Now that the freshness of the new year is past, those incredibly exhausting and strict resolutions might be sounding a little less appealing. This is the time for a new type of "resolution" -- one that could actually be useful and not make you feel crazy.
I should know. I spent a lot of my life making eating-related resolutions. On Jan. 1, but also on Jan. 15 or 16, or on a random Tuesday after I'd eaten four cookies in the afternoon.
That's it, I'm only going to eat lean proteins and fruits and vegetables for the next week.
Okay, after that sugar overload you are officially not going to eat sugar for the next day. For the next three days! Or the next year!
I always made these resolutions after over-indulging. And while healthier eating is always a good idea, the problem was that these resolutions never addressed the real problem: Why had I eaten food that didn't make me feel good in the first place?
Plus, while I could stick to these resolutions for a day or two, I eventually rebelled against the strictness and would eat way too much. In the end, I was frustrated, annoyed, and confused.
Eventually, I learned how to listen to my body. But I would have saved myself a lot of frustration and heartache if I had focused on some kinder, more introspective food-related resolutions. Now that I coach women on how to eat more intuitively, here's deprivation-free resolutions that I recommend:
1. Instead of tracking calories, track what you are feeling at each meal.
When I started noticing how I was feeling emotionally when I started to eat, I was blown away. Almost every time I ate more than I was hungry for, or chose foods that didn't make me feel good, there was something going on emotionally: I felt sad or scared or awkward or bored or angry or antsy.
By writing down how you are feeling in a notebook or even on your smartphone, you force yourself to acknowledge these feelings, even for a moment. Then you can decide if you really want a muffin, or if you just want a walk or a break or a hug instead.
2. Each time before you eat, ask, "Am I hungry?"
This question seems so simple, but it is incredibly powerful -- the women I work with tend to find that they are eating when they aren't hungry multiple times a day. When we eat when we're not hungry, it's often hard to know when to stop eating -- because there was no physical feeling of hunger to begin with -- so we often find ourselves eating until we are "stuffed." As a result, we often don't feel our best.
And the best part is, you can still eat the food! You just have to wait a few minutes or hours until you are hungry.
3. Eat without distractions, at least once a day.
When we eat with distractions like Facebook or Instagram or magazines or even work, it's a lot harder to even hear the subtle signals we get from our bodies about hunger, fullness, and how foods are making us feel. For that reason, it's really easy to overeat, or choose foods that make us feel not-so-good, simply because we weren't paying attention.
4. End your meals with something fun and non-food related.
One of the most common reasons my clients tell me they overeat is because they simply don't want to move on to the next part of their day. And that makes total sense -- so many of us have incredibly busy lives, filled with work and family commitments and laundry and chores. Why wouldn't we eat an extra cookie to put off doing it for another few minutes?
If you have something fun to look forward to -- whether it's a magazine to read, or a short and juicy call with a friend -- you tend to be so excited to do it, that you'll stop eating when your body has had enough.
I'd love to know in the comments: which of these resolutions excited you the most? Do you do any of these already?
Are you used to "having it together" in your life, but your eating + weight is the little piece that's not going right? Check out Katie's free "What's Your Eating Style" ebook -- a beautiful, 22-page ebook that lets you identify your eating archetype, and offers detailed, personalized practices to try TODAY.
If you're struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.