With the chocolate and butter-filled gluttony of the holidays almost over, it’s time for millions of people to take part in that other annual winter tradition: vowing to start a diet in the New Year.
Author Anne Lamott won’t be one of them. In a Facebook post that’s getting thousands of likes and shares, Lamott is urging her readers to change their mindset when it comes to weight loss.
“I know you are planning to start a diet on… January 1st, I used to start diets, too,” Lamott writes.
“Now when I decide to go on a diet, I say it to myself: ‘Great, honey. How much weight are you hoping to gain?’ Here is what's true: diets make you fat. 95% of the time, we gain it back, plus 5 lbs.”
“Join me in not [starting] a diet January 1st.”
About two-thirds of Americans have made resolutions for 2016, with weight loss and exercise topping the list of the most popular goals, according to a recent survey.
Many won’t stick to their vow past the first few weeks of January. In her post, Lamott is especially frustrated with weight loss plans that offer quick solutions, but don’t address deeper issues.
The author writes about her own lifetime struggle with food and body image. She admits having “a serious problem with sugar,” but notes the craving goes away when she avoids sweets for a few days.
Then, there’s the frequent weighing. Lamott notes she’s addicted to the scale and urges her readers to put it away for a week or so, focusing instead on “an awakening” around their bodies. She recommends trying to eat a bit less and walking more, drinking more water and meditating for a few minutes every day.
Here’s something else that might help: Put away your tight slacks, she advises.
“Wear forgiving pants. The world is too hard as it is, without letting your pants have an opinion on how you are doing. I struggle with enough esteem issues without letting my jeans get in on the act, with random thoughts about my butt,” Lamott writes.
“Make sure to wear pants that do not hurt our thighs or our feelings.”
If you are determined to start losing weight in January, the American Psychological Association offers these tips for sticking with your New Year’s resolutions:
Aim to exercise a few days a week, rather than every day at first. Instead of skipping dessert all together, replace it with a healthier option like fruit.
Change one behavior at a time
Vowing a total overhaul of your life all at once will be overwhelming.
Don’t beat yourself up
Don’t give up because you couldn’t resist a piece of chocolate or decided to skip a workout. Know there will be setbacks and resolve to get back on track.
For Lamott, it’s all about realizing weight has little to do with your self worth.
“If you are not okay with yourself at 185, you will not be okay at 150, or even 135. The self-respect and peace of mind you long for is not out there. It's within,” Lamott writes.
“I hate that. I resent that more than I can say. But it's true.”