New Year, New You? How about New Year and New View!by Lisa Diers, R.D., L.D., E-R.Y.T.
So it's that time of year. The time when the marketing campaigns begin, telling us "this is the year" to make a change, lose weight, get fit, get healthy, change ourselves and turn over a new leaf. Hey, I am a big believer in change -- it truly is the only constant -- and some change and internal focus is needed to grow and expand as a human being. It can be positive, healthy and needed. It can be helpful to step back and reflect on how things went during the previous year, what you want for next year and sketch out a plan of action on how to reach those goals.
However, much of what we are exposed to right now is change-laced with negativity -- telling us what is wrong with us and how we need to change ourselves to fit in, feel better, be better -- be right. Many New Year's messages promote expensive techniques for unsustainable and unhealthy change that will likely not solve our problems or make us happy.
When you find yourself considering engaging in these extreme forms of change, consider asking yourself: "What am I looking for?" "What do I really want?" "What am I really hoping I get out of following this plan?" Many times, these simple questions can unveil the truth of what we truly want and need. Often helping us see these desires run deeper than weight loss, a particular body shape, size, and so on.
One of my favorite yogic quotes is: "You are that which you are seeking." YOU ARE what you are looking for!!
What if 2016 was less about a "New You" and more about a New View?! What if you considered that you are searching for that which you deep down already are? What if you tapped into that wise part of your being who knows that you are perfect just as you are? The part of you that knows deep down that you can achieve your dreams. The part that knows you can live your life to the fullest and experience its array of emotions and senses without fear. And that the way to get there is not through extreme forms of weight manipulation and spending your money on short term fixes for unsustainable results.
Life taught me a valuable lesson at an early age: living your life to your fullest potential doesn't come in a pill, drink, or extreme exercise plan format. It comes with time, trusting yourself, making mistakes, learning from them, and practicing doing it differently. It comes from figuring out your truth, owning your truth, facing your fears, and trying your best to live life to the fullest every day while recognizing that there is no perfect way.
If you are in the trenches right now, battling intense emotions and life circumstances, this may sound unattainable. It may feel impossible. But remember, by shifting your view toward more positive thoughts, listening to that wise part of your being ... With time, practice, support, and hope, you really can do this.
Considerations for a "New View" :
- Say "NO" to that part of yourself or anyone else that says you can't achieve your dreams or be happy. You can. You can practice happiness, set your healthy life goals, and live every day doing the best that you can to reach those goals.
- Be a critical thinker. If something seems too good to be true it just may be. When being marketed to with products and promises ask yourself: What are they trying to sell me? What potential emotional insecurities is this message trying to gain profit from?
- Say "Yes" to slowing down and reflecting on these questions: What am I looking for? What am I seeking? Is this the answer I need?
- Aim to practice: Balance. Variety and Moderation. In all that you do. In food. In exercise. In striving. In relaxation.
- Consider that food can be your fuel to your dreams. That a healthy relationship with food is possible. It is. I see it every day.
- Feed your body regularly. Of course, follow the recommendations of your dietitian first. And for many, our bodies thrive on a variety of foods, eaten on a regular basis in a calm environment. Slow down. Consider giving yourself permission to feed yourself in a nurturing way.
- Practice mindful movement and moving with healthy intentions. Practice moving with positive purpose and listening to your body's needs. Sometimes that means more vigorous movement and sometimes that means slowing down and restoring your body's needs. Be honest with yourself and/or consult with your treatment team.
- Believe in the power of positive thinking: Consider incorporating a positive mantra or quote and repeating this regularly to help calm your mind, remind you of your goals, hopes, and dreams.
- Practice gratitude or bring awareness to resistance to doing so. There's no judgement here. Is there an aspect of your life you can be thankful for and can you say, write it, notice it on daily basis? "I am grateful for ______________________."
- Team Body and Mind! Consider the possibility that your body can be on your side. That together you could be on the same team working toward the goal of reaching your dreams.
Stay Hopeful. Don't give up. You ARE what you are seeking.
Some quotes I have found helpful over the years:
"Some of the most important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all." -Dale Carnegie
"Insist on yourself. Never imitate." – Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.'" – Mary Anne Radmacher
"The secret of success is the consistency to pursue." – Harry F. Banks
About the Author
Lisa is The Emily Program's Director of Nutrition and Yoga Services. Lisa oversees the national operations of both nutrition and yoga departments, which includes the direction and oversite of the clinical practices for 65+ nutrition staff and 20+ yoga instructors. She has over 10 years of eating disorder specific experience in yoga instruction, clinical nutrition counseling and program development. Lisa draws from her deep knowledge base of nutrition, yoga, body image and eating disorder treatment to meet clients' physical and emotional needs. She develops and conducts national eating disorder and body image sensitive yoga trainings and is also a regular blogger on nutrition, yoga and body image; a published author (articles, book chapters and published research); and continues to conduct research to better understand the role of yoga and nutrition in eating disorder recovery.