I wanted to title this post, “New Year, Same Awesome You!” but as soon as I saw that in type, I knew it wouldn’t work.
The reality is most of us are not walking around thinking we are awesome. Most of us walk around fixating on changing some aspect of ourselves every day. Whether we want to change our body, our personality, our job, our home, our relationship or our financial situation… whether the change we envision is large or small… it’s rare for us humans to be 100% satisfied with every aspect of who we are (this is especially true in a white supremacist, colonial capitalist patriarchy but that argument is beyond the scope of this post). So, actually, when we are going around thinking that some change would be nice, the “New Year, New You” concept is awfully seductive.
The idea of a fresh start around the cycles of the year is deeply rooted in human history. Throughout cultures worldwide, the observation of seasonal changes and the beginning of a new cycle has been marked by rituals and festivities, symbolizing renewal, rebirth and hope for the future.
The truth is that what gets so many of us running en masse to the nearest gym in January is that we DO want change and we are culturally habituated to cycles of renewal. This a healthy and natural part of the project of being a human.
The problem arises when this natural inclination towards evolution and renewal becomes entangled with the self-defeating ritual of body dissatisfaction imposed by a profit-driven Diet Culture. Exploiting this human desire for change, Diet Culture promises a 'whole new you' (hot body and all) – