The above blurb is one that I would love for people to read over and over again. It comes from Ellyn Satter's Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family: How to Eat, How to Raise Good Eaters, How to Cook. Ellyn's work was first introduced to me in college by a mentor of mine and as I was preparing for an upcoming presentation on Female Athletes Over The Lifespan, I wanted to dive back into this book.
The above blurb emphasizes why it's quite silly to go on a diet anytime, let alone the first of a new year. You'll hear people argue that, "Some people's health could benefit from losing weight"... But is that factual? Is it really the weight loss that leads to the health improvement? Ellyn's book, and the research on this topic all support the answer of.... NO.
I see this time and time again in my work, individuals thinking that if they "just lost 10#", life would get exponentially better. The times that that has actually happened, I can't even count on one finger. Instead, it often leads to a cycle of restricting and binging, which then leads to weight cycling and weight cycling has been shown to even more harmful to our health than high body weight. As Ellyn says in her book, "Many Americans report that they eat “healthy foods” and then indulge in snacks or pleasurable foods “as rewards”. Normalizing and incorporating our “forbidden foods” into our daily eating pattern takes them off of the pedestal.
I often talk to colleagues about the idea of "achieving health". Diet culture makes it seem so hard when it can actually be rather simple*... Leaning into our body's innate ability to regulate itself. So this is my call to you, to not start on a diet this New Year. You want to improve your health? Eat consistent and adequate meals (Yes, that means ~3 meals and 1-3 snacks) throughout the day, get enough sleep (7-8 hours for most adults) and move for you body often, in ways that feel good to you.
*Please note that I recognize the idea of "simple" can only be said from a place of privilege and I do recognize that individuals, everyday, experience racism, discrimination and oppression which does not make this "simple" at all.