What No One Tells You About Body & Weight Centric New Year's Resolutions

By Janelle Polanco, QC Dietetics Student

The holidays can be a joyous and loving time of the year for many, but it may also be a time of immense struggle. With many gatherings centered around delicious food and family conversations, you may have noticed those around you associating food choices with morality, but also excusing their enjoyment of food with changes they will make come the new year. Some of the most common new year's resolutions have to do with weight loss, body goals and/or starting a new diet. You may even see most people start the new year with that same goal they had last year, but why doesn’t it ever work out?

There may be various issues associated with setting body or weight centric goals. One being that these are very often unsustainable. The dieting industry knows how vulnerable the public is when it comes to striving for weight loss following the holidays. Diet culture makes sure we follow these diets come the new year, by constantly telling us we need to compensate for what we ate, and ultimately this is what will lead to health, happiness and self worth. This leads many to turn towards the quickest solution, which is commonly thought to be weight loss.

The most popular weight loss diets often involve extreme restriction, elimination and suppression of hunger and fullness cues to achieve what is thought to be a healthful lifestyle. What they don’t tell you is that most of the positive results that we’ve seen with weight loss interventions usually disappear over time, and could instead lead to weight gain over time. Besides being inevitably unsustainable, dieting has the potential to lead to more harmful side effects like food and body preoccupation, poor body image, eating disorders, weight cycling and more. This is a billion dollar industry that has constant profits, regardless of whether or not you succeed, and is almost dependent on you being unsuccessful.

Another issue is that the motives behind striving for these body and/or weight related goals is that they tend to be rooted in guilt and shame. However, studies have shown that those who feel ok about their bodies, no matter what they look like, are more likely to make health promoting behavior changes and stick to them. Additionally, most markers of health can be improved just by changing our behaviors, regardless of weight being lost.

So, when we shift our focus away from solely trying to change what our bodies look like, we can instead set resolutions that truly honor our overall health and well being. Here are some examples of alternative new year's resolutions:

  • Aim to get 8 hours of sleep at least 5 days per week.
  • Wake up at 7am at least 3x per week.
  • Experiment with trying one new form of exercise/movement every week to see what you like. ​​​​​​​
  • Try 1 new recipe every month.
  • Grocery shop at least once per week.
  • Meditate for 10 minutes at least 3 days per week.
  • Begin every morning with 5 minutes of gratitude.
  • Minimize screen time to a max of 1 hour each day.
  • Unfollow any social media accounts that do not make you feel good about yourself.
  • Spend more time outside.
  • Join a club or start a new hobby.
  • Stay better organized with consistent use of a planner or schedule.
  • Maintain a decluttered workspace.
  • I will let my body rest, when it is telling me that I need to rest.
  • I will no longer force myself to be a part of things that do not serve my mental and emotional wellbeing.
  • Dedicating more time to myself and self care.
  • Read 1 new book each month.
  • End every night with 5-10 minutes of journaling.
  • Practice more patience and kindness with yourself.


We can practice self care and honor our health in so many ways, and that should never come at the expense of our mental and emotional well being! The truth is that our weight says very little about our health and we are not good or bad based on our food choices. So, please be kind to yourself and remember that you are allowed to enjoy your food and you are worthy and deserve respect no matter what you look like.

I hope you find these new years resolution examples to be helpful. I am wishing you all a safe and happy new year full of lots of self care and success!

If you are interested in learning more about body image and the science behind debunking diets, then please check out our other blog posts titled “If I told you diets don’t work… would you believe me?” and “What social media gets wrong about body image.”