By Andrew Walen, LCSW-C, LICSW, CEDS
I saw an old friend post on Instagram that he is working to lose a significant amount of weight despite being a healthy and typical-sized male in his 40s. A distant family member posted she is going on a New Year’s cleanse to rid herself of all the toxins from the holidays with hopes of “#cleaneating from now on.” It’s the resolution time of the year. It’s also the most shame- and guilt-filled time of the year. Want to know why?
Resolutions are typically unrealistic and unsustainable. They involve the diet- and exercise-mentality that drives so many to purchase new gym memberships and try recipes typically preferred by rabbits and cows more than humans. The gym routines may last a few weeks, but motivation and time dwindle. Recipes for vegan or ketogenic diets may be the fad among friends and family today but give way to cravings for pizza and beer binges soon enough. The result invariably is guilt and shame, followed by regret, repentance, and repetition of the cycle again.
Instead of resolutions, I ask you to consider joining a revolution focused on your actual wellbeing. There is nothing wrong with your weight. There is nothing wrong with your shape. If you want to work on increasing your energy – cool! You want to work on your emotional health – great! There are all kinds of goals related to physical and mental health that have real, meaningful, validated, and provable benefits. Want to know one that has no provable benefit? Weight loss.
Weight loss won’t make you happier. It won’t make you healthier. It won’t make you more lovable, intelligent, beneficial, or superior. Weight loss as a goal in and of itself has no provable benefits! It may be a modest by-product of lifestyle changes, true. But pushing your body to a weight you pre-determine as “ideal” or “healthy” usually means fighting your body’s own natural set point. The result is physical and emotional harm to yourself. It’s also the pre-cursor to most all eating disorders.
So instead of choosing to lose weight or push yourself to eat perfectly and exercise religiously, consider living in the body you have and not the one you wished you had. That’s a revolutionary idea whose time has come. If you want help learning how to do that, give us a call.