It’s finally here! We’ve made it to the last month of 2019! December is a month that goes by very quickly, but it also is when we start looking at what we want our New Year’s Resolutions. When people think of New Year Resolutions, they often think of weight loss, crash diets, and gym memberships. Many folks who embark on this journey will fail before the first quarter of this year is even up. They will eventually blame themselves for sliding up and down the scale, despite the evidence that diets just don’t work. This has been me for most of my life. 2019 was the first year that losing weight wasn’t on my resolution list, and it has had such a positive impact on my life. What if you decided to leave this off your resolution list too?
I know that it is so tempting to fall victim to this idea of becoming thin, beautiful, and “healthy”. You need to realize that you are chasing an ideal that diet culture is trying to sell you. Beauty and Health can be achieved at any size. In fact, evidence suggests using weight as a health marker has the potential to cause more harm than good. Weight is not a great indicator of overall health. Pursuing weight loss can lead to weight cycling and disordered eating, and just isn’t effective long term. All of this can end up being a bigger detriment to your health than having a few extra pounds. I understand all of this may be counterintuitive to what you have been told, but there is a lot about our bodies that we have taken to be true without questioning.
I feel a lot of us have put weightloss on our resolution list because we believe it is the key to unlocking all of our hopes and dreams. I put off going after what I really wanted in life for so long because I believed I needed to look a certain way to be worthy of achieving. This idea is complete and utter bullshit. If this sounds like you, I urge you to challenge those beliefs. Right now, there is a plus-size person doing exactly what you are dreaming of doing. There are plus-size folks who are athletes, musicians, actors, writers, and adventurers. You name it! Go out and find them. Follow them on social media. Do whatever you need to do to remind yourself they exist and that your size is not what is holding you back from achieving your dream. You may have to work harder, but if this is the desire of your heart then hard work won’t hold you back.
So what if your ultimate goal is to improve your health? You can still improve your health without using weight as your indicator. Instead, stay off the scale and listen to what your body is telling you. If you are hungry, eat. Work on healing your relationship with food. Allow all food until you no longer feel you are depriving yourself. Enjoy food and allow your self to not feel guilty about it. Build emotional coping mechanisms that don’t involve eating to numb or comfort. Accept your body as it is. Realize that bodies are meant to be diverse. Engage in movement that feels good and brings you joy. Listen to how certain foods make you feel. This is all a paraphrased version of the principles of intuitive eating. Intuitive eating is about rejecting the messages that diet culture has sold us, and returning to our bodies natural way of eating. So instead of making weight loss your new year’s resolution, why not work on instead healing your relationship with food and your body?