You don't have to make a weight loss New Year's Resolution

Wednesday, 13 January 2016




With the start of the New Year comes the onslaught of resolutions, goals and the idea that you need to change being hammered into you again and again and again.  Following the holiday indulgence, usually the first thing that you’re expected to pledge yourself to is a new diet and weight loss to make up for actually enjoying yourself (how dare you?) and to transform into a brand new, thinner you for (now) 2016.

Well, you don’t need to be smaller or lighter to be better, and despite what everyone else says or is doing, you don’t need to change for the New Year.

The New Year’s resolutions always get everyone hyped up into a panic, and with the resolution comes the slow but steady march of the fitness posts and diet articles and recipes for low carb low fat low enjoyment healthy foods to mould your apparently too tubby body into the svelte and skinny one you were always supposed to have.  There’s nothing wrong with eating healthier and joining a gym – especially after weeks spent eating and drinking more than is really advised – but it isn’t a requirement just because we’ve ticked over from one year into another, nor is it a requirement full stop.  It’s easy to get sucked into it when anyone and everyone is all advertising the same mind-set of ditch the mince pies and wine and hit the treadmill and salads, but there are other healthy goals you can set yourself beyond just eating only spiralized vegetables for every meal and squeezing into a smaller pair of jeans.

It isn’t the same for everyone, but generally speaking, people don’t always stick to weight loss or diet-related New Year’s resolutions.  I joined the gym last January not as part of a resolution, but just because I knew I wouldn’t have time to go often enough during December so opted to save my money for another month.  There was a surge of new members and, a couple of months later, it had trickled back to just a few regulars again and I expect it’ll be the same this year.  Others might start eating super healthy for the first few weeks, but fall back into the same old habits later.  There’s nothing wrong with that at all – there’s no point sticking with a gym membership or a fad diet if you don’t enjoy it or it isn’t making you happy (it doesn’t make you a failure!) – but there is a problem with the massive amounts of guilt that you’re inevitably made to feel if you dont meet your targets.  It might be healthy for your body to try and commit to these goals and drop a few pounds and eat a few celery sticks, but that doesn’t mean that it’s healthy for your mind, and you should absolutely never sacrifice the latter in favour of the former.  Rather than forcing yourself to do what everyone else is doing and what is expected of you, why not try first to just be comfortable in your own skin?

Eat healthy and exercise by all means because it’s obviously good for you most of the time, but don’t forget that you don’t need to slim down and tone up or start eating nothing but raw veggies in 2016.  Contrary to popular belief, you’re actually perfect as you are and you’re deserving of all the love and respect that the world has to offer without you performing this same song and dance every January.  Other people tend to applaud drastic weight loss as this difficult, praise-worthy act of strength and sure, it’s hard as hell and takes a lot of strength and devotion!  But what a lot of those folks don’t realise, is that loving yourself as you are – without attempting to change yourself physically, to remove the aspects of yourself you’ve been told are ‘wrong’ or unattractive – takes much more strength and devotion and is much more of an uphill battle. 

It’s a long, hard slog towards loving and accepting your body for what it is, but it’s a goal far more worth pursuing than toning up or losing a few pounds and it’s one that has the potential to completely alter your outlook on life and increase your happiness and contentment tenfold.  Rather than standing in front of the mirror and deciding on all of the things you’re going to try to change in 2016, point out the things you already like and the things you want to like more.  Force yourself to see the cuteness or quirkiness or sexiness in bits about yourself that you normally don’t like – for an example, my thighs are fat and my belly folds, but they’re all soft and squishy and nice to touch and hug!  Surround yourself with body positive mantras and people that remind you that you’re beautiful and that you’re loved, and ditch the people that make you feel anything less than the majestic and magnificent creature you are.  Don’t forget to tell yourself that you’re beautiful too. 

Whether or not you drop a dress size has no weight whatsoever on you as a person.  There aren’t really ‘good’ foods and ‘bad’ foods – eating something that makes you happy doesn’t make you ‘naughty’ and you’re no less of a moral or worthwhile person for choosing to keep eating pizza or donuts or skipping a few gym sessions every week.  Your body is not part of your character; it isn’t who you are, it’s just a brilliant vessel that allows you to be you in all of your perfect imperfection.

If you have chosen to pursue some health or weight related New Year’s resolutions, then remember that you’re allowed to relax or to take days off, and you’re allowed to treat yourself.  Don’t believe those people that say that you shouldn’t ‘reward’ yourself for a good work out every now and again with some chips or a dessert.  Don’t believe people who say you should be losing x amount of weight in y amount of days.  Don’t push yourself beyond the limits that your body sets you – listen to it, if it hurts then contrary to what everyone seems to say, that isn’t a ‘good’ thing, it’s your body telling you that you need take it a little easier.  Most importantly, be kind to yourself.  Never feel guilty for not working out ‘enough’ or not dropping ‘enough’ weight, not running fast enough or lifting heavy enough.  Resolutions can be a fun way to challenge yourself and focus yourself on achieving a particular goal, but they’re not the be all and end all and it’s not to end of the world if you do or don’t meet them.

Ditch the magazines and zone out of all of the New Year’s diet talk – at the end of 2016, whether you’re slimmer or bigger or fitter or less fit or you’re still exactly the same as you were when the year started, you’re still a wonderful human and you’re still perfect just as you are.  Never let anyone tell you otherwise.

2 comments

  1. Yay yay yay! Early January is fraught with peril for people struggling to work their heads around a healthy mindset towards food & exercise after conquering an eating disorder. It still freaks me out when my boyfriend invites me to go to the gym with him because every tiny pressure to "lose weight" lands squarely on my shoulders with that old icky voice in my head that whispers "You could lose five pounds, then ten, then fifteen, then twenty!" I finally came out of the closet about this on my blog and I'm really hoping people start to understand that everyone's relationship with their body is different and when you tug at your thighs and sigh "Oh I'm so fat!" you're sending a message of hate about yourself to all our inner hate receivers. THAN YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for saying it's okay to just love yourself & not run to the gym once the new calendar's up! Found you through Zusterchap's blog meghansara.com

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    1. Yay, I'm glad you liked it! :D I know what you mean, I started to get like that towards summer last year where although I felt physically great and was keeping really fit, I started to realise that my mental health was suffering and when I was at the gym it wasn't about getting stronger or feeling better any more, it was: 'Well I've noticed I've lost some fat off my belly already... how much more can I lose? How much harder can I work? Will tracking my calories make a difference?' Suffice to say I reeled it in after that and started trying to focus more on loving my body as is! I still go to the gym and exercise but I'm really careful about the mindset I have now and if I don't feel like going I just don't force myself or let myself feel needlessly guilty any more!

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