My favorite thing about a year ending is the fresh start a new year poses. I’m a big fan of reinventing my persona constantly through my appearance or lifestyle as a way of inhabiting new states of being. I was proud of my new year’s resolutions this year since they seemed a lot less superficial and more “adult” as I reach my half-way mark towards turning twenty. I want to have money in my saving account, submit monthly to publications and own a Crockpot- what could be more grown-up than that?
Despite these “mature” aspirations, I still had a daunting resolution which was to lose my freshman fifteen. I’ve been wrestling with this one a lot over the past few weeks and what I’m going to do is wrestle with it more in this blog post.
Losing weight can be great for some people. My mom, who is always worried about her weight, wakes up early to exercise every day, shuns sugar and shames anyone she dines with who mentions eating processed food. For her, it is a combination of a physical aesthetic that has been engrained in her as her mom would constantly bother her for having big thighs (even though she was an athlete and has had a small build all her life) and a health choice since she has several bone problems and putting on extra weight causes her joints and back to hurt.
For me, I’m not so sure. It is annoying to have to deal with buying new jeans or randomly tearing old pants but it’s not that big of a deal for me. Aesthetically, I only get upset about the extra weight I’ve put on when other people point it out, which makes me think that this isn’t a self-image thing where I’m insecure about my body but the effect of other people fat shaming me which of course is unwarranted and would make anybody feel bad.
Health-wise, I know that I was “overweight” fifteen pounds ago, according to fat measurements since I have a disproportionate amount of fat compared to lean muscle. What does that even mean anymore? I haven’t read enough on fat phobia and the myths and stigmas that come from the nutritional and medical communities towards people who look bigger than a certain aesthetic but I know that there are definitely a lot of health related myths. My mom would take me to a nutritionist in high school who desperately wanted me to weigh 115 lbs. as a maximum. According to the nutritionist, at my 5’1 stature I had to lose at least fifteen pounds when I weighed 120 lbs. This made me start to question if my family and doctor wanted me to lose weight for my health or to fit a certain aesthetic.
So, should one of my new year’s resolution be to lose weight? Those were the critiques, here are the advantages.
One of them is that as a busy college student I really eat like shit. Ramen noodles and binge-eating Oreos at 2 a.m. have become my two best friends. Wanting to losing weight isn’t necessary to change one’s eating habits, but it would definitely give more of a personal motivation to spend sixty bucks a week on fresh produce.
Another one is that I despise working out and I’m not sure how I would find the motivation to do so if it wasn’t for a measurable goal. I’ve been thinking that instead of setting a goal weight, I would set a goal feeling. I would want to throw out my scale completely and instead follow a clean diet with some working out, and make it a lifestyle change instead of a “lose fifteen pounds quick” goal. In the meantime, maybe my black skinny jeans could fit again too so it’s a win win.
Amongst the other things I’ve considered is cutting out sugar completely for the year, since I’m truly a processed sugar fiend and candy consists of about 30% of my weekly calorie intake if not more. I’ve also thought about trying a plant-based diet or keto. Either ways, I really want to get healthier and distance this goal from an aesthetic ideal.
I pride myself on being body-positive and wearing whatever I want which is another big reason why this goal has been tricky for me. How can I be body-positive if I want to change my body? Clearly, I still have some engrained stigmas about gaining weight that are only emphasized by the culture I grew up in, and the media. Accepting this and making the goal about being healthier while not reprimanding the body I have in the state it’s in (whether it be larger or leaner) is the key.
I don’t want to change my body on the sole argument that I’m uncomfortable with it, because I refuse to fall into a sexist trap of diets and self-esteem issues. I want to love my body at its fifteen pounds more or fifty pounds more or fifteen pounds less equally. That’s what my new year’s resolution will be! I’ll add in another one about eating healthier and working out regardless because the late-night Maruchan sessions need to stop for my own good.