It has already been 6 days of the New Year, and I am already tired beyond belief. I am tired of “New Year, New Me” mantra’s being posted all over social media. Our culture of instant gratification neatly lends itself to the idea that the turning page of a calendar could mark the beginning of a whole new self. This new you involves pressing some kind of magical rest button on the old you, wiping clean those bad habits, embarrassing moments, and personal failures; out of the old, disappointing body comes the fresh, new self that you can finally be proud of. Or something like that, Right? Wrong.
You might have new intentions, you might have new goals, but you, you are the same. You are the same glorious human that woke up 7 days ago and planned what to wear for that New Year’s Eve party you were so looking forward to. You are the same cuddly babe who 14 days ago hugged your family a little bit longer, because it was Christmas, and you realised you hadn’t held your family enough in 2016. You are the same kind, generous person who gave their time and kindness to their friends throughout the past year, the same babe that did something that scared you, or inspired you, or maybe that motivated you to try something different. I hate to break it to you, but you, as a person, are the same as you were 6 days ago.
But, of course it isn’t as simple as that. See there is this thing that wants you to believe that isn’t the case. It lives off the fact that you don’t think you are amazing. Usually, it waits until the end of December to make its glorious move. Don’t get me wrong, January isn’t the only time it rears its ugly head. But for some reasons, the start of a new year is its time to shine. You know what I am talking about right? The diet industry… duh. And I get it, it is certainly smart on their behalf. A new year for most people is a clean slate. After the year that was, most of us are ready for a new start. But this idea that, the only way to have a new start is to shed 50 kilos, or get a six pack [that isn't beer], stop eating grains, corn, or whatever the new 'bad' food is, or whatever other new diet fad is trending at the moment, is pretty fucking flawed. I know, you think I am a hypocrite, given the fact that I am, among other things, still trying to lose a bit of weight. On the other hand, maybe it makes me an expert on the bullshit that has been feed to people, particularly women, about the way we ‘should’ look, feel and act at the beginning of a new year. Considering I have lived around 20 new year starts as a girl who can remember weight loss being at the forefront of the ‘media’, I think that other hand wins this time.
Every single day this week, I have logged into my social media accounts to see the wretched bullshit rhetoric of people thinking that they aren’t good enough. Of course, the language is masked. People writing their new aspirations might not even realise that they have fallen victim. But to me it stinks of media pressure, genius marketing, and self-deprecation. These people are selling you the idea that you need to be better than you are. They don’t know you, they don’t know your story, or how you love or laugh. They just know that there are insecurities that they can exploit. Insecurities that you might not even know you have, because we have been programmed by the media for years and years to believe that ‘thin’ is good, and everything else is less than acceptable.
The weight loss industry in the United States earns of 20 billion dollars a year, Add to that the 3billion pounds in the UK, the 635 million dollars earned in Australia and around half that again in New Zealand, and it suddenly becomes crystal clear that people are desperately trying to lose weight, and people are taking advantage. Studies show that on average people who try to ‘diet’ in the New Year end up starting over 4-5 within the year and usually remain the same weight 12 months later. Some people suggest that those who start in the New Year actually stand to gain weight, from the immense pressures we put on ourselves. When we ‘fall off the wagon’ [a saying a have learned to hate so much that I might just have to dedicate a whole blog to it] we ‘punish’ ourselves because we ‘aren’t as good’ as the program told us to be. It’s crazy. When you step back and look at it, this whole thing is crazy.
Now, I am all for adding movement, eating food that nourishes your body, and loving yourself. And if January 1st was the time for you to start doing those things, then hell yeah people, you do you. But here is the thing. You can do those things, right now, without feeling like you aren’t good enough. You can go to the gym, you can swim, dance, ride your bike, you can eat a salad, you can eat a burger, you can bloody well eat the donuts if you want to. Maybe just have one? Or maybe say fuck you and have as many as you want and then do something else you love, which might be going to the gym and doing a pump class, or it might be sitting on the beach in your bikini with your friends talking shit. At the end of the day, you can do whatever the hell YOU want to do. But don’t get sucked into thinking that you have to do any of those things because they will make you a better person, or make you have a better year. Because they won’t. I promise you, they won’t. Love yourself, be kind to yourself, be gentle with your heart, laugh with your friends, hug your family. Do the things that are good for your body, your soul and your mind. And do them because you want to, not because a multi-billion dollar industry made you feel like right now, in this moment you aren’t good enough. Because babe, you are so fucking good, just the way you are, right in this very moment.