New Year's Resolutions for People with Eating Disorders
Those blasted New Year’s resolutions… They can be so triggering. As the year begins, we are overwhelmed by messages and talk around weight loss, diets, stricter exercise regime - aka, everyone wants to get thin. And for those of us who are already struggling with body image and have anxieties around food, this time of year can be challenging and uneasy.
It is so very easy to get swept up in the hype of it all and to start believing that this way of thinking is ok and natural. The unhappiness and disgust around our bodies has become so normalised that our body shame is no longer questioned. It is hidden and accepted. And this is not ok.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder or exercise addiction, I encourage you to come up with new resolutions that are not only sustainable in the long-term but are also focused on internal growth rather than on appearances. If you are a parent or friend of someone who battles with food in some way, I implore you to be mindful of the messages you put out.
Of course some resolutions may have to be focused on the external due to health concerns, however the vast majority stem from a desire to achieve a a physique that society finds attractive and accepts. Side note - That desire to achieve “the body” is never achieved as there will always be some form of dissatisfaction and distortion of how one’s body looks.
Think beyond the physical. Consider a resolution that has nothing to do with appearance. Think of who you want to be rather than what you want to look like. Move beyond the physical and consider how you want to grow emotionally, spiritually, creatively, in relationship and in certain skills.
Healthy eating and exercise can be unhealthy. You may start out with good intentions, but it can be a slippery slope into the danger zone of unhealthy exercising and “clean” eating. If you start compulsively thinking about food, obsessively worry about eating out, or feel guilty for missing a workout, it could mean your resolutions have taken a sour turn.
Practice loving-kindness. When we are able to give ourselves moments of self-love, compassion and gratitude, we don’t have to end up making new year’s resolutions because we then automatically live a life that holds us.
In addition to the above, keep on creating body and eating-friendly resolutions. Simple ideas include:
Giving yourself a hug
Write down one thing you like about yourself (I may try this everyday for the next 365 days in 2019! Who is with me?)
Mindful eating without a phone or screen nearby
Eating with a friend or family member who helps you feel more comfortable and at ease, while at the same time keeping you accountable to your meals
Keeping a meal plan if it helps you feel safe
Hiding mirrors or scales if they have become addictive
Seeing a therapist or coach regularly who has an understanding of this topic
Consulting with a dietitian regularly
Attending group therapy sessions - connecting with people who are battling similar things can be helpful in knowing you’re not alone
Giving thanks for your food before eating it
I wish you all a healthy, safe, joyful end to your year and a glorious, exciting and love-filled start to 2019!
All my love,