New Year Same You (Guest Post)

There are 3 guarantees in life: Death, Taxes, and New-Years-Resolution-Makers. This is that time of year where everyone and their dog is talking about resolution making. From matter-of-fact haters of the resolution-making (that’s me!) to faithful good-intention-filled folks, there are thoughts and opinions flying  about what to do regarding goal setting on January first.

Let me start by saying that I’m a definite advocate of doing good things for ourselves – our minds, bodies, emotions, hearts. And while most often, a new year brings with it all kinds of resolve along the lines of making our lives better somehow, a lot of resolutions end up being more shame based vanity cries of guilt to conform to social constructs built on foundations of patriarchy and financial gain.

Weight loss magic claims are filling my Facebook feed, and already the talks of cleanses, diets, fads, and ways to be ‘thin’ are assaulting me at every corner.  The idea that we should strive to be one specific way (read: thin, strong, sexy, dainty, ‘feminine’, and all according to the subjectivity of constructed ‘norms’). Substantia Jones, photographer and creator of The Adipositivity Project  was quoted in this great post by Mashable saying:

When determining New Year’s resolutions, I’d like people to know about the studies that have found that making a weight goal part of any health goals is likely to monkey-wrench those health goals. I want folks to understand that even the $64 billion-a-year U.S. weight loss industry no longer disputes that their failure rate hovers around 95%.

So you can see how this ‘perfect’ shape/size/ might not be possible for all folks? Especially with a failure rate that high! Yikes! Yet, we will all watch the parade of weight loss promises pass by when we sign in to our devices of choice over the next few days especially. The focus is so heavy on being lighter that the marquee lit message ends up being “only thin bodies are good bodies”.

Even this well circulated article from Women’s Health that claims to be listening to the desired copy from their readers makes several body shame filled depictions of what ‘ideal’ is and what all of their readers must be striving for in unison. It’s right there in the image below highlighted in yellow.

not all bodies

By the way, I will happily tell you repeatedly: Your body is a good body whether it is toned or not.  No magazine (or blog!) authors can define for you what that should look like. And I hope the epitome of all that your health as a women is NOT found in just how toned, slim, strong, or sexy you are.

Now, before you think I’m trying to discourage someone from setting goals for themselves and making new choices, I’m not. I think it’s great and I probably even wish I had some of your same goals and motivation! I’m only suggesting a consideration of what has been consumed and acted upon as gospel year after year of ‘be a new you’ ideas are riddled with body shame, guilt, and pressure versus inspiration and self-led motivation.

Grant yourself permission to not be pressured to see a new year as some form of forced point of change, and please be kind enough to yourself that you don’t criticize you for ‘holiday treats’. And if you do make resolutions, remember that I told you here and now that if you tap out and change your mind it is not a failure – because YOU are not a failure.

If you’re looking for a January activity that’s not bandwagon jumping and leading to possible let down, feel free to join me in a fun Instagram play-along photo challenge! Read more about #GoodYearGoodYou here.

Wishing you a good year ahead!

Bio: Queer, Fat, Feminist of intersections. Not so fit, but chewing on the reasons why and the ways to challenge what that means. No apologies for any of it.