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Contributor: Staff at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center
As the holidays arrive and the new year looms on the horizon, there’s a common question that rings out in conversations around the world. And a common answer is “dieting resolutions.”
“What’s your New Year’s resolution?”
Some people certainly have very specific goals in mind, but these declarations of doing are often quite general: Learn a new skill, organize your closet, save money, work on a relationship, live life to the fullest. These ideas tend to sound good when you say them out loud, but they’re hard to actually quantify.
In 2019, according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll national survey, 44% of Americans said that they were likely to make a New Year’s resolution . Among those who planned to do so, three of the top four resolutions could be connected with weight — exercising more (13%), losing weight (10%), and eating healthier (9%).
Not specifically mentioned but hard to ignore is something at least loosely tied to all three of those: dieting — often in the form of crash or fad diets. It’s another common commitment to change come the new year.
It’s also the resolution we should ditch for good.
Dangers of Crash Diets
It’s easy to see why the allure of crash dieting can be tempting to many individuals, but they can have some serious negative effects on your body. For instance, crash diets can:
- Reduce your metabolic rate. Muscle breakdown is often a side effect of extreme dieting.
- Weaken your immune system. Any diet that deprives you of valuable minerals and vitamins can leave your immune system compromised. Cutting out one particular type of food can mean a lack of necessary vitamins that support immunity, making you susceptible to illness.
- Lead to dehydration.
Alternative Resolutions to Dieting
Setting goals is not necessarily a bad thing. But you have to make sure that they’re not going to be detrimental to your life.
There are other ways to focus on your health as you head into the new year that won’t have you checking the scale.
- Get better sleep. Focus on a consistent sleep schedule, cut back on caffeine, and put down the screen a half-hour before bedtime.
- Pick an exercise or physical activity you actually like. Whether it’s walking, swimming, or bike riding, find something you legitimately enjoy doing.
- Embrace a diet in which all foods fit in balance, moderation, and variety. Remember there is health at every size!
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make a commitment to your health as a new year beckons. But there are other ways besides dieting to work on your well-being in 2021.
Resources: Marist Poll. (2018, Dec. 28). NPR/PBS NewsHour/Maris Poll national survey results and analysis: 2019 & New Year’s resolutions. http://maristpoll.marist.edu/npr-pbs-newshour-marist-poll-national-survey-results-analysis-2019-new-years-resolutions/#sthash.fKHLkl5V.wzGKd5ET.dpbs  Griffin, J. (2019, Jan. 1). Forget the crash diet. These 6 New Year’s resolutions are better for your health. PBS. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/forget-the-crash-diet-these-6-new-years-resolutions-are-better-for-your-health
About Our Sponsor:
At Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center outside of Chicago, Illinois, we provide specialized care for women and adolescent girls who are living with eating disorders, substance use disorders, and various mental health concerns. Our residential treatment and partial hospitalization programming (PHP) help our residents achieve lifelong recovery by combining clinically excellent treatment with spiritual and emotional growth. We provide care that is holistic, personalized, and nurturing, empowering women to be active participants in their wellness journeys.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Reviewed & Approved on January 12, 2021, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC
Published January 12, 2021, on EatingDisorderHope.com