Wednesday, 28 December 2016

5 New Year Resolutions That Have Nothing To Do With Losing Weight

The annual New Year diet culture shitstorm is headed our way in full force, and we need to build up our bopo armour if we're going to fight back against its advances.

You know how it goes - we're all cosy and content with our Christmas food babies, and then suddenly BAM! We're being attacked from every angle by messages telling us that we need to slim down, tone up, give ourselves a full body makeover and never touch chocolate ever again. Out come the crash diets, dangerous detoxes, punishing workout DVDs, and all kinds of gadgets and gizmos promising to give us the body of our dreams, while actually doing nothing more than taking our money and leaving us hungry, tired, and hating our bodies more than ever.

Every year we're sold the idea that shrinking our bodies is the most worthwhile pursuit we could choose. The most important goal there is. Our number one aspiration in life! And it all hinges on that one big diet culture lie: that changing our bodies will finally bring us happiness. The thing is, most of us have gone round the weight loss merry-go-round enough times now to know that the promise of happiness in dress sizes dropped and pounds disappeared is stone cold bullshit. We end up right back where we were, feeling like failures, probably weighing more, and blaming ourselves. Despite the fact that decades worth of weight loss research has consistently found that between 90-98% of diets fail (and that our bodies are actually programmed to fight against weight loss attempts and hold onto their natural set point weight anyway).

So instead of buying into the lies this year, how about we do something different? How about setting body positive resolutions instead? Here are 5 resolutions that you can commit to without having to lose a pound. No weight requirements, no membership fees, no empty promises of happiness lurking after months of starvation and self punishment. Just you, being more you than ever before.


Yep, that's right, I'm suggesting that you do the exact opposite of what diet culture wants you to do. Instead of shrinking away, I want you to grow. I want you to spread out, take up space and own your place in the world. And no, I don't mean literally go forth and attempt to put on weight (although if you do put on weight, that's fine too!). I mean start living unapologetically. Be loud. Be opinionated. Refuse to be small, and meek, and ashamed. Stop watering yourself down! TAKE BACK YOUR POWER, BABE. This is my personal resolution - to stop trying to fit into the spaces where other people want me to exist in, to break out and embrace all of my messy, multi-dimensional glory. And to take up all the damn space I want. Who's with me?


This year, instead of bending to the fashion rules of what's 'flattering' or 'slimming' or 'figure skimming', how about we all wear what we love instead? I wanna see more visible belly outlines (VBOs) in bodycon dresses. I wanna see short shorts with beautiful thigh constellations peaking out of the bottom. And when the sun comes back out I wanna see people of all shapes and sizes rocking bikinis without fear. Whether it's a colour you've been told to avoid, a trend you've been convinced is only for other body types, or that one piece of clothing that's been hanging at the back of your wardrobe for 'once you lose the weight' - wear it. Wear it now. Wear it proudly. Build up to it throughout the year and by the end we can have one big bopo fashion show where none of us give a damn about the rules that used to hold us down.


If you start another diet this New Year, you will further fuck up your relationship with food. Fact. Diets teach us to rely on outside cues for what, when, and how much we're supposed to eat, rather than listening to our bodies. Eventually we forget how to recognise hunger completely - we deprive ourselves, we punish ourselves, and we end up binging. That's just how the diet cycle works, fueled by a whole lot of guilt and shame that isn't ours to hold in the first place. Once we ditch the diets we can start to get back in touch with our bodies, honour our true appetites and learn to respect our hunger and fullness signals. We can learn to eat intuitively, nourishing ourselves and never feeling guilty for eating whatever the hell we want ever again. Let's make peace with food this year. If you need a step-by-step on how to beat food guilt, click here.


I'm sure there are a lot of people who still cling onto the New Year diet resolution because they think it's going to make the healthier. And if pursuing physical health is what floats your boat, then you are absolutely entitled to do that! But, spoiler alert, dieting isn't going to help you get there. Since 95% of diets fail, we end up yo-yo dieting, which is actually terrible for our health. Not to mention the damage to our mental health from torturing ourselves with starvation rations and forced exercise that we dread every single day. The good news is that there's tonnes of research showing that people of any size can boost their physical health by finding ways to move their bodies that really bring them joy. Exercise should not be a punishment for what you've eaten. It shouldn't be about getting washboard abs or a thigh gap. It should be fun - which probably sounds like a bizarre concept if you've spent years working out purely because you hate your body. Maybe a good resolution would be to relearn how to listen to your body, try a new activity, and make movement joyful again. There's nothing wrong with wanting to feel healthier, but you shouldn't have to sacrifice your mental health to do that.


Remember when we talked about building up our bopo armour? Well this is how we do it, by cultivating a self love mindset and surrounding ourselves with people who will reinforce it. It could be as simple as giving your social media feed a makeover and following more bopo babes (some of my current Instagram favourites are @chooselifewarrior @yourstruelymelly @nourishandeat @anastasiaamour @dothehotpants @mindsetforlifeltd @sarevance @thechristinecho @sundaesforthesoul @simonemariposa @cupcakethighs @fallingintoselflove @selfloveclubb and there are LOADS more that will be suggested from them). It could be learning body positivity inside out and arming yourself with the knowledge to fight against any creeping self doubt - click here for some of my favourite bopo books. It could be cutting ties with toxic relationships, and standing up for yourself against body shame, whether it comes from friends, family, or strangers. Whatever it is, fill up your life with as much body positivity as you can, and don't let go.

I really hope that 2017 can be the year that we all send a massive fuck you to diet culture, and choose self love instead. We've already wasted way too many years believing the lies.