To resolve or not to resolve...that is the question.
After 20 months that have seen the the majority of Americans pack on the pandemic pounds, whether from loneliness, loss, or uncertainty, the stress and anxiety of New Years Resolutions are looming just around the corner more so this year than any other past year.
The in your face surge of New Year, New You programs, fad diets and other promotions of toxic diet culture are forging their way in to the next two weeks full speed ahead. Promises of your ideal body by summer, promises of more confidence, promises of less pounds and less inches whispering sweet nothings in to our vulnerable little ears. Despite our need to firmly grasp on to the false hopes of resolutions, we must pry ourselves from the grips of archaic, toxic, extreme diet methods that rarely hold the test of time.
This year, much different than no other, the majority of resolutions revolve around three primary goals: lose weight, exercise more, and eat more healthy. Why are we always drawn to these resolutions? Is it the promise that sticking to these resolutions will give us the unrealistic bodies society expects us to obtain and we so subsequently desire? Is it because marketing moguls have convinced us the shape of our body determines our happiness, success, and fulfillment and if we just “stick to our resolutions,” we’ll finally be living our best lives…as to imply we’re currently living our worst lives? The promise of the perfect body with restrictive eating not only defies the principals of Psychology 101, but, preys on those of us with guilt and shame complexes. Regardless of what diet culture wants you to believe, eating less to lose more, obsessive cardio, restrictions of entire food groups, and meal replacement shakes have absolutely very little to do with achieving a healthy lifestyle.
One of the very few resources companies in the game of diet culture fail to promote is that of our own body. Our own bodies tell us everything we need to know about our health, about our nutrition, about our physical fitness, and when we’re hungry. There’s no need to track down the latest fitness influencer, the highest selling diet plan, or the newest YouTube doctor. Simply put…our stomachs tell us when they’re hungry. Our muscles tells us when we need to move. Our brain tell us when we need to sleep. Just because Instagram told you to rise and shine at 4 am to run 6 miles on an empty stomach and throw back 42 supplements doesn’t mean it’s what your body needs.
Here’s the thing…none of the aforementioned is what is going to help you to “resolve to be better and do better.” In order to get to the be better and do better part of this resolve, first we need to dig a little deeper to figure out what’s led us to this point of gripping to the edge of resolutions. What is it about our bodies and our brains that have consistently whispered in our ear “you’re not good enough.” We have to become aware of not only what makes us feel bad, but what helps us feel good. There’s no one size fits all self loathing cure that works for everyone. We have to do deeply on this one, friends.
As we are all about to be inundated with posts about resolutions, posts about how to lose 12 pounds in 12 days, posts about how to lose 30 pounds in three weeks by only eating onion skin, remember…learn what YOUR journey will require to be successful. Maybe it’s more sleep, maybe it is accountability from a friend, maybe it’s someone to cheer you on. Whatever it is, your body will know much better than the latest instagram influencer.
Accept that weight loss is not a linear process…that you will not lose 12 pounds in 12 days without pitfalls or frustrations. Normalize that regardless of what TikTok says, our bodies will age and our bodies will change. Normalize our weight will fluctuate. Normalize listening to your body instead of the newest, hippest online influencer.
Lastly…defy diet culture. Refuse fad diets. Refuse counting and tracking every calorie. Refuse feeling guilty for listening to your body when it’s hungry. Refuse to compare your body to someone else’s. By subsequently avoiding the social media trends and toxic diet culture traits, you’re saying you value yourself for FAR MORE than your appearance.
So if you must resolve, resolve to understand…resolve to understand how to respect your body. Resolve to seek to understand the actions, emotions, and foods that bring you not only distress, but the ones the put you at peace. You are your best advocate. If nothing else, resolve to root for yourself. Ring in the new year as your number one fan…I’ll be right beside you as your number 2.