Last year, we talked about the negative atmosphere surrounding New Year’s Resolutions and instead setting affirming, flexible goals. Upon entering 2017, I was gaining momentum with this site, taking agency over my struggles with food and body, and building intention in my relationships. Setting new resolutions just because it was the first of the year felt regressive. So, rather than add stress and confusion to my life with new rigid goals and musts, I re-evaluated and added on to existing intentions.
As I navigated the following months and my flexible, growth-intentioned goals, I started making progress but also being less frustrated with slowdowns and failure. I began to see that Point B is not always reached via a straight line from Point A. Sometimes we misjudge the journey, labeling Point D as Point B because we hadn’t yet focused our gaze on the road directly ahead.
During 2017, I learned that becoming an Intuitive Eater would first mean breaking through deeply rooted fears, embracing vulnerability, and challenging old habits. Each of those challenges, rightly so, took more time and energy than expected. I learned that being a better listener took more than just listening. I had to also look inward to evaluate my needs to speak and be heard rather than just listen. I learned that loving my body would require me to admit that I didn’t always feel comfortable in it and also learn to accept it as it is in each present moment.
As the months went by, I sort-of forgot about the exact goals I’d set for 2017. Not because I had stopped working on them but because doing the work resulted in new challenges, unexpected rewards, unanticipated discoveries, and alternative pathways. There were so many interesting things to see between Point A and Point B, that I didn't need to constantly picture Point B in my mind. This process has led me right into 2018 and, upon entering another new year, it's become apparent that the only “resolution” worth making is the one to end the conflict with yourself and your body.
We’re not born hating ourselves. Our continued search for happiness in thinness is something we’ve been taught. Seeking self-acceptance through peer-approval? That's another.
My body has changed over the last 365 days. Gained weight? Sure. Lost weight? Sure. I’ve been tired and I’ve been rested. I've had good days and bad. I’ve absolutely without a doubt gotten stronger. But the biggest and most noticeable change is the one that took place when I stopped trying to fight my body and instead work on what made me want to fight it in the first place.
As I tried to embrace (slowly, awkwardly, and even begrudgingly at times) the person living my body, I found ways to manage my underlying perfectionism, need for control, and even my anxiety. I’ve become more open to looking at how my anxiety affects my work and personal relationships. I actively work to call myself out when perfectionism holds me back from new challenges. Furthermore, as I work on challenges other than body and food I actually have an easier time dealing with the things that made my body and food such a battle to begin with. I’ve started asking why I couldn’t (or cant) exercise control around one food while forbidding myself to even come near another. I’ve created a pathway to be open and honest with myself and it’s led to a greater, more sound understanding of everything from my mental health needs to my natural hunger cues.
As I said before, the path from A to B is not always linear. It is also often longer than we had thought. All of the change I just talked about is still a work-in-progress. The fight just feels kinder and more productive than the one I used to wage against myself.
Should you want to feel better in your body? Yes! But your body doesn’t have to be the thing you’re focused on fixing. Quite frankly, it shouldn’t be. Your body isn’t the conflict. It’s not something to be debated or fought or resolved. It’s a part of you. The goals you set and the results you seek don’t have to be reached by destroying, belittling, or lessening the person you already are. Instead, why not start them by embracing it.
Losing five pounds wont make you love your body. Demanding that you lose five pounds and then not losing five pounds, or losing them and gaining eight back because your diet was too restrictive also wont make you love your body. However, learning to feed your body properly, move it respectfully, and rest it equally is loving your body. You also might find that you lose a little weight as a result.
Or not. You might actually gain a pound or two or if you were fighting to stay under your natural weight. You might find that you don’t lose weight but that your clothes fit a little better or that you wake up with more energy for the day. What you’ll likely find is that once those changes take place, you not longer have to use all that much resolve to make things stay that way. Within your body and beyond. One you allow yourself to be on the journey, you might start enjoying the path.
This year, challenge yourself to start fresh. Work with yourself. Resolve to end the conflicts that keep you from your body, not your body itself.
Need some more help navigating or even breaking up with New Year’s Resolutions? Check out these pieces for some body-acceptance resolutions, diet truths, and positive-minded self care: