Sunday, 1 January 2017

Ready for New Year’s Revolution

Guilt Free EatingWe have reached another of the Dieting Axis of Evil days – New Year’s. Where we are inundated with messages insisting that it’s in our best interest to resolve to diet, again. The Underpants Rule is very clear on this – people are allowed to do whatever they want with their bodies and that includes attempting to manipulate their size and shape because they think it will improve their health, or that it will stop bullying and stigmatization, or for whatever reason.

People are also allowed to choose NOT to try to lose weight for whatever reason we want – whether it’s because we believe that the research shows behavior, not body size, give us the best chance for health (knowing that health is not an obligation, barometer of worthiness, or entirely within our control), or because we believe that bullying and social stigma should be solved by ending bullying and social stigma, not by giving the bullies our lunch money, or because we believe the evidence about the near-complete futility of intentional weight loss. But this time of year that group doesn’t find much support.

I get a lot of e-mails for people this time of year asking “If I’m not making a weight loss resolution, what resolution can I make?”

I’m glad you asked!

Instead of a New Years Resolution, we can make a New Year’s Revolution.  There is no doubt that we live in a culture that was created around the idea that there is there is only one standard of beauty, and that it requires digital retouching and photo illustration to achieve it.  There is so much pressure to buy into this culture where the beauty and diet industries make billions by convincing us that we are not good enough, and probably never will be, that just waking up and not hating ourselves is an act of revolution, and that’s a pretty good place to start!

With that in mind, here are some ideas to create your own New Year’s Revolution (as always, these are just suggestions,  your mileage may vary and feel free to change any of these to make them work for you.)

  • Resolve to make your first thought of every day one of gratitude for your body, maybe put a note on your ceiling that reminds you to start each day saying something like “You’re a great body and I really appreciate you” (if you need a little help finding the love, this might help.)
  • Create a little mantra to say to yourself (or, hey, 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.

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.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

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Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

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