If Your New Year’s Resolution Is To Lose Weight, Pause And Read This First

New year's weight loss manifesto
Dan Redding

Slowly, stealthily, a kind of national diet exhaustion has set in: Although the number of overweight women is increasing, the percentage of them who are trying to lose weight has decreased, according to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Women quit. They’re done.

And anyone who has dieted can tell you why: The psychological burden that comes with constantly trying to restrict, to calorie-count, to pursue a thinner you, is utterly draining. And, ironically, it’s holding you back from actually shedding those pounds.

“We all need a detox from this unhealthy relationship with food and the restrict-binge-guilt cycle that comes with it,” Alpert says. We couldn’t agree more.

At WH, we know the crucial role eating healthily plays in a person’s overall well-being—and that some of you do want to lose extra pounds. But we’ve also reached a landmark cultural moment, a new way of thinking that dares us to embrace a healthy lifestyle while also loving our bodies.

Here, then, is your permission to go “weight-less”—to drop the strain of letting a number on a scale dictate your self-worth or gobble up all your brain space.

How? Make yourself these research-backed promises to remove the mental pressure of weight loss, and get healthier and mentally—and, yes, probably physically—lighter in the long run.

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I will see food as food—not just a number.

Tallying calories, grams of fat, or points can teach you about reasonable portions, but relying solely on numbers to tell you what to eat long-term will make you bitter, not slimmer, Alpert says. “Food is food. It’s not a point or a gram; it’s a piece of salmon.”

Related: 7 Women Share How They Lost Weight Without Counting a Single Calorie

Listen to your body
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I will listen to my body and follow its lead.

Trusting your physical signals relieves the pressure of following arbitrary dos and don’ts and connects you with the best weight-loss coach there is: your body. Slowing down and paying attention to when you’re full acts as an internal portion control more accurate than any nutrition label, and noting how your tummy feels after eating ice cream or a salad (bloated? energetic?) teaches you to reach for foods that will support, not sabotage, your goals. (Get tons of great workout ideas that will help you maintain a fit, healthy lifestyle for GOOD with The Women’s Health Fitness Fix.)