New Year’s Revolutions

Nothing to prove

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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Published in: on December 29, 2015 at 10:45 am  Comments (7)  

7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. A friend asked on Facebook recently for suggestions along these lines. Would weight loss be a good New Year’s resolution? A new diet?

    I posted the statistic for long-term weight loss success, and suggested if she were going to do anything along those lines, to focus on being healthier, without regards to what the scale might say.

    I think I might have been the only one to make such a radical suggestion.

    • Yeah, there are all sorts of positive diet/exercise goals that have nothing to do with weight loss. For example:

      Get at least X amount of servings of fruits/vegetables per day. Or dairy. or whatever sort of nutriment you have been in need of. Maybe just add vitamins or calcium pills, or other supplements to your diet.

      Exercise: Increase your flexibility so that you can do X without strain, where X is equal to whatever flexibility exercise that you couldn’t do before, but is within reasonable reach, within six months, with regular practice. Can’t touch your toes? There’s a good one to start. Or maybe you want to be able to lift your leg up over the level of your waist, using one of those bars dancers use. Or maybe you’re already limber, and just want to improve it so that you can scratch behind your ear with your foot (my sister-in-law used to be able to do that. It was awesome!)

      Or maybe increase your strength to be able to lift X amount of weight, or your stamina to be able to walk/run/jog/bicycle/etc., to a certain distance, or amount of time. Maybe build up your speed.

      There are simply OODLES of health/fitness goals that someone can use that have absolutely nothing to do with numbers on a scale or a tape measure.

      Good luck to you and your friend!

  2. I love the whole “additive” part of this: Add something to your life, even if it’s as simple as an extra glass of water every day, or getting some extra sleep, be it early bedtime, or maybe a nap. These little things can be really positive influences, with big impacts on our lives.

  3. Revolution: stop apologizing for my size, disability, and gender presentation. Find a mantra to say in my mind when anxiety makes me feel compelled to draw attention to those things.

    Revolution: post more photos of myself out in the world doing things; maybe another disabled genderqueer fatty needs to see them.

    • Is there a joke about “Revolution” and “Resolution” that I’m missing?

      • The point is that instead of feeling like you have to tell yourself something you’re supposed to do, as a new year’s resolution, you can try to do something different or subversive instead so it’s more like a revolution!

  4. My resolution is to get my hair cut on a regular basis. I used to get a trim every 4 weeks and make interesting changes every so often. The last few years I’ve moved to a long layered cut that is forgiving if time or budget doesn’t allow a cut. I end up going twice a year with a frizzy, split end mess and I hate it. Yesterday I bought a gift card that will get me a cut every 3 months in 2016. I think it will do wonders for my morale!

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