Happy 2021, and congratulations on surviving the disaster that has been 2020! As we move into this new year, many of us will be confronted with messages regarding New Year’s resolutions, particularly, New Year’s diets. Whilst eating healthy, drinking enough water, and maintaining general health is important to most people, dieting--as well as the culture that goes along with it--does not contribute to our health. That is why this year, I’m skipping a diet. I’m skipping the idea that in order to be healthy, fit, and worthy, that I must only eat celery and egg white omelettes, drink only green tea and lemon water. And I’m encouraging, or rather urging, you to skip the New Year’s diet too.
The dieting industry survives by making people--overwhelmingly women--feel as though they are not good enough. By exploiting our insecurities, dieting culture not only turns a profit, but continues to tear down our self worth by constructing bodies to be static objects, and thin objects, at that. This could not be further from the truth, or more dangerous. Skinny does not always equal healthy. Bodies bloat, and change not only over the course of a year but from day to day. Your body needs--and deserves--nourishment, regardless of these changes. Some days that nourishment may come from a large holiday meal, others a bowl of pasta, and others still a smoothie or salad. By buying into dieting culture, we are not only rejecting this notion, but depriving our bodies of the love, care, and acceptance that they deserve.
By saying any of this, I’m not encouraging you to live off of doughnuts and cocktails exclusively, or to never go for a walk or exercise. The opposite is true. By writing this article, I’m encouraging balance. Eat food not only because it will nourish your body, but because it tastes good. Move your body, not with the sole intention of losing weight and toning your tummy, but rather because it feels good and you enjoy it. Life is far too short to always eat cauliflower instead of carbs. Too short to never indulge yourself. Too short to spend your entire life running on a treadmill and eating overpriced and under satisfying salads. So, eat that pizza after finishing your finals, drink that wine after a long day, and have that holiday meal in celebration. Most importantly, do it all without feeling guilty.
This year, let’s embrace the fact that we, as human beings, need to eat. That we bloat from time to time. That regardless of the number on the scale or the number of calories we consume, we are enough. This year, let’s skip the diet, and instead embrace balance, happiness, and self-love, regardless of what you had for dinner last night.