I’m honored to be included in a group of kick ass women in a Mashable piece about New Year’s Resolutions and the pressure to lose weight. The weight loss industry tries to sell us this whole “New Year, New You” BS because they know that even though it’s a new year, it’s the same old them, with a product that is so ineffective that deceptive trade lawsuit rulings force them to remind us that their product doesn’t work every single time they advertise it.
So instead of being honest that most people can lose weight in the short term, and almost all of them will regain the weight in the long term, they continue to take credit for the weight loss part of the equation, and try to get us to blame ourselves for weight gain, then encourage us to resolve to try their ridiculous product again (27th time’s the charm!) But, as the fabulous women in the Mashable article make clear, we can opt out of this. So if not weight loss, then what? Here are some New Year’s Resolutions that might actually stick:
- Resolve to make your first thought of every day one of gratitude for your body, maybe put a note on your ceiling, or bathroom mirror that reminds you to start each day being grateful to your body for something. If you need a little help finding the love, this might help. (And if there are things that our bodies can’t/don’t do – or things they do that we wish they wouldn’t – maybe we can say “That totally sucks” and then try to make it us and our bodies against a problem, rather than us against our bodies.)
- Create a little mantra to say to yourself (or out loud if you want to) every time you hear a message that’s meant to make you feel bad about yourself so that you buy a product. My personal mantra is “Hey, that’s bullshit!” but you create one that works for you, and feel free to share it in the comments if you’d like!
- Resolve to stop participating in negative body talk – about other people, and your own body. Start with what comes out of your own brain/mouth (when you start to have a negative thought or utterance, replace it with something positive), and then consider the conversations that you are part of. Maybe when others start body snarking you just walk away, or maybe you say “I wish we could live in a world where we saw the beauty in everyone and didn’t try to tear other people down,” or maybe you say “I made a New Year’s Revolution to stop negative body talk, I’m just not interested in being part of a toxic culture any more.”
- Resolve to do one piece of activism every week (or day, or month, or whatever) it could be something as simple as posting something body positive to your social media, or interrupting negative body talk, or writing an e-mail to a company that is using the creation of self-loathing as a marketing tactic, or sending a thank you letter to someone who supports you on your journey to size acceptance, or posting a body positive comment to a body negative space online.
- Resolve to reach out and join/create community – join/create a body positive club at your school or work, join/create a body positive meet-up or Facebook group, subscribe to blogs/tumblrs/instagrams etc. who supports your goals
- If you are choosing health goals, consider making them about behaviors, consider making them additive (an extra glass of water, or serving of vegetables, or hour of sleep a night) rather than choosing “never to do/eat/be [whatever] again”.
- Resolve to cut yourself some slack if you aren’t able to do these goals 100% of the time. We’re pushing back against a tremendous amount of time, money, and energy that is invested in convincing us to buy into a culture where self-loathing is the norm, and where we see buying diet and beauty products as our only way out. So if we slip back into this mentality it’s not a big shock – I think that the best thing we can do when it happens is recognize it and move on.
- Don’t make any resolutions. Seriously, you are under no obligation to participate in this. If this doesn’t feel like a good time to be making resolutions/changes/etc. then it’s ok to just chuck the whole thing.
The diet and beauty industry machine that oppresses us runs on our time, energy, and money. When we take the fuel away, the machine ceases to run. That’s going to happen, but it’s going to take some time. For now we can help change the whole world by changing our world, and staging a personal New Year’s Revolution.
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