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Trigger warning: discussion of weight loss/ gain and diet culture.

 

With every January of the new year, we are met with an onslaught of fat-phobic and pro-diet culture messages. These can come from relatives, friends or media; in the form of adverts encouraging us to ‘shed the Christmas weight!’, influencers sharing their ‘healthy’ food plans for January, or new year’s resolutions sounding like ‘lose x amount of weight before x month’.

 

Everyone is hoping for 2021 to be different from last year (in many ways), so why not move into the new year actively rejecting these very damaging and harmful dieting narratives that crop up every year?

 

Changing the narrative

Instead of holding space for negative internal dialogues about your body or forcing yourself to adhere to regimented weight-loss routines, give yourself some self-compassion and love. Try to actively resist societal standards equating a certain weight with “beautiful” or “normal”, and meet self-shaming thoughts with acceptance, without needing to change in order to meet abstract expectations of your body.

 

New year’s resolutions which focus on “exercise more” or “eat less” only serve to shame yourself into a certain outcome, and do not serve your wellbeing. Instead, new year’s resolutions could focus on prioritising feeling at home in your body and loving yourself no matter what, through practicing self-care. Or, you could look at making sure you feel embodied at least once a day through movement which makes you feel refreshed, rather than forcing yourself into uncomfortable forms of exercise.

 

Resources:

It can be hard during the post-holiday season to cope with feelings of low self-worth and shame, because there is such a fixation upon appearances within modern society. If you are struggling, remember that you are not alone and here are some resources you can turn to for help. 

Beat Eating Disorder: https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/support-services/helplines

Eating Disorders Support: http://www.eatingdisorderssupport.co.uk/help/helpline

Get Connected: getconnected.org.uk

Mind: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/eating-problems/useful-contacts/

Seed: https://seedeatingdisorders.org.uk/

The Mix: themix.org.uk

 

This article is part of our themed week on setting sustainable and healthy New Year's resolutions and gearing up to face 2021. Happy new year to all of our readers, and here's to a better 2021!

 

Milla is the editor of the 'Sex and Relationships' section at HerCampus Bristol, and is in her final year of studying Politics and Sociology. Her degree focus discusses the dynamics of oppression and the marginalisation of women within the realm of (hetero)sex and pleasure.
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