8 Un-Resolutions to Fight Diet Culture and Other Harmful Health Trends

Sometimes what you don't do is more important than what you do do
By Deanna deBara, Healthline
January 20, 2019 Updated: January 21, 2019
Let this be your un-resolution year.

Whenever January 1 rolls around, making New Year’s resolutions just seems like the right thing to do.

But the truth is, New Year’s resolutions don’t often work. When it comes to your health, trying to make huge, dramatic changes can actually set you up for failure, whether it’s January or any time of the year.

What could work for you this year is changing your mindset. Find new rules to live by and change the way you think of yourself and your health.

Or, in other words, make promises to yourself about things you’re not going to do in 2019—and enjoy happier health as a result.

Un-Resolution #1: I Won’t Go On a Diet

If you’ve ever spent the first two weeks of January drinking nothing but kale juice or avoiding carbs, listen up—diets don’t work. In 2019, it’s time to put an end to the ever persistent, completely ineffective diet culture.

Going on a restrictive diet, or a detox or juice cleanse, is unsustainable and it is likely that any weight you lose will return.

An older study found that three years after successfully completing a weight loss program, only 12 percent of dieters kept off at least 75 percent of the weight they’d lost—and a whopping 40 percent actually gained back more than they’d lost during the program.

Remember: Drop the word “diet.” Drastic food changes aren’t helpful or fun. If you do want to make healthy, sustainable changes to how you eat, go for it—but do it intuitively to make health an instinct, not a trend.

Un-Resolution #2: I Won’t Buy Into Any ‘Natural Health’ Fads

There are hundreds of natural health fads out there that claim to offer a miracle cure for all sorts of ailments, from sexual dysfunction to anxiety to digestive issues.

But just because a fad is all over the internet or has a celebrity endorsement (we’re looking at you, Goop) doesn’t mean there’s any actual science to back up those claims. In fact, many of the fads out there can do your body more harm than good.

Remember: Natural can be bad but you’re the expert of you. Do your research and make sure whatever approach you take is backed by science.

Un-Resolution #3: I Won’t Compare My Real Life to Social Media

If you’re on social media, you probably think everyone is leading a perfect life filled with epic travels, perfect families, and #allthebrunches with bottomless mimosas.

But we’ve got a news flash for you—people just post the good stuff.

It’s like a highlight reel, and when you compare your real life to someone else’s highlight reel, it’s easy to feel like you don’t quite measure up, which can wreak havoc on your mental health. Too much time on social media comparing yourself to what you see has been shown to increase depression and loneliness.

Remember: You don’t have to keep scrolling. Do yourself and your mental health a favor and stop comparing yourself to what you see on social media. It’s not helpful, and when you stop doing it, you’re going to feel a whole lot better.

Un-Resolution #4: I Won’t Force Myself to Do a Workout I Hate

Just because your trainer/friend/mom/Instagram said it’s good for you doesn’t mean it automatically is.

If you hate a particular type of workout, it doesn’t matter how effective it is—sticking with it will be pretty hard. Eventually, you’ll find a reason to give up and watch any results disappear.

There are literally hundreds of things you can do to be active and you’re more likely to stick with an activity that you actually, you know, enjoy.

Find a workout plan that works for your schedule and body—and that you have fun doing. Play ball hockey, join a dance class, hike. In 2019, commit to never doing a workout you hate again—even if Instagram says you should.

Remember: “Good” is relative. Just because one person says it was good for them doesn’t mean it’s one size fits all. When it comes to fitness, the only thing that matters is you.

Un-Resolution #5: I Won’t Suffer Through Meals That I Actually Hate

Instead of force-feeding yourself meals that taste terrible, look for ways to incorporate healthy foods into your diet that make sense for you and your palate.

Does eating salad make you feel like a rabbit? That’s fine—just throw the greens into your fruit smoothie instead.

Can’t stomach the taste of salmon? No worries—sprinkle some chia or flax seeds on top of your morning oatmeal to get your dose of omega-3s.

The point is, there are plenty of ways to get the nutrition you need in foods that you actually enjoy—so don’t waste one more meal trying to get down foods you hate.

Remember: Health and happiness have more in common than you think. If a meal is making you miserable and you’re just eating it because someone said it’s healthy for you, it might not actually be.

Un-Resolution #6: I Won’t Download a Boatload of Apps

According to a recent study from UC Irvine, it takes over 23 minutes to refocus after a distraction. So that means every time your phone buzzes with a new message or notification, it’ll take you almost a half hour to get back to the level of focus before you were distracted.

You might be tempted to download a ton of apps that masquerade as helping you be more productive—from fitness tracking apps, to food tracking apps, to calendars—but the more apps you load onto your phone, the more interruptions you’ll experience throughout the day. This can destroy your focus—and your productivity right along with it.

Remember: You have more power than an app. Keeping interruptions to a minimum is key if you want to be productive. And if you want to keep interruptions to a minimum, you need to keep apps to a minimum, too.

Un-Resolution #7: I Won’t Strive to Wake Up at 5 a.m.

We get a lot of messages that the most productive or healthy people wake up at 4 or 5 a.m. to hit the gym before work. Or they skip a nap in order to squeeze in an extra workout.

But getting plenty of high-quality sleep is arguably the most important part of living a healthy lifestyle. It’ll make everything else you’re doing to stay healthy all the more effective. Getting plenty of high-quality sleep gives you the energy to push yourself in the gym, helps you control your appetite, and helps you make better food choices, and it can even help you live longer.

Remember: Your body has its own schedule. Don’t let anything—not even healthy habits—get in the way of a good night’s sleep. There’s no reason to revamp your sleep based on someone else’s life unless it’s truly worked for you in the past.

Un-Resolution #8: I Won’t Pretend #iwokeuplikethis

Thanks to Instagram and the #iwokeuplikethis hashtag, thousands of folks are walking around pretending they woke up with glowing skin and perfect hair.

But let’s be real, no one wakes up like that. For the rest of us, it takes work, so let’s stop pretending it doesn’t.

This year, continue taking the steps necessary to be your most beautiful self, whether that’s rocking the right skincare routine or drinking plenty of H2O for that natural glow.

Remember: It takes work to take care of yourself, so let’s stop pretending like it doesn’t. The less we pretend, the more authentic we can be—and what’s healthier than that?

Deanna deBara is a freelance writer. This article was originally published on Healthline.com