It’s no secret that many folks make their New Year’s resolutions about losing weight and exercising more. However, there is a culture of shame that comes with New Year’s resolutions, especially about weight loss. There has always been a push that each year should be the year you get to shed off all your weight that you should feel inclined to lose. And yet, the push isn’t to lead a healthier life — it’s to lead a life where diets, laxative teas, and disordered eating are celebrated. Year after year, companies thrive off the vulnerability of the population by telling them what is “wrong” with them and how they can “fix” this, fast. Thanks to quarantine, a new term, “The Quarantine Fifteen,” has been coined, which comes with the guilt of gaining weight during a global pandemic. I’m here to tell you that if you made it through 2020, you did plenty well. This year has tested us all in unimaginable ways. Your body is actively doing its best to keep you going. You made it through uncharted times and are doing your best. The pressure of weight loss has been heightened due to the pandemic but has been prevalent for years. And I’m here to tell you what I needed to hear when I was younger: you don’t have to lose weight to gain confidence. You don’t need to lose weight to be happy. You don’t need to change everything about yourself just because January started. This is not to diminish anyone’s health goals at all. It is simply to remind you of how far you’ve come. If exercise is your main goal for the new year, think about all that you can gain: endurance, flexibility, and strength. The way you feed yourself ideas is just as important as how you go about manifesting them! This year, I want to remind you that big people exist. Fat people exist. Plus-size people exist. And that everyone’s bodies deserve to move; everyone deserves to breathe fresh air and get some sunlight. So when you see the larger population out and about, walking, running, or doing their workouts I urge you to let them live. And for my plus-size community, remember that you don’t have to do anything that you truly do not want to do. If you’re like me and want to be more active this year, make that your goal! Make it a goal to take a walk X amount of times throughout a week. Start small, work your way through the days and take it at your own pace. It has taken me a while to get comfortable with the idea that exercise does not equal losing weight and that my weight doesn’t equal my worth. Instead, I now remind myself that I want to reach these goals for myself and that by working on them, I am treating my body and my mind with love. My new year’s resolution isn’t to lose weight; my new year’s resolution is to do things in love. I no longer want to shackle myself to things and ideas I don’t enjoy. Rather, I seek to treat myself with kindness and indulge in moving my body because I deserve it.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.