(TW: this post discusses diet culture and body image, so please read with your own discretion)
The New Year period is a conflicting and confusing time. After thoroughly enjoying yourself at Christmas, with all of the cheese, wine and merry making, you are bombarded by diet culture. The New Year arrives with guilt-infested messaging that makes you feel awful for enjoying the most magical time of the year. Diet culture sneaks its slimy claws into you before Christmas is even fully over.
It’s easy to fall into the trap. After wholly embracing the Christmas season, I start to feel it. The pressure. The shame. The disgust.
‘Oh, you ate too much Brie this year Hannah. It’s time to purchase a gym membership and drink a weight loss shake.’
How about no? I had the most wonderful time. I ate pigs in blankets and Quality Street. I drank Buck’s Fizz for breakfast. I lazed about in my pjs watching Love Actually. I enjoyed every single moment of that. Why should I feel such a sweeping guilt for this enjoyment that I let it overwhelm my New Year?
How about we focus on the ways we can ‘upgrade’ ourselves that don’t revolve around our bodies? We have the power to not let diet culture ruin this time of year. The New Year doesn’t have to signify a time to slim down and tone up.
When thinking about it what it actually is, I absolutely love the New Year. It signifies a fresh start. A new calendar full of blank pages to fill up. It’s the start of another year of endless, and wonderful, possibilities. It’s a time to leave behind the issues of last year, look ahead and try again.
There are so many possibilities with a new year. It’s the time to plan that exciting trip you’ve been dreaming about. Try that new hobby you’ve been putting off. Or even to work on being a better version of yourself. There is nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself. If you want to learn something new, or try to act kinder to those around you, that is incredible.
But just try one thing. Try to ignore the onslaught of diet culture. Don’t let this chance for magnificent opportunities be ruined by the pressure to look a certain way. Make this New Year about you. Be kind to yourself. Do things to better your mind and soul. Take a chance. Explore something new. Just do anything. And don’t let diet culture ruin the start of your year.
I certainly won’t be. I’m going to be working towards becoming more organised (I love any prospect of a list), exploring more of the world, saving more money and being kinder to people.