Posts Tagged ‘New Year’s’

The following is a post I shared on my Eat to Love website for the New Year. Recognizing the sizable overlap between drinking and eating — as distraction, as habit, as addiction — I thought I would share it here. If you are interested in receiving this type of article from me, please feel free to sign up to join the Eat to Love community in the box at top-right here:


January can be a virtual minefield for those of us trying to have a healthy relationship with our bodies and minds. You can’t swing a yoga mat without hitting an article or advertisement for weight loss, undoing the effects of the holidays on our waistlines, or getting minutely closer to that ill-defined and literally impossible beauty ideal. If you’re like me, trying to live a life that doesn’t hinge on having rock-hard abs, a creaseless forehead, or anything preceded by the word “perfect” (not that there’s anything wrong with that [that’s not true…there kind of is]), perhaps you would like to share in my anti-resolution for 2014:

1.    I will tune out the relentless refrain about “having my best body,” “making this the year,” and anything vaguely resembling “New Year, new you”

These phrases all sound great at first, but they have a surly undertone: they are typically meant to sell us something, either directly or indirectly; they suggest we can improve ourselves but are maddeningly vague; and they are usually accompanied by tips that seem easy enough to implement except that they don’t address the reasons certain behaviors exist in the first place. Most of all, this type of refrain smacks of “everyone else is doing it…better get on the bandwagon.” Bullying couched in healthy-speak is still bullying. I say, “Resist, my friend, there is a better way.”

2.    I will not make promises about changing my body to look like someone else’s (even if that someone else is me 10 years ago, before a pregnancy, etc.)

The shape and size of my body are the results of many things, including genetics, culture, beliefs, and habits of diet and exercise. Any goal that involves losing a specific amount of weight, fitting into a particular jeans size, or lifting, shrinking, nipping, or tucking my shape ignores these things. What’s more, it creates an environment of black-and-white thinking, self-judgment, comparison with others, and inevitable failure. Relying on external milestones and ideals of beauty, we fail to heed our internal wisdom: our basic biology, signals of hunger and satiety, and our true wants and needs.

3.    I will not participate in fat shaming, the dieting dialogue, or moralizing about food, eating, and weight

“I’m so huge.” “I’m never eating again.” “I will need to run home (from vacation, 3 states away) to burn off that dinner.” “I’m so bad.”

Let’s. Just. Stop. This type of language is subtle but subversive. It gets into our vernacular and we stop noticing how shaming, diminishing, and downright cruel it is. The more time and energy we spend on such drivel, the less time we have for more productive thoughts, for really taking care of ourselves and one another, and for appreciating the beauty in ourselves and in every day of our lives.

Reversing this habit is difficult, to be sure. But rather than getting down on ourselves when we do participate, we can just notice, pay attention to the motivation behind it (self-deprecation, fear, anxiety, or just being part of the crowd), and challenge ourselves to not participate next time.

4.    I will slow down, get quiet, and tune into my body

A promise worth making is to pay attention to ourselves, to create the space necessary to listen to what our bodies and minds are telling us, which is often “slow down,” “take care of me,” “I can’t support you if you don’t give me what I need.” Whether we do this through meditation, a mindfulness practice, or simply choosing to say “No” to unnecessary commitments, we will develop a foundation from which to make skillful decisions and wise changes to our lives, if necessary.

5.    I will become a curious and objective observer of myself

As we tune in to ourselves, inevitably things will arise. Thoughts and strong emotions present us with a choice: we can either identify with them and react, or simply observe them without judgment. By learning to do the latter, we develop resilience and become more and more able to tolerate discomfort without automatically reacting.

6.    As the epic battle between head and heart rages on, I will try to pay more attention to my heart

Rene Descartes, who famously said, “I think, therefore I am,” would disagree with me on this one. But as someone who lives in her head, I know I need to connect more with my heart. My head is more likely to get confused and caught up in futile attempts to do battle with my body. My heart, on the other hand, is patient and quietly certain that I’m fine just as I am now.

7.    I will become a love ninja

Not everyone will understand this anti-resolution approach to the New Year. Many will get swept up in the usual tidal wave of extreme behaviors that peter out in a few short weeks (and the self-recrimination that inevitably follows). Rather than hurling judgment at them, however, I will stealthily launch my compassion, empathy, and love.

8.    I will contemplate a world in which the hierarchy of value centers on kindness and compassion rather than beauty, youth, and thinness

Just considering this for a moment opens my heart. And I think we are getting closer. If Intuitive Eating, the Anti-diet project, and the entire mindfulness movement are any indication, we are heading in a good direction.

Happy 2014 everyone!


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There’s something so seductive about the New Year’s resolution. It’s a moment like no other, when the clock ticking forward signifies one year comes to a close and another begins anew. There is the temptation to resolve that this year is going to be different, that this is the year that I start eating healthy, lose 20 pounds, start volunteering, or finally get control over my drinking.

Like many people, I have goals for 2011 – one might even call them resolutions. I want to go into the office more (rather than give in to the daily temptation of staying in my pajamas and working from my couch). I want to meditate more, specifically in the morning, when not only is it more restorative but also more likely to happen at all. And I hope to keep previous resolutions – worry less, do more yoga, eat fewer peanut butter Puffins.

Yet, I am resistant to the idea of making change just because some external thing – a date in this case – tells me it’s time. It’s out of keeping with my basic belief (and hope) that change can happen at any moment. That it can be a slight shift that becomes meaningful over time.

If you are a lifelong walker yet you long to run, each step represents an opportunity. If you are in the middle of a box of cookies, but you want to lose 20 pounds, each bite is an occasion to change course. If the right time for you to make a change is slightly less momentous than 1/1/11, I say go for it.

I chose August 18, 2010 to make a significant change in my life. As the self-proclaimed Bargain Bitch, I’d often comb the racks at Filene’s Basement, Marshall’s, or (swoon) Barney’s and wind up with many beautiful, originally expensive, yet often-unwearable clothes in my closet. Clothes that I clearly would not have purchased at full price but which, at a discount, gave me a rush and a break from my troubles. My bargain hunting was fairly consistent throughout the year, peaking during sales and any time I was feeling stressed, depressed, or restless. Ultimately, I realized my innocent bargain hunting had assumed a new role – that left vacant when I stopped drinking.

My shopping habits even resembled my previous drinking habits. Whereas I used to be really into Sauvignon Blancs, black flats might become my new obsession. Whereas I’d chain drink until a bottle of wine was empty, I would exhaust the style options of a particular blue jean company. Or if I’d scored a Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress at Saks Off Fifth Avenue, I might hunt down a DVF chaser on eBay.

Not long after I realized I was shopping much like I drank, I was very fortunate to discover The Great American Apparel Diet, which invites those of us with a penchant for sartorial acquisition to abstain from all purchases for 1 year. I joined TGAAD when I was in the middle of a stressful home sale and am now more than a third of the way through my one-year commitment. Removing the possibility of blowing off steam by shopping during a period of great uncertainty was challenging to say the least…but certainly not impossible. And beginning my resolution in the middle of the year relieved some of the additional pressure I might have felt and imparted a certain one-day-at-a-time forgiveness.

During the last four months, when I wasn’t shopping, I’ve used my valuable time to go deeper into my meditation practice, cultivate important relationships with those in my life, and finally stop talking about it and start this blog.

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

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