It’s that time of year again, we are being pressured everywhere we look to lose weight. Tons of offers for weight loss products and plans. It can be hard to resist the urge. The beginning of a diet holds so much promise – maybe this time it might work, and I’ll be thin and all of my problems will go away and I’ll solve social stigma by changing myself!
Except we know good and well that the most likely outcome is that we’ll lose weight in the beginning and then slowly gain it back plus more. It’s not your imagination, it’s what happens the vast majority of the time. So this year, I’m going to pass on resolving to feed my body less food than it needs in the hopes that it will eat itself and become smaller. In the world we live in, waking up and not hating yourself is a revolutionary act. Here are some ideas for a New Year’s Revolution:
1. Add something. I don’t know about you but I spent a lot of time giving things up, making resolutions about what I was not going to do, doing diets that restricted certain foods or entire food groups. Things really shifted for me when I turned health into an additive process – another serving of vegetables, another glass of water, another day of movement etc.
2. While you’re doing all of that adding, here’s something to consider subtracting: negative body talk – including your own body. Become conscious of your thoughts, interrupt negative thoughts about bodies (including yours) and replace them with positive thoughts. Try this quick exercise to get started.
3. Fight back. Sometimes activism is about changing the world, but sometimes it’s about making ourselves feel better because we know that we’ve stood up to the bully. This can take so many forms – post something body positive on your Social Media, comment on social media when you see something you don’t think is right, call ahead and ask the restaurant if they have armless chairs, call out fat shaming when you see it, tell that friend or family member that conversations about your weight are off limits, start a petition. If there’s anything that I can do to support you, e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org.
4. Find and Create Community. There is amazing Size Acceptance community online, and you can look for local community as well. Check out meet-ups (or start a meet-up of your own), get a couple plus-sized friends and stage a fat clothing exchange, create a support network (online, in person, or both) that you can share the good times and victories with, and turn to when things get tough.
5. Come out. Ok, if you come out as fat people are likely to think that you had a few too many glasses of champagne at the New Year’s Party. I’m talking about coming out as being part of Size Acceptance and/or practicing Health at Every Size, or resolving never to diet again. I am still shocked at the number of people I meet who are dieting even though it doesn’t work and hating their bodies because they just don’t know there is another option. Obviously nobody is ever required to come out, but by doing so we create new options for people. Of course they get to make their own decisions (just like we do) but you never know when you might give someone an option that they will take and use to make their lives so much better. Plus, being “out” is another way to tell the bullies that they can’t have our lunch money anymore.
Whatever you do, know that the world is seriously screwed up and you are fine, and that resolving not to hate yourself, not matter how you go about it, makes you a revolutionary!
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