Buckle up, everyone! The most body-shaming time of year is upon us. That’s right, hello new year’s resolutions!
After a month where most of us have (hopefully) rested, reconnected with loved ones and enjoyed every delicious festive snack on offer, we all know what comes next.
Diet culture goes into overdrive, and everywhere we turn, we’re reminded that it’s time to repent for those mince pies and burst into the New Year, ready to transform into our best read: smallest selves.
The first time I remember making a resolution around weight loss was in January 2004 – I was 10 years old, and I scrawled my diet goals in my Groovy Chick notebook, wanting more than anything to wake up one day and be the tall, slim, perfectly groomed grown woman in my imagination.
Fast forward two decades, countless diets, one serious eating disorder and hundreds of pounds lost and gained later, and I no longer make resolutions around weight loss. In fact, I have no desire to change my strong, soft, size 18 body at all. All of that is down to body positivity and learning why dieting… just doesn’t work.
“Losing weight” consistently tops the list of most popular New Year’s resolutions, and the global diet and weight loss industry was reportedly worth $246.8 billion in 2022. This means we spend a whole lot of money trying to make ourselves smaller – especially at this time of year. But where do we end up?
80% of New Year’s resolutions are broken by February. And when it comes to dieting in particular, the stats are even more wild…
“Diets don’t work. And the reasons are far more complicated than not having enough willpower or just needing to try harder.”
The percentage of people who lose weight on diets and maintain that weight loss long term comes in at between 3-5%. More than that, at least one-third to two-thirds of people tend to regain more weight than they lost in the first place.
Diets don’t work. And the reasons are far more complicated than not having enough willpower or just needing to try harder.
Now, I’m not saying that you can’t make intentional changes to prioritise nutrition and add more health-promoting behaviours into your life. But if you’re looking for that quick-fix, Lose-20-Pounds-In-20-Minutes crash diet result? You’re more likely to lose money, joy and self-esteem than weight. You deserve better than that.
We all deserve better than a lifetime battling our bodies to fit an impossible beauty standard, and beating ourselves up when it inevitably doesn’t work. We deserve to make resolutions that make our worlds bigger! Not just our bodies smaller.
So, if you’re ready to ditch diet culture and give that old resolution a makeover, here are 10 suggestions for a body-shame-free 2023:
1. Give up negative body talk
Instead of swearing off carbs, why not try to cut back on the critical voice that tells you you’re not good enough whenever you look in the mirror? I know; it’s easier said than done. But actively trying to override negative self-talk and replace it with positive affirmation really can help to change the way you see yourself.
Replace I’m so hideous with there are so many great things about me that have nothing to do with my body. Swap out I’m a failure for I’m doing my best and I deserve to be on my own side. Do it for a whole year; I dare you.
2. Resolve to stop holding onto clothes that no longer fit you
Yes, I’m talking about that one pair of jeans you wore that one summer all those years ago that have tried to cut you in half every time you’ve wrestled them on since.