The start of a new year can bring up an avalanche of thoughts and feelings. You may be feeling excitement, optimism, hope and renewal, and/or fear, dread, self-doubt, shame, guilt and sadness.
Why is it that this time of year has so much power over our thoughts and actions?
For as long as I can remember, January 1st ushered in a sense of determination mixed with a hefty dose of dread. There was always pressure to start something new or fix something old, to set goals, make promises to ourselves and publicly declare our resolutions for the new year.
This mindset can be empowering for certain goals but can also set us up for disappointment, shame and self-criticism, especially when it comes to food and body struggles.
Each New Year’s Eve, from about the age of ten, I would make unsustainable promises to myself to shrink my body, be stronger and be accepted in a world that constantly made me feel like I didn’t belong.
And each year, when I couldn’t keep up with the restrict-binge cycle of dieting, the weight would come back on, the shame would envelop me and I would be made to feel like it was my fault for not having the willpower to become thin. This would inevitably lead to some pretty harsh self-talk which I mistakenly believed would motivate me to start the cycle all over again.
Sound familiar? The cycle of the New Year’s Diet Resolution looks something like this:
What if there was a way to break this cycle?
What if you could break free from all of the self-defeating thoughts and behaviors that have been ingrained into your belief system through the messaging of diet culture?
What would that even look or feel like?
I began wondering about this around the age of 50. And yes, in case you’re doing the math, that’s 40 years of living in the relentless cycle of dieting, disordered eating, an eating disorder and body hatred. There has to be a way to accept myself as I am and begin living my life without the constant push to “fix myself”.
So, I set out on a journey to heal myself on the inside, instead of changing myself on the outside. I slowly began learning about self-compassion, body neutrality and Intuitive Eating. I built a support system and opened up to those closest to me about my decades long struggle with food and body issues. In doing so, my world started to feel a little lighter. The shame started to lift and I was finally able to see that my worth was not based on the number I saw on the scale.
I was finally learning to trust my body and heal my relationship with food.
New Year’s Eve for the past few years has been easier. It was simply the last day of one year, leading into the first day of the next year. Nothing more, nothing less. Yes, there is still a bubble of excitement thinking what lies ahead in the year to come, but my goals did not revolve around food, restriction, punishing exercise or body hatred.
I feel peaceful. I feel whole and worthy of living in this world just the way I am. I feel free.
Are you ready to break the cycle? Are you willing to let go of all the old beliefs and discover the freedom to live your life on your own terms?
I understand the fear, doubts and uncertainty you may be feeling. I also understand the desire to be at peace and experience the freedom you deserve.
If you’d like to learn more about how self-compassion, Intuitive Eating and body image healing can help you break free from diet culture, please reach out to me for a free 1:1 consultation.
And remember, you are already the Perfect Amount of You.