Why Your New Year’s Resolution Should Not be to “Lose Weight”

A lot of people make New Year’s resolutions. It is a time to start fresh and hop back on the wagon with things that you may have wanted to improve about yourself. With this, a lot of people choose the goal of losing weight in the New Year, sometimes for different reasons. This idea that we need to lose weight in order to be healthier is longstanding “knowledge” in many health and diet communities. However, this semester I was in a seminar called “Critical Weight Studies” which focused mainly on fatness in our society, and this course flipped all of my previous knowledge on weight and health on its head.

One of the main things we talked about was how the idea that fatness leads to a slew of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, etc. are mainly backed up by studies that are funded by pharmaceutical and diet companies. In fact, the “obesity epidemic” is virtually fake as we only weigh on average about 3 kg heavier than the generation before us. However, our generation has been fed information through the media that being overweight is bad/unhealthy, and being skinny is good/healthy. In reality, the evidence has shown that more people in Canada die from early mortality from being underweight than they do from being overweight or obese. 

What I am trying to get at here, is that weight loss does not determine your health by any means. What has been shown to improve your health is good cardiovascular fitness, independent of weight, and healthy eating habits. Take some time to appreciate the body that you are in and try to remind yourself that you do not need to lose weight to be in a perfectly happy, healthy body. Focus on pursuing activities that you can enjoy while simultaneously moving your body, and try to mix in a couple vegetables or fruits if you can. Being University students, we also have to remember that our lives will not be this way forever. Therefore, we should also have fun and enjoy ourselves so that we do not restrict ourselves to the fullest extent. We have the rest of our lives to worry about in terms of being perfectly healthy, so keep everything in moderation, try and move once a day and remind yourself of your value, no matter what weight you are.