Why Experts Warn Against Weight-Centric New Year's Resolutions

Making New Year's resolutions has become a cultural phenomenon. While the resolutions may change throughout the years, many goals have stayed the same. Weight loss and creating a healthy lifestyle are almost always at the top of New Year's resolutions, and that won't change come 2023.


According to a survey conducted by Statista, the majority of 2023 resolutions once again focus on losing weight. The top three most popular resolutions for Americans come the new year are to exercise more, eat healthier, and lose weight.

It's no surprise that New Year's resolutions are often about weight loss. USA Today highlights that Americans are hyper-focused on how they look, and with fatphobia and diet culture still prevalent, focusing on weight loss is believed to be important for many people, especially as resolution season comes around.

However, some experts warn that making New Year's resolutions centered around health and weight loss can actually be doing more harm than good.

Focusing on the scale can be harmful for your mental health

When it comes to creating successful New Year's resolutions this year, experts are suggesting you stay away from creating ones focused on weight loss. In fact, the British Dietetic Association has issued a warning against doing so with dietitians stating focusing on losing weight can be psychologically harmful (per Telegraph).


Online therapy resource, Talk Space, has also echoed these sentiments. While they state that having goals for your health can be helpful, focusing too much on the number of pounds lost can be damaging to your mental health.

"The scale can be confusing. When you step on a scale, it's not going to tell you what percentage is fat and which is muscle. It's also not going to tell you if you're healthy or fit," Talk Space's Ashley Laderer writes. "Most importantly, it is not an indication of your self-worth! Negative self-esteem and 'thin ideal internalization are contributing risk factors for eating disorders, which can be extremely dangerous. Even if disordered eating does not occur, poor body image can be damaging and have lasting consequences."


Instead, try making more positive resolutions. If exercise is what you're after, try something like "I will move my body for 30 minutes each day." If you're focused on food, try a resolution like "I will have a vegetable with every meal." These are more positive and less focused on a number on the scale.