by Elizabeth Setti
January and February are peak times when people attempt to achieve their New Year’s resolutions. According to Inc.com, 71% of people reported wanting to implement a healthier lifestyle through diet and exercise in 2019. This is sometimes due to the guilt that many experience after indulging during the holidays—but I would argue this weight gain is normal and should not bring feelings of shame.
Commitment to these resolutions tends to subside after a few months because people adopt an “all or nothing mindset,” which promotes an unsustainable relationship with diet and exercise. Companies promote crash diet plans and products at the start of every year to persuade hopeful consumers to buy into them. These diets are what cause people to give up their resolutions after a few months because they are not sustainable, restricting users to a limited amount of food groups and calories.
However, setting a goal for frequent exercise and making better dietary choices can be good if approached in a nourishing way. Opting for a more balanced diet that can be easily maintained over a long period of time is a holistic way to pursue health and fitness related goals. For example, drinking more water or increasing vegetable intake are small changes that can yield big results. Additionally, learning that balance is the key to sustaining a long-term goal is crucial. Often, as soon as someone has a “binge” or “cheat day,” they automatically give up. Nutrient dense food should make up the majority of one’s diet, but more indulgent foods are perfectly acceptable in moderation. Including all food groups creates a healthy relationship with food and helps with mindful eating.
Exercise is beneficial for many reasons—but similar to food consumption, exercise should be done mindfully. People often force themselves to work out as a form of punishment, which can create a lot of guilt around something that should be fun. Find movement that is enjoyable… whether it be walking, running, yoga, or weightlifting. These activities can create a positive relationship with exercise. Viewing exercise as a way to praise our body’s many abilities promotes a wholesome mindset. Creativity can also be incorporated as there is a plethora of ways to move. Try something new like a spin class or even go rock climbing!
It is important to improve our health—but accepting and loving our bodies should also be a priority. Even if we all ate the same food and did the same exercises, we would still look different. Following a fad diet that promises the same results for everyone who partakes is not a wise choice. It is important to find more ways to eat nutritious foods and incorporate enjoyable movement while still maintaining balance. 2021 can be a year of wholesome transformation after the difficulties faced in 2020, so fill your journey with good intentions and love your body at all times.
About Elizabeth Setti
Elizabeth Setti is a junior at Richwoods High School in the International Baccalaureate program. Setti plays volleyball for both Richwoods and Central Illinois Elite Volleyball Club, where she has the opportunity to travel throughout the Midwest and compete at high levels. She is the editor (and previously a writer) for the sports section of “Richwoods Shield,” her school’s newspaper. Setti serves on the student leadership team and Noble Knights, and is a member of her school’s science club. She was recently diagnosed with Anorexia-Nervosa, which she developed during the COVID-19 pandemic. She feels it is important to share her story and spread awareness about eating disorders. As such, Setti created a blog called “A Hidden Addiction,” where she tells her story and her journey to recovery.