Hopefully, you’re all staying safe and enjoying the holidays as much as you can in this dumpster fire of a year. But the good part is that 2020 is almost over!! YESSSSS.
I don’t really believe in New Years’ resolutions, but I do think that along with Covid, there are habits that need to be left in 2020, never to be seen again. There are also good habits to practice for the new year.
But here’s some of the habits we should leave behind:
Our obsession with celebrities, their diets, and their bodies.
Whether it’s Rebel Wilson’s ‘Year of Health’ aka starvation at the Mayr Clinic, the Kardashians selling detox teas, or yet another postpartum bikini shot from Hilaria Baldwin, celebrities – who are NOT like us, FYI – are constantly in the limelight for how they look and what they eat.
But we as a society need to realize a couple of things:
- Celebrities aren’t normal people with normal lives. They have the means to look and eat a certain way that most of us don’t have.
- Their livelihoods depend on the way they look.
- Their decisions around food and eating are often unsound and dangerous. We also have no idea what happens behind the scenes in their lives. As in, they might be absolutely miserable.
- No matter what we do to mimic what we think a celebrity is doing with their diet, supplements, or exercise, we aren’t going to become anything like them. Because genetics, money, chefs, trainers, cosmetic procedures, growing up privileged, and a whole host of other factors.
If you’re looking to look like, live like, or be like a celebrity, you’re chasing a unicorn.
Stop wasting your energy.
Using the word ‘fat’ as derogatory.
Yeah, let’s stop this already.
Diet culture tells us that being fat is pretty much the worst thing that can possibly happen to us.
But it’s actually not, obviously. And intellectually, most of us understand that. Emotionally though, society won’t let us let that thought go. Fat is weak. Fat is bad. Fat is lazy and sick.
To call someone ‘fat’ is a terrible insult not only about their appearance, but also about them as a person.
The fact that this is the case is horrific, actually. Because fat is a body type that doesn’t tell you anything about the person who wears it. Not if they’re physically healthy, or if they’re a good person.
Fat is a macronutrient. It’s also a descriptor for a larger body. It’s not an insult. It’s not a way of life, and it’s not a determinant of anyone’s worth, their identity, intelligence, diet, or activity level.
Micromanaging our nutrient intake.
If it fits your macros…but sadly, not your life.
Can we just relax about food already, and release the compulsion to track every last calorie, gram of carb, and micronutrient?
Listen, I know you might be concerned that you’re not getting enough molybdenum or that some nutrition guru told you that too much protein makes your liver congested. But really, what really makes us sick and unhappy is when we hang on to the minutia about our diet, and turn it all from food, into numbers.
We don’t eat numbers. We eat food, and it’s meant to be enjoyed. The wellness industry constantly tells us that we can’t trust our bodies to do what they’re meant to do: we need to count everything, we need to help them detox and cleanse themselves, we need to consume mythical ‘cluster salts’ in celery juice in order to keep it all together.
But our bodies CAN be trusted. It’s the wellness industry that we can’t trust. the 50+ billion dollar industry that is a money-hoovering monster that relies on our insecurities around our health.
Health ‘challenges’ like 75 Hard.
Health challenges are somewhat of an oxymoron, because they usually have nothing to do with long-term, meaningful health changes. They’re done and forgotten, and are generally something to ‘tough out,’ because WHY? Like, why would you ever want to do something unpleasant for a month if it’s not going to have any sort of positive impact on your life?
You’re eliminating sugar, killing yourself with exercise, choking down gross smoothies…and then what? Challenges don’t teach us anything except what suffering feels like.
Thanks, but I’ll pass.
FYI: That ‘it takes 21 days to form a habit’ thing is BS, too.
Talking about diet as cure or prevention for diseases.
This one is relevant always, but especially this year.
Never has cancer been cured solely by diet.
Alkaline or ionized water can’t prevent anything but dehydration.
You can’t ‘cure’ ADHD with food (and as an ADHD mom, yes, I have done my research).
