Why Resolution Season Has a Different Tone This Year

Resolution season

Please note: This blog post was originally written and published by Ted Kyle, RPh, MBA of ConscienHealth. Kyle is a National Board Member of the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), Producer the Your Weight Matters Campaign. 

Maybe you’ve noticed. Resolution season has a different tone this year. The assault from popular media has made a shift. In fact, many of the headlines are not about diets and weight loss this year. Instead, they’re about healthy habits and lasting changes.

After all that we’ve been through, people simply don’t have much appetite for weight loss nonsense anymore.

Diets Are Down

In one sense, this is nothing new. The notion that diet is a four-letter word has been with us for some time. For more than a decade, dieting has been losing favor. Healthy lifestyles became the preferred term of art.

But there was always a bit of tension for many people. They were still ready to glom onto something new. First it was low-carb and paleo diets. Then keto and intermittent fasting were hot. In fact, those were the two most searched diets in 2020. However, they now sit on top of a declining category. Interest in ketogenic diets is down by a third from what it was a year ago. Even for Noom, which positions itself as an anti-diet program, interest is down as well. WW dropped weight watching from its identity two years ago because of all this.

We’ve seen this coming for a long time. But it took a pandemic to make us serious about putting health first – instead of weight loss.

Healthy Habits, Lasting Changes

What the pandemic has done is to force change upon us. Though our outgoing president didn’t like it, the CDC’s Nancy Messonnier told us plainly back in February. She predicted “significant disruption” that would reshape our lives. Oddly enough, some of those changes have been good.

So Tara Parker Pope tells us to take a very different approach to resolution season. In fact, she says we should forget about resolutions and adopt a strategy of reflection for the new year:

“By reflecting on the lessons of the past year, we can stack and build on the good habits we started in 2020. Maybe that involved figuring out new ways to exercise when gyms were closed, strengthening friendships forged through our social bubbles, organizing our homes for 24-7 living and learning, learning to cook healthier meals or making ourselves accountable for the care of others.”

We like it. Building upon the good habits we have is a beautiful way to reject an ugly history of self-stigmatizing resolutions. We don’t need to reject what we’ve been. We can gain better health by embracing our strengths and adding new ones. These are strengths that can endure through inevitable hard times.

Indeed this season of resolutions looks very different and very much better than anything we’ve experienced in the past.

Click here for more on this strategy from Pope and here for further perspective on building healthier habits from Shankar Vedantam and the Hidden Brain.

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