New Year

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 

The Only Detox You Need in 2018

Trust me, it's not what you think.

It’s about that time of year when the New Year’s articles start rolling in…the best detoxes, cleanses, diets, exercise regimens, blah blah blah. If you follow my work and know what I’m about, you probably aren’t surprised to learn that I have no interest in reading any of those articles. I don’t care about the trendy new diet. I have no interest in setting resolutions that will fall by the wayside by February 1 nor do I want to set resolutions that only exist to make me feel bad about myself. But after talking to clients, friends and family, I do find that there are a couple things that I think are worth detoxing from.

Toxic Social Media Messages
Social media is great and I wouldn’t be here writing this blog if it didn’t exist. But it can also be really harmful. There are countless “fitspo” accounts out there showing you supposed “inspiration” for your new workout/diet and don’t even get me started on those perfectly curated Instagram feeds showing only the prettiest smoothie bowls and green juices and pretty white women in $100 leggings doing yoga. And as aesthetically pleasing and seemingly motivating as those accounts can be, I find a lot of people use them to compare themselves and find ways in which they’re not “measuring up”. So my challenge to you is unfollow every single account that makes you feel insecure, less than or just plain bad. Diversify your feed and follow accounts that make you feel good about yourself. Jes Baker has an AMAZING resource of inclusive body positive accounts to follow. And remember this also means unfollowing any family member/friend who is constantly posting about their diets/weight loss. If that’s going to trigger you, hide their posts from your newsfeed. Your mental health comes first.

Body-Focused Resolutions
Diet-minded resolutions are definitely something to ditch in the New Year. Oftentimes, resolutions are focused on body weight/size/shape but the truth is that we don’t have much control over the size of our bodies so body-focused resolutions are frequently setting you up for failure. There are ways to make self-care resolutions without an expectation for weight loss- for example, to drink more water, try new fruits & vegetables or add in variety to your meals. All of these things are great ways to optimize health without setting any expectations about your body. By setting resolutions that focus on the way we feel versus the way we look, we are much more likely to be successful (and have a lot more fun doing it).

Other People’s Expectations
If you’re a people pleaser like myself, it can be hard to trust your inner voice when there are other people’s opinions and ideas and expectations to consider. In 2018, let that shit go. The only person you need to please is yourself. The only voice you need to honor is your own. Do what feels right to you and you can’t go wrong.

Foods You Don’t Like and Exercise You Don’t Enjoy
It is just not worth it.

Timelines
The New Year feels like a clean slate and there’s something about it that makes us all feel an extra burst of motivation and resolve. But the truth is you don’t have to make changes in line with the New Year- or a new month, new season, new week. You’re allowed to decide when the right time is to form new habits or make new changes in your life. For me, the New Year usually comes with a sense of urgency and expectation; like I must make these changes now or else. But there’s no need to put unnecessary pressure on ourselves. We’re all doing just fine and we don’t need to change to be worthy, lovable, good humans. So give yourself a pass if you’re not in the resolution-setting mood or if you want to just continue being your badass self in 2018.

Talk to you all soon! xo
Meghan

P.S. If your resolution is for more anti-diet goodness in 2018, you definitely want to check out my New Moon New Year January Redux program starting January 1. When you sign up, you're signing up for daily emails from me for the entire month of January that will challenge you and get you thinking about how to incorporate more food peace into your life this year (plus the possibility of getting private coaching sessions with me). Check it out here!