the notion of “eating clean” somehow signifies a method of wiping the slate in a New Year.  Enter diets: Atkins, juice cleanses, raw food, weight watchers, fitbits, south beach, ketogenic, low-fat, low-calorie, no-carbohydrates, the zone diet.  The list literally goes on forever.  For every problem, there seemingly is a diet solution that promises to fit the bill.  All you have to do is follow the rules, and you shall be rewarded.  

But there is only one problem…

DIETS DON’T WORK

The diet industry rakes in billions of dollars each year on the false premise of hope that baits so many people yearning for change, thinking that maybe just this one time, things will be different.

Therein lies the problem.  Diets are merely EXTERNAL rules - telling you when, where, how, what to eat, often leaving you hungry, tired, irritable, frustrated.  Meanwhile, your body’s most basic instincts are ignored and shunned.  Yes, you may see a difference in the scale after a few weeks or a shredded pant size or two - but at what cause?

Many diets often involve far too many unrealistic rules that are impossible to follow on a consistent basis.  Restricting certain foods or entire food groups leads to feelings of deprivation, which only create a vicious cycle of guilt and an utterly chaotic perspective with food.  Dieting almost always leads to a regain of weight that may have been lost plus additional pounds - speaking to the failed nature of the entire gimmick.  The worst part is that many people attempting to diet often translate their inability to do so as failure on their part - as though somehow, they were not “good enough” to succeed.  

Do yourself a favor this year, and make a resolution to NEVER diet again.  Throw out the rule books, the ball and chain that will only weigh you down and burden your ability to find the pleasurable aspects of nourishing your body.  Save yourself the time, energy, money and effort that is wasted in this guise of “change”.

Instead, commit to self-care, to actually taking the time to enjoy a meal with your loved ones more frequently, to put the effort into preparing food that you appreciate feeding your body and your family, to engage in movement that actually feels good and not punishing, to intentionally connect with others.  These are the types of changes that will propel you in the New Year toward a healthier you, without the baggage that comes with dieting.  Be kind to yourself, because you are deserving of such no matter what the season.  Now that is a resolution you can stand behind.
 

 

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”

Hai Borland
 

 

Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC

Crystal Karges Nutrition

Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC is a San Diego-based private practice dietitian helping others embrace their health for themselves and their loved ones.  Focusing on maternal/child health and eating disorders, Crystal creates the nurturing, safe environment that is needed to help guide individuals towards a peaceful relationship with food and their bodies.