And hey, just for good measure: you can’t prevent or cure Covid-19 with diet or supplements. (Here’s a letter I wrote to an alternative practitioner who made those claims. *language warning*)
Diet is an adjunct to treatments and overall health, but it’s not everything.
You can still get cancer, Covid, high cholesterol, or basically anything else even if your diet is perfectly healthy.
My point here is that plenty of charlatans using the promise of a cure or prevention to sell bullshit garbage online, and they need to be ignored.
If what they are selling actually worked, nobody would suffer with these diseases.
Also: if it’s a miracle treatment, it’s not going to be sold by MLM or some random online. It’s going to be tested, regulated, and sold by the FDA. Nobody is ‘hiding’ cures from us so ‘Big Pharma’ can make money. Don’t even go there.
And let’s start creating these good habits for 2021:
Enjoy food as more than just fuel.
I was recently sent an Instagram post by a clueless influencer who was berating her followers for their love and enjoyment of food.
‘Food is fuel, that’s it,’ she warned.
What a total fuckwit.
Listen. If you eat to live, not live to eat, that’s your choice. But telling people that they aren’t allowed to enjoy food or that they should see food only as fuel and not what it really is: community, heritage, love, beauty, nourishment, among other things – is utterly gross.
It also betrays your own issues with food and throws them like a wet blanket onto everyone else. Which, if you’re an ‘influencer,’ is not even a little bit okay.
Be the best that you can be, and not comparing yourself to others.
Comparing ourselves to everyone else is a lesson in futility, I always say. The main reason is that you’re you – and you’re different in so many ways from the next person.
You know what makes you feel good, what makes you feel strong, what makes you feel healthy. And if you don’t, find it. But don’t do that while trying to be someone else.
Add foods back into your diet.
In my book Good Food, Bad Diet (pre-order here!), I tell readers to ‘be a pencil, not an eraser.’
It’s one of the nutrition philosophies I’ve held tight to for decades, and honestly, it never gets old or proven wrong.
We’re always focusing on what we can’t eat. What we shouldn’t eat. What X person said we need to avoid, and what we need to choose instead.
All total crap, unless there’s some sort of legit medical reason why you’re avoiding certain foods. And hey: Josh Axe telling you that chickpeas cause ‘inflammation’ is not what I’d call a legit reason.
Most of us tolerate gluten, dairy, wheat, eggs, nightshades, legumes, and all the other usual suspects just fine. There’s no reason to cut them out of our diets and limit ourselves to eating fewer foods. It’s a form of punishment that can negatively impact our relationship with food and our bodies. And why? What’s the point, to be ‘healthier?’ What parts of your life – socially, emotionally, for example – are becoming LESS healthy while you listen to some random’s advice?
Focus on and enjoy the foods you want to eat, that you can eat, and that you enjoy.
Trust your body to manage those foods the way it’s supposed to.
Eat the diet that works for you, not for other people.
Please do not let anyone push their diet onto you. I know it’s tough, when the entire internet, your friends, and the people you work with all seem to have the ‘perfect’ new way of eating that they swear is just the best. thing. ever.
Every diet works for someone, but no diet works for everyone. And by ‘diet,’ I mean ‘way of eating.’
Only you know what works with your lifestyle, preferences, and eating philosophy. So instead of jumping on the latest fad when your friends do, keep your eye on the prize. That prize being, long-term happiness and comfort in YOUR body. In YOUR choices. Regardless of what everyone else is doing.
Figure out your shit around food, eating, and your body.
Because when you sweep shit under the rug, you end up living on that lumpy rug. Ouch!
Instead of going on diet after diet, and driving yourself nuts with restrictions and hating on your body, 2021 is the year you’re going to change all of that.
Figuring out your negative core beliefs – what you believe to be true about yourself and your place in the world – can dramatically change how you feel about yourself and the choices you make in your life, including the ones about food and eating and dieting.
In my book, I guide readers through the process of finding and neutralizing those core beliefs. But in case you haven’t bought my book, just sitting quietly with your feelings and asking yourself ‘why’ is a great way to start the journey to figuring things out.
I’ll be writing more about this soon…stay tuned!
Here’s to good habits in 2021!