December can be a hard time for people. There’s the stress of the holiday season. The cumulative exhaustion of the year weighing down on you. Retail fatigue getting everyone down. Personally, even while continuing to eat intuitively and getting some exercise, I find it hard to feel healthy during this time of year because this is the “end” of the year and I kind of just feel done.
So I understand that need to want to hit the reboot button at the beginning of the new year. To strive to feel better, eat better, be fitter. Maybe even liking ourselves better. And frankly, there’s nothing wrong with that desire.
And you’re not on a diet now. Of course you’re not; it’s December, it’s the holiday season, there’s yummy food everywhere, you’re enjoying it, it’s the end of the year and not the time to start something new, etc. etc. etc.
But over the year, some unfruitful seeds have been planted. An ad mentioned getting a “beach body.” A workplace had a “Biggest Loser” contest and someone won $500 for losing the most weight. Oprah made a shitload of money from investing in Weight Watchers, and also, she lost a few pounds.
So while most people probably aren’t thinking about starting a diet for weight loss right now…they are planning it for January. In their heads, they are already starting the diet now.
The diet industry counts on this. They are laying low right now, saving their pennies for the weight loss ads that will pour forth from our TVs, radios, streaming services, and social media platforms come the new year. They will make a lot of money by selling a product that doesn’t work and then blaming the buyer for its lack of success. Even though the probability of 95% of people being to blame for a product not working has to be somewhere around zero. They make $60 billion a year and they barely even bother to advertise in December!
There are a million ways to improve your health and none of them have to involve intentional weight loss diets that don’t work in the long term. In fact, probably the unhealthiest thing anyone can do is try to diet for weight loss, because the most reliable long-term outcome of dieting for weight loss is weight re-gain. Is this really what you want? I didn’t think so.
Those things you can do if pursuing better health is your goal for the new year? Here are a few suggestions: You can eat nourishing foods; you can aim for more fruits and vegetables in your diet; you can learn to savor the foods you eat; you can learn to expand your palette to accept new foods. You can heal your relationship to food and your body if it needs healing. You can move more, maybe learn to love physical activity for the first time. You can discover that exercise isn’t just in a gym, sometimes it’s dancing in your living room or walking down the street or cleaning your home. You can broaden your network of social support. You can give yourself a break when you need it. You can realize that you’re already great, just as you are, without having to change your shape and size.
The diet doesn’t have to begin now, or ever. You can do all those healthy things without handing over one cent to the diet industry, who won’t give you a refund if they fail to help you achieve your goal in becoming thin forever. Don’t let those diet seeds leave you with unsavory fruit. Grow something real for yourself instead.