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Skipping New Years Resolutions

By Michelle May, M.D.

skipping-christmasWe skipped Christmas this year. My extended family members, 22 of us, are going on a New Year’s cruise, so we pared Christmas down to only the most meaningful celebrations: several parties with friends, holiday baking, an evening out to watch A Christmas Carol, gifts for my parents and our dog, a tiny tree with my grown children’s handmade ornaments, and some lovely meals.

Our lack of participation in the shopping frenzy didn’t stop the onslaught of advertising and “news” coverage about the latest toys, the newest electronics, and the hottest gifts. It made me acutely aware of how commercialized the holidays have become. Everyone with something to sell was harking their wares and hyping us up to get us to buy.

I noticed that I sometimes leafed through the ads in the paper and watched the commercials anyway, stirring up feelings that I can only describe as cravings. I wondered if I was missing out and if I should just buy a few things anyway. Years of conditioning didn’t dissolve in one season.

Truth is, I did give in and fill stockings with cruise-related items for our kids—sunscreen, a whale watching excursion, snacks for the drive over, and “cruise cash.” They were surprised and pleased, maybe even more so because the gifts were relevant and unexpected.

I was also pleasantly surprised to realize that I didn’t experience the let-down that I usually feel the day after Christmas. There was no mess to clean up, no gifts to absorb into an already full closet, no trips back to the mall to exchange unwanted items.

Then the New Year’s Resolution onslaught of advertising and “news” coverage began… the latest fad, the newest diet, and the hottest fitness trends. I am acutely aware of how commercialized New Year’s Resolutions have become. Everyone with something to sell is harking their wares and hyping us up to get us to buy.

Despite years of conditioning, I noticed that I no longer feel compelled to participate. The hype over New Year’s Resolutions no longer drives me to set weight loss goals and start a new diet. Instead, I just breathe (and sometimes roll my eyes). I don’t get caught up in the big lies that try to convince me that my happiness and health depend on following someone’s plan to a T. I also know that I won’t experience the inevitable let-down that followed every diet. No guilt, no bingeing, no promises to start over on Monday.

Skipping Christmas this year has fundamentally changed the way I think and feel about the holidays, just as mindful eating has fundamentally changed the way I think about eating and self-care. Truth is, I still set New Year’s Resolutions, but only meaningful ones. I want to learn something new, improve my relationships, finish my next book, and plan another trip. These are the things that bring me true health and happiness!

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About the author

Michelle May, M.D. is a recovered yo-yo dieter and the founder of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs and Training. She is the award-winning author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: A Mindful Eating Program to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle , winner of seven publishing awards. She is also the author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Binge Eating, and Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating for Bariatric Surgery. Michelle shares her compelling message and constructive keynotes with audiences around the country, offers workplace wellness programs, and has trained and licensed hundreds of health professionals to facilitate Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs worldwide. She has been featured on Dr. Oz, the Discovery Health Channel, and Oprah Radio, and quoted in Diabetic Living, Fitness, Health, Huffington Post, Parents, Self, USA Weekend, US News & World Report, WebMD and many others. Her personal success story was published in Chicken Soup for the Dieter's Soul. Michelle cherishes her relationships with her husband, Owen and grown children, Tyler and Elyse. She regularly enjoys practicing yoga and hiking near her home in Phoenix, Arizona. She and Owen, a professional chef, share a passion for gourmet and healthful cooking, wine tasting, photography, and traveling.

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