A Dietitian’s Letter to the Month of January

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Dear January,

I see your visit is coming up quickly. I’m excited to see you again, and looking forward to the gift of a new year that you always bring. Every year your arrival fills me with anticipation and ideas for how we can spend our time together (remember our conversation about the “fresh start effect”?). What do you think about making a few changes for your stay this year? Here’s what I have in mind…

Let’s keep expectations reasonable

January, I love your enthusiasm for starting new things, but sometimes it feels too pressured. I don’t want to have to reinvent myself or start eating or exercising in ways that just don’t mesh with who I am. This year, let’s take everything down a notch and focus on establishing healthy habits without feeling guilty about what might have happened in December. I’ve done a bit or research on this and it seems that if we start with some realistic, measurable goals and choose to focus on one or just a couple of things to work on, we’ll avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Please leave your baggage at home

Thinking back, I realize that you arrive with a lot of baggage. It’s more than anyone needs, and I end up lugging it around all month. Let’s just skip bringing all those diet books, products, and powders that you seem to like. I won’t be doing any of those things, since crash dieting doesn’t work long-term anyhow. Instead, I will plan to prepare us tasty, healthy, balanced meals we will enjoy. I’ve already got some menu ideas! Those, plus the essentials like water and other healthy beverages (plus comfy PJs of course) are probably all we need to make it through the month.

Let’s prioritize mental wellness

January, I’m sure you want to feel great during your visit, so let’s not forget that mental wellness is as important as our physical wellness. Our mood and mental health is linked to nutrition, so let’s eat well, sleep well, move our bodies in ways that are fun, de-stress and enjoy this snuggly month together. Taken together, all of these things contribute toward mental wellbeing. 

Leave the activity schedule to me

I usually let you call the shots and dictate how our weeks will be spent, but remember a few years back when you made us hit the gym every day of the month? Or that year when you filled every weekend with outside activities in hopes that some of it would “convert” me to a winter sports-loving person? You do know that exercise is not the key to slimming down, so why don’t we skip the rigid exercise rules this year. Instead, we’ll find some pleasurable, low-key activities we both enjoy. Deal?

I hope this all sounds good to you, January! I think having a new approach to the beginning of the year will help us not just survive, but thrive during our month together.

Most sincerely,
Kitty Broihier