32 Habits That Promote Health and Have Nothing To Do With Dieting

Last week, I made an Instagram post with some ideas for resolutions that are health-promoting without making weight loss the focus and got an overwhelmingly positive response. The idea is to adopt habits from a place of self-care and self-compassion rather than deprivation and shame. Contrary to popular belief (if you pay attention to people who troll body positivity on Instagram), health is not a value that every one has to have or something that is necessarily accessible to everyone due to disability, chronic illness, etc. But if you are interested in making behavior change to benefit your health, I'm here to tell you that you can absolutely do that without making weight loss part of the equation.  And while January 1 is the biggest day of the year for setting goals and resolutions, behavior change can happen any day of the year (including today)! On that note, here is an expanded version of health-promoting habits that have absolutely nothing to do with weight loss or dieting. 

1. Include all the food groups in your diet.
2. Drink enough water.
3. Get to bed on time every night regardless of what you have going on- no pointless Instagram scrolling because you're too lazy to get up and get ready for bed (that one is actually just a note for myself). 
4. Try a new fruit or vegetable every week (or try a new preparation method).
5. Find & see a good therapist on a regular basis.
6. Develop a meditation or yoga practice. 
7. Make it a point to consume dairy products with vitamin D or take a supplement (most people are deficient, especially this time of year if you live in the US). 
8. Have a weekly dance party in your living room. 
9. Make time for genuine connection (not just social media) with friends, family and partners.
10. If your caffeine consumption is causing anxiety/insomnia, switch to half-decaf or swap out a cup of coffee for tea.
11. Say no to the things that don't bring you any joy or satisfaction.
12. Seek out weight inclusive providers (this HAES help finder is a great resource).
13. Find your set point weight by eating regularly and adequately. 
14. Listen to your hunger and fullness cues (and if you're not there yet, work on regaining your hunger and fullness cues). 
15. Take at least 15 minutes for self-care every day.
16. Allow yourself to take whole days off- mental health days are a thing.
17. Practice deep breathing in the morning, evening and whenever you're feeling stressed.
18. Try new foods or new recipes every once in awhile.
19. Read for pleasure. 
20. Make time to snuggle with your cat/dog/child/partner. 
21. Schedule yourself some downtime at some point in the day- you don't always have to be racing around.
22. If you're tired, rest.
23. Move your body if and when it feels good (in ways that feel good). 
24. Experiment with aromatherapy, essential oils and all those woo-woo things if you're into it.
25. Reject the diet mentality. 
26. Work towards radical acceptance of your body, regardless of size.
27. Take your meds.
28. If you have access to it, get a professional massage (hot tip: Groupon, baby).
29. Take time out for things you find genuinely fun.   
30. Release the idea of good and bad foods (foods have no moral value) and allow your intuition to guide your eating choices.
31. Develop healthy coping mechanisms to use when you have difficult emotions (and know that we all emotionally eat sometimes but it's important to have other ways to cope as well). 
32. Respect your body- don't force it to do things that don't feel good to you.

What else you would add to this list? I would love to hear in the comments. And if seeing a weight-inclusive dietitian is on your list of intentions for 2018, I currently work virtually with clients from across the US and would love to hear from you

Cover photo by Cassie Boca