New Year, Same You!

The first few weeks of January are my least favorite time of the year and, yes, it’s because of New Year’s resolutions. All over my social media feeds are goals of weight loss and shaming posts about body weight and shape. This is frustrating to me because, as an eating disorder specialist, I know how harmful those sorts of ideas about dieting and weight loss can be.

Let me start by saying that I think it’s really great for people to have goals and to strive towards them healthily. This means taking small steps towards the goal and not expecting perfection from yourself. Goals are an integral part of therapy- I set treatment goals with each of my clients and ask them to identify things that they want to make progress towards in therapy. The problem with many New Year’s resolutions is that the goals are often unrealistic for where the person is in the change process and that many people expect perfection out of themselves and give up when they do not strive towards their goal perfectly.

Here’s another secret: it’s okay if you ate cookies, desserts, bagel dip, etc. over the holidays. Many of us do and it’s considered to be normal eating to enjoy foods with your family and friends at gatherings and functions. There’s this idea in our society that January should be a month when we go through some sort of cleanse- as if we did something wrong by eating foods that we enjoy during the months of November and December. That’s simply not the case.

If you’re struggling with your body image or relationship with food, I encourage you to reach out to both a therapist and a registered dietitian. It’s my goal to reinforce the idea in my clients that your relationship with food does not always have to be a battle.

Emily Teegarden