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vjoliv0's picture Vanessa Oliver, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian
College or Department
Lancaster Aquatics Center, room 170
Email Address

We've all heard the expression that hindsight is 2020, but have you ever thought about what this saying is well...saying? Hindsight is literally the understanding of something after it's occurred, and usually the inference is that the "something" was not understood while it was happening. So looking at the saying this way makes it super relevant for me...I FOR SURE feel like I didn't know what the heck was going on in 2020.
So, YAY! 2021! Everything is gonna be smooth sailing, right???


2021 will be what it will be, but we can all work together to improve our time on this earth. We can all do our best to make our years matter in ways that work for us and for the rest of society. For many of us, this may involve practicing a few shifts in perspective.

One shift can be how we personally look at measures of health and wellness. For so long, and especially at this time of year, health has often been defined by weight and wellness goals have been often centered around changing body size. Progress toward both of these goals are often measured on the scale. Now, I'm not saying that that having health and wellness goals are a bad idea! Nor am I shaming anyone who wants to change their weight. I'm just tired of seeing progress being measured in a singular manner.

When we use the scale to measure progress, we promote unhealthful and frankly, unhelpful attitudes and messages about food, eating, and self-image.
"But haaaaaang on there, Vanessa," (yup, I can hear you through the internet!) "what else am I going to use to measure my successes?"
Well, I've got you. Here are 5 non-scale-related ways to measure progress toward your health goals:

  1. You have more energy. Pay attention to what foods make you feel your best. Practicing connection with your body's hunger and fullness levels can help you recognize which foods fuel your energy levels (and which don't). This is an ongoing conversation with your body!
  2. You find new ways of coping with emotions. When you see your emotions for what they are and welcome them into being, they are no longer masked as hunger and you will no longer use food as your primary emotional coping mechanism.
  3. Your cravings decrease. When your body learns that you will feed it when it is physically hungry and that there is no such thing as an "off-limits" food, your cravings will start to subside.
  4. You exercise for fun. You engage in intentional movement because it brings you joy, not because you feel like you have to punish yourself for eating. What kind of movement do you like the most? Do that one.
  5. You have more confidence. As you start shifting your perspective and definitions of success, you will naturally feel more valuable. This value and self-worth will translate as confidence in all aspects of your life.

Let's work together on shifting our perspective and definitions of success! Happy 2021.