The Full Mind Weigh™ to Lifelong Weight Management, a program of the Institute for Lifelong Weight Management – teaching you the skills you need to keep the weight off forever!
It’s that time again – when we start thinking about our “New Year’s Resolutions”. Millions of people resolve to start a diet or to start exercising on January 1st each and every year. As we all know, resolutions don’t last long for most of us!
There are many reasons why resolving to start a diet on January 1st is a bad idea, and why this simply doesn’t work.
- Thinking like this gives us permission to continue overindulging for the duration of the holiday season, since we’ve “resolved to start the diet on January 1st”.
- January 1st is still part of the holiday season – for many of us it’s a day for celebrations, gatherings with family and friends, spending time at the mall since many people don’t work on January 1st, or recovering from the excesses of the night before! As a result, it’s very likely that we won’t actually start the diet on January 1st. We may even decide to put it off for a few days until the kids go back to school a few days later, until we return home from visiting family or from vacation, until we go back to work, until we finish up the holiday treats that are still in the house (or the food gifts that people gave to us)….and you can see where this is going: we don’t start, we may feel guilty, we may beat ourselves up, and then we may continue to eat badly in an effort to make ourselves “feel better”…then we feel worse, and the cycle of emotional eating continues.
- Resolving to start a diet or exercise program on January 1st often leaves us feeling overwhelmed in terms of not knowing quite where or how to start. It’s much more productive to start with one small change, and then build on that.
- Resolving to “start a diet” or “start working out” is too vague. Vague goals don’t work. SMART goals do work – goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant (to our underlying values), and Timely (they have a time frame attached).
- There’s no preparation involved, and there needs to be. How do you prepare for any change? By gathering the necessary tools and information. For example, if your SMART goal is to eat 5 servings of produce each day, your preparation might include: cleaning out the refrigerator (making space), grocery shopping, finding healthy recipes, making sure you have something to cook them in and something to carry them to work in, and so on. If your goal is to start walking – do you have the right clothes and shoes, a route, a water bottle, a pedometer, perhaps some safety gear (reflective clothing)? And do you have a way to record your progress? – tracking is essential!
- A “diet” is by definition temporary. As you know, when the diet ends we often go back to our old way of eating and living. It’s far more productive to think in terms of self-care, nourishing ourselves, feeding ourselves what we’re really hungry for, and lifestyle change.
To learn more about effective weight management strategies, join my next weight management class, The Full Mind Weigh™ to Lifelong Weight Management. For details, visit www.thefullmindweigh.com/programs.html
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With your continued health in mind,
Doreen Lerner, Ph.D.
Director, Institute for Lifelong Weight Management
Creator, The Full Mind Weigh™ to Lifelong Weight Management
The Institute for Lifelong Weight Management provides education and training. The Full Mind Weigh™ is strictly an educational program and is not a substitute for medical or psychological evaluation or treatment. If you think you may be suffering from an eating disorder, please consult with a qualified mental health professional who is trained to evaluate and treat eating disorders.