New Year’s Resolutions
I wish this time of the year was more of a celebration of intentions and not resolutions. A resolution is a decision to not do something. An intention is having in mind a purpose or a goal. Do you see the difference? Resolutions are usually about willpower, determination, and are very specific. Intentions are gentle, compassionate, and are composed of a flexible plan.
A quick Google search showed me that losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution. When I learned about New Year’s resolutions in my teens, it was always about going to the gym more, starting a diet, and losing weight. I thought my body was bad, that I wasn’t eating healthy enough, and that I needed to go to the gym more in order to look different from the year before. I feel captive to calories in and out, numbers, clothing size, weight, and the gym.
I move consistently, not just this time of the year. Today at the gym, I found myself so annoyed because it was busier than usual. My assumption is it had to do with the resolutions people have made to lose weight. I actually found myself feeling superior because I move consistently, and others were just starting today and probably won’t last past February. Honestly, everyone deserves to come to the gym anytime they want and for any reason. I need to do my own work around this obviously! Trust me I’m very curious about this judgy thought!
I found myself sad too. As I was walking down the hallway to leave, I heard a woman in her 60’s say to her friend, “I have to get my exercise in. I have lost ‘x’ pounds of the ‘x’ pounds I gained while in Mexico.” I wanted to stop and say to the lovely woman, that the body doesn’t work that way, stay off the scale, move when your body wants to, eat what your body wants, and all body sizes are good bodies.
I’m not a doctor or a dietitian. There might actually be true medical reasons people need to lose weight that aren’t associated with diet culture and fatphobia. I truly don’t know. What I do know is the diet culture industry profits and makes it’s money by making you and me feel insecure, bad, and wrong about your body and what you eat and how you move. Diet culture says “fat” is bad instead of “fat” just being a descriptor like “tall”, “short”, or “thin”. Diet culture assigns morality to foods and calls them good or bad. Then if you eat good foods, you are good and if you eat bad foods, you are bad (and fat, and fat is bad).
I hope this year, you know that it is like any other day of the year. Our culture markets the New Year for profit. You don’t have to lose weight, you don’t have to go to the gym, and you definitely do not have to go on a diet. Instead of making resolutions, sit down in a quiet place. Check in with yourself and what you truly want to explore, get curious about, and maybe change in your life. Maybe it’s your relationship with food, body, and movement. Maybe it’s your mental health and finding a therapist. Maybe it has nothing to do with diet culture and mental health. Perhaps it is changing your job, starting a business, deepening your relationships, going back to school, trying online dating, or meeting new friends. You fill in the blank!
Don’t let diet culture shrink you or the space you are allowed to take up in the world!
What are your intentions, and not just during the New Year season?