New Year’s Resolution: Breakup with Diet Culture

It’s that time of the year again, where gyms are packed, weight-loss ads are popping up on social media, and it seems like everybody and their dog is going on the keto diet. I have heard, within the past week alone, more people talking about weight loss resolutions than I can count. I honestly feel that the term “New Year’s Resolution” is synonymous with “losing 10 pounds” these days. However, this year, my New Year’s Resolution is to kick diet culture back into 2019.

This time of the year can be especially tricky for people who struggle with body image and eating disorders. Which leaves me asking myself, why is it that the same influencers and celebs who preach body positivity are also posting images of their detox teas come January 1st? The answer is that we live in a world that revolves around health and diet culture. 

We are constantly told that certain foods are good, clean, or pure and find ourselves apologizing for eating foods we actually enjoy. This has created a mindset that we need to restrict the kind of food we eat and that eating might as well be the ultimate war between good and evil. Except this time broccoli is the angel on our shoulder and the cupcake is the devil whispering in our ear.

Food has always been a center of joy in my household. Almost all of my holiday memories center around baking cookies and waiting for my mom’s famous casserole to come out of the oven. But, this year, my parents were dieting, as their 2019 resolution was to lose weight and eat healthier. Therefore, my 2019 was filled with cauliflower substitutes and keto dinners. Food was now a topic of frustration and anger, it made me sad that my parents no longer saw food as something that brings us together, but rather an enemy that needed to be stripped of its knives. 

 These days we tend to forget that food is a major aspect of our social lives. Going on diets and avoiding it means that we are forgetting the ways it can bond us with other people. Having an unhealthy relationship with food means we are depriving ourselves of the love and attention we deserve. The terrifying reality of diets is that most of the time they do not work, and if they do work, they may eventually lead to eating disorders and body dysmorphia. Experts agree that the only way to truly lose weight and keep it off is to make healthy lifestyle changes. 

We are told countless times that the biggest change we need to make in ourselves is to lose the extra weight on your thighs. But, that extra weight on your thighs could be late night cookout runs with friends, cookies on Christmas eve, or even date night with your boyfriend. It is happiness and freedom from a culture that tells us we need to occupy less space in order to be seen.

So, this year my resolution is to be vehemently anti-diet. I am breaking up with food insecurity, shame, and frustration, because frankly, diets don’t work.