For people with disordered eating, New Year’s can bring with it a lot of challenges. There’s pressure from all angles to ‘transform’ yourself, to lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more, achieve more… be better.
This external noise only amplifies the internal noise for someone with eating problems.
It tells them they aren’t good enough and that now it’s the new year, they should join in with everyone else to become a ‘new person’.
On the surface, the driving force behind these resolutions may be ‘health’, but if you have poor body image, low self-esteem and/or a poor relationship with food, you may want to look a little deeper.
Here are some indicators that this may be the case:
- You think you need to lose weight in order to be happy.
- You think you are a bad person if you don’t go to the gym/exercise.
- You feel guilty when you eat certain things.
- You want to cut out entire food groups.
- You compare yourself to others online and feel bad about yourself.
If you agree with these or know that your relationship with food and your body is muddied, consider where your desire to lose weight or change your habits is coming from.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to eat a nutritious diet or exercise more, but when it comes from a place of shame, guilt or self-loathing, it is likely to do more harm than good.
Instead, why don’t you make this year the year you improve your relationship with food, your body and yourself? Treat yourself with kindness, explore why you may feel the way you do about yourself and approach eating well and being healthy from a place of love.
When you eat well and exercise as part of self-care to nourish (not punish) your body, it’ll become a part of your lifestyle rather than a chore.
And finally, consider your words carefully around this time of year. Don’t judge others or shame them if they aren’t pledging to change their lives in the way you expect to see. Often the most important changes we make take place on the inside.