A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION YOU SHOULDN’T MAKE
Resist the pressures of the dieting industry & resolve to treat yourself well
When making your new years’ resolutions, I urge you to resist the pressures of the dieting industry and instead resolve to treat yourself well. If you are seeking greater health, happiness or self-worth, I assure you that being at war with your body is not the way to achieve those goals. Allow me to share a little of my story. When I was 20 years old, I tagged along with my Mother to a very popular weightloss clinic. At this point in my life, I didn’t realise that there was anything ‘wrong’ with my body weight. Rather, I had simply agreed to attend as an opportunity to spend quality time with my mother, to support her and gain more motivation to get fitter and healthier. At the time I weighed in at 65 kilograms and was informed by the consultant that 60 kilograms would be an ideal weight for me. Rather than questioning how this woman could calculate my ideal body weight by merely looking at me, for the first time I was struck with the thought that, ‘I must be overweight. Why else would this consultant encourage me to lose weight?’
Resist the pressures of the dieting industry & instead resolve to treat yourself well.
And so, the quest began to get my weight below 60 kilograms…and I got there. However, the effort required to maintain this weight was not sustainable and before long my weight had crept back to 65 kilograms. Rather than trusting that my body knew better than the woman at this weightloss clinic, I blamed myself; a story which I’m sure many women are familiar with. So, the pattern of weight fluctuations, some intentional, some incidental had begun. A number of life events including a bout of altitude sickness whilst hiking through the peaks of South America and also the heartbreak of separating from a longterm partner saw my weight plummet back down to 60 kilograms. However, on both occasions despite my conviction to not regain the lost weight, it wasn’t long before my weight had crept back up to 65 kilograms. Years later, I am pleased to say that scales are not a part of my life. In fact, I haven’t weighed myself in years. However, whilst writing this article my curiosity was sparked which prompted me to step on the scales once more. And you wouldn’t believe it: the scales showed that once again, I weigh 65 kilograms. However, this time is different because my perspective is very different. My body tells me that all those years ago the consultant at the weight-loss clinic was wrong; 60 kilograms is not a good weight for me and 65 kilograms is not the result of
being lazy. 65-ish is my natural body weight. This is my ideal weight when I am health focused, not weight obsessed. However, for me 60 kilograms is the short-term effect of dieting, illness, and/or misery, none of which I wish to sustain to simply have a slimmer physique. Your body has an intuitive wisdom far greater than any dieting gimmick. Learn to listen to it, accept it and trust in your body to do its job well. When you are no longer focused on controlling your bodyweight, you’re free to deal with the real reason why you may be struggling with your weight. Resolving that issue could be a much better and worthwhile resolution for the New Year rather than aiming for a certain body image and number on the scales.
Dr Kiera Buchanan is a Health and Clinical Psychologist as well as the Director of Centre for Integrative Health; a multi-disciplinary practice aimed at preventing and treating eating disorders, weight concerns and body-image issues. Kiera specialises in topics such as dieting, eating behaviour, weight management and self-compassion. She has published papers, delivered workshops and also presented at conferences. Kiera can be contacted via website.