Happy new year from our team at Doughp!
With the fresh, sparkly, new year upon us, you’re probably thinking about what you’ll resolve to do in 2023. And if you’re like most of us, that means you’ve made some new year’s resolutions to help yourself be healthier in the coming year.
That’s awesome! After all, what do we have if we don’t have our health? We only get this one body and taking good care of it makes all the difference, especially as we get older.
But there’s a dark side to health-focused new year’s resolutions. They can sometimes lead to changes in your relationship with food. Even as you’re trying to boost your wellness, you could be developing some unhealthy habits and thought patterns.
When resolutions mean restriction
What, specifically, did you resolve to do this year? Look at your resolutions and decide if they add something to your life or take something away.
If your resolution is something like “eat a piece of fruit every day” or “learn one new recipe a month,” that’s great! But if it’s limiting, be careful. Cutting back on calories or pursuing intentional weight loss isn’t always dangerous — but it can be.
If your health-based new year’s resolution has to do with reducing something, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Think big-picture. Do you want to stop eating so much sugar because you want to replace sugary foods with whole, nutrient-dense ones? Or did you get food shamed into this decision?
Do you want to lose weight because it would allow you to be more active? Or are you trying to fit into a diet-culture mold that society may have prescribed to you?
Ultimately, we want to remind you of two very important things:
First, you’re awesome JUST the way you are! If you want to focus on self-improvement in 2023, more power to you. But don’t force yourself into making resolutions that totally change who you are. Instead, we encourage you to focus on how you truly want to feel. You could resolve to practice radical self-love regularly or to achieve body neutrality this year.
Secondly, here’s your reminder that all food is good food. Calories are good. You literally need them to live. Fat is one of the essential nutrients, and sugars give your cells fuel to use. Labeling foods as good and/or bad assigns them a moral value that often leads to shame cycles around eating — ultimately affecting mental health.
Before you resolve to eat healthy by cutting out certain foods — or by cutting back your food intake in general — check in with your body about what it really needs. A life full of restrictions, especially when it comes to food, is both not enjoyable and not sustainable.
Other ways to have a healthier 2023
This is definitely not supposed to rain on your healthy-living parade! In fact, taking good care of yourself is pretty much the most important work you can do. We just want you to be careful before you walk down a road that can lead to eating disorders like orthorexia, body dysmorphia, and giving up things you love.
Instead of diet-focused resolutions, we have a few other suggestions for healthy resolutions:
If you’re struggling with your relationship with food or your body, you’re not alone
Nearly 30 million Americans will develop an eating disorder in their lifetime and even more have experienced body shame. Thankfully, there are folks who are here to help and guide you on your path to recovery.
Eating Recovery Center provides a comprehensive, evidenced-based, and individualized approach to healing from disordered eating.
Virtual support groups facilitated by clinicians provide opportunities to receive professional support while sharing experiences with peers.
The Body Recovery Group can help you to recover, reclaim, and heal your relationship with your body through free peer support and a community of like-hearted people.
CorpoREALITY, a group focused on body neutrality, is a great space to learn about challenging the toxic constructs of diet culture.
Here’s to an amazing 2023 together! You don’t need to spend it counting calories. In fact, you can — and should — reward yourself for the progress you make this year with something you really love, like cookie dough.