Out with the Old, In with the New

By Michelle May, M.D.

Clearing the clutterAfter raising two kids and two puppies in our home, it was definitely time for new carpeting! Since we had decided to skip Christmas this year, December seemed the perfect time to do it.

However, I underestimated the size of the project! We had to completely empty six rooms—our living room, two bedrooms, two offices, and our master closet—into our hallways, dining room, and kitchen. It was overwhelming to see all our “stuff” piled up like that, but we decided that it was the perfect opportunity to decide what we really wanted to put back in.

I carefully considered whether each piece of clothing, furniture, knick-knack, and folder was really serving us. Many things had been in place for so long that we didn’t notice they weren’t working for us anymore. While it was a bit disconcerting to finally get rid of things that we’d lived with for a long time, it felt good to create space for what we really wanted.

New Year’s Intentions

That’s what I like about the New Year too. While I refuse to participate in the whole resolve-to-diet-and-lose-weight thing, I love the opportunity to take stock of different areas of my life. At the beginning of the year, I consciously evaluate what’s working and what’s not, set a fresh intention to create the life I want, and decide on a few focus areas that will bring me closer to that intention.

A “New” Diet is the Same Old Thing

As you consider what’s working for you and what’s not, I hope you will think about your relationship with food

For many of the people we work with, their old habit was to set a New Year’s resolution to start a new diet. But a “new” diet isn’t really new, is it? It is like rearranging old furniture and knick-knacks; it might feel new for a short period of time, but before long, you realize that nothing has really changed.

Clear the Clutter

Pause to notice whether any of these old habits are cluttering up your life.

  • You start a new diet in January (and many Mondays), full of enthusiasm and commitment, only to find yourself struggling to stick with it.
  • You love to eat but feel guilty for eating foods you’ve heard are “bad.”
  • You eat differently in private than you do in public.
  • You resist certain foods or ingredients, then overeat them when your willpower runs out.
  • You keep looking for the “right” diet, but end up feeling discouraged and bad about yourself.
  • You think about food and eating (or not eating) more than seems “normal.”
  • You spend too much time weighing, measuring, counting, and logging food, then quit all that and spend too much time feeling too full and guilty!

If you are ready to throw out the old and create space for a new relationship with food, mindful eating isn’t based on record-keeping, deprivation, or willpower. Instead, you learn how to use your awareness of your physical sensations, thoughts, and feelings to guide your eating, physical activity, and self-care.

I know it sounds like a big job, but we’ve been helping people do exactly that for 18 years! I know what a huge difference it will make in your life, and trust me, new carpet doesn’t even come close!

Want more like this? Free download: 101 Things to Do Besides Eat when you subscribe to our Mindful Eating E-Newsletter!

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