Here’s A New Year’s Resolution: Never Diet Again.

On December 23, 2013, around 11:37pm, I wrote the last sentence of my manuscript for The YU Book. I hit “save” for the millionth time, stood up from my chair, shuffled downstairs and did the only thing that felt right at the moment—make a hot cocoa. I climbed back up the stairs with my favorite yellow teacup in hand, and instead of sitting back in my desk chair like I had been routinely doing since July, I just sat on the floor, feeling a welcome lightness fill my body. I took a conscious deep breath that reached all the way to my toes. Then another.

I did it.

I wrote a book for YU.

YumUniverse: I did it. I wrote a book for YU.

I spent Christmas Eve day doing a long overdue (like months overdue) super clean of my home, you probably know the kind I mean. Where you move everything, dust everything, wipe everything, vacuum everything, organize everything inside and out. By the early evening, all the “everythings” that had been put on hold for too long, were sorted out. Ah, more lightness.

Clean and fresh

Let the holiday get-togethers, cookies, mini pies, champagne and crackling fires begin.

Pies & Fire

I had set a goal: finish the manuscript before Christmas. And I did. But…

… Many times while writing, it didn’t seem remotely possible that I would ever finish. I had effortless days and also stretches where I felt like I was walking through mud. Up to my waist. I watched the seasons change mostly through my office window despite my best efforts to get outside as much as possible. I had people who needed things from me and I just couldn’t deliver, but I only indulged in being hard on myself about it for a little while. Because in my heart, I knew that I was doing my absolute best and feeling guilty wouldn’t help me finish any sooner or stronger. One day at a time. One step at a time.

Seasons

I had to make wrong turns like spending months working tirelessly on a particular section of the book, only when it was done to muster the courage to admit to myself that “I have to completely rewrite that. All 70+ pages.” (It happened again a month later, too. Ouch.) I had to let go and put things on hold, like posting to the blog and sharing more regularly on Facebook and in newsletters. I can’t think of many undertakings in my life where I’ve felt so excited, scared, drained, energized, vulnerable and proud all at the same time.

But here’s what I’ve learned. Anything that has the potential to make a difference—to others or to your life—is going to be uncomfortable. It’s because what you’re doing matters.

If you’re new to this site, you probably want to lose weight, get in shape, sleep better, improve skin, prevent disease, heal digestive issues or you want to continue eating delicious food even though you have a allergies/sensitivities, Celiac disease or reasons for avoiding meat and dairy. All are great reasons for considering a plant-based diet—it can do all of that and more for you. But I want to clarify, when I use the term “diet,” I mean what we eat for a lifetime. Not the conventional idea of eating a particular way for a limited time where by the end of it you resent the diet and feel like a failure. If we’re honest with ourselves, diets don’t work and we know it.

Going plant-powerful is a lifestyle change. So if you’re serious about feeling healthier and happier than you ever have, make your resolution to never diet again.

Instead…

Make a commitment to begin a wellness adventure that will last a lifetime. And know that like any great adventure, it includes wrong turns, detours and unexpected obstacles—it’s all part of a memorable journey. Instead of using these challenges as an excuse to quit, respect them as the lessons that can help you forge ahead smarter each time.

This is how resolutions stick. Before you begin, if you understand that mistakes will be made, momentum will wax and wane, and if you just take one step at a time, eventually you’ll arrive at your goal. Change won’t happen overnight. It takes time.

I can’t tell you that it’s going to be easy, but I can tell you that it’s going to be worth it. If you want sustainable health (not just losing 10 lbs only to put it back on and then some in March), you have to do more than set a goal. You have to change your mindset. You have to prioritize. You have to address unhealthful routines (pick up the The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg to help you reach beyond willpower to change habits). You have to let go of the cultural sham that quick, easy and convenient makes our lives better. That’s a lie marketers tell us, that we in turn tell ourselves. In a nutshell, you have to be accountable for your health in order to change it. Again, take those baby steps.

Instead of turning your entire routine upside down on January 1, do something small. One thing. Add one green smoothie or one new plant-based recipe to your existing weekly routine. Instead of focusing on what to take away, add more good stuff in and eventually, the bad stuff (habits, foods), including excess weight, will drop off. Get used to one new change at a time until it’s routine. THEN, and only then, add a new change goal. Repeat. If you derail, or lose momentum. Feel it. Let it happen. It will pass. Momentum is like a muscle, it needs rest. Then you can dust the cookie crumbs off your chest and get back on track. Be kind to yourself. Making mistakes means that you’re trying. One change at a time builds a new lifestyle.

Shoot for a resolution that will make you feel good. Not sure if it’s the right one? Ask yourself, “in two months, if I hit a wall, would I feel relieved or disappointed if that goal was removed from my life?” If it’s the latter, it’s a good choice. It matters.

Now, I want to know, what’s one small thing you’d like to change? How can I help YU achieve it? Tell me with a comment below.

Here’s to 2014 loves, I think it’s going to be a great year for us!

Read the comments or add yours.

Comment Rules

  1. Mary Nielsen

    You’re always so inspiring, Heather! I agree 100% with your message in this post. I have been 95% plant based for 2013 and am absolutely committed to eating a whole food, plant based diet (and I use the term diet as meaning my ongoing lifestyle). I had mentioned in a post previously my issues with high FODMAP foods, so my goal is to go through my favorite recipes and come up with some plant based substitutions for the things I’ve identified that give me problems. Already it is going very well and all my issues have disappeared. I can’t wait for your book to come out. Hopefully it will be released in Canada at the same time as your US launch 🙂

  2. Congratulations!!! You finished! How exciting. I’ll be the first to buy it. Now breathe some wintry air and let that brain of yours rest for a while. You deserve it!

  3. Thanks for writing this! My new year’s resolution is to transition to a plant-based lifestyle and your post is so encouraging. It’s what I needed to read as a reminder that I’m doing the right thing for my health 🙂

    • Heather Crosby

      Have fun with it all, Joanne! x

  4. Bravo, Heather!!! Thank you for sharing your journey. I am so glad you are here.

  5. Jennifer

    I’m at a point finally, sadly, that I just feel scared about my health. I take Xanax to just to allow me to sleep. I want to be around as long as possible. I have grown children and a 6 year old. I want to play with her, have adventures with her, run with her. Right now, all that is hard to do. I need to lose 80 lbs. My little girl was sad that I wasn’t swimming with her at the lake this summer-I was too embarrassed. A couple of times in my life when I was primarily plant based, I felt like a million bucks! I’m ready to have that back. I love your website. I will find a way to become a member eventually. In the meantime, I’ll keep reading and loving the free parts of your website. You are just beautiful, healthy, vibrant… everything I know I can be again if I allow myself. Thank you for all the inspiration.

    • Heather Crosby

      Jennifer,
      Thanks for being so honest and open with us. Remember, small steps so you don’t resent the change, and so the change has a chance to become a new routine. We all end up at the point where we need to make changes and we bring with us a unique, compounded set of reasons why we ended up there. Like an onion, just peel back one layer at a time. Look at it carefully. Write down how you think you can turn that old habit into a healthful one. For example, just make one new plant-based recipe a week until you don’t have to even read the instructions anymore. Then add another. Remember, falling off track and making mistakes are part of this journey. How else will we have a basis for comparison? Derailments are teachers and the best thing we can do is be kind to ourselves on this journey. You see me as “vibrant, beautiful and healthy” only because it’s in YU, too. We are all on this wellness adventure together, I fall off track and dust myself off just like everyone else. Success is measured by getting back on board faster and faster each time we do.

      Especially during stressful times, I struggle with falling asleep, too. An epsom salt bath before bed helps. So does drinking CALM powder in water throughout the day. Melatonin and GABA can also help taken before bedtime (check with your doc for the ok here, not sure about prescription interactions). You can do this. Hearts, H

  6. congrats! i can’t wait to get my hands on the book…

    • Heather Crosby

      Thanks Crista! x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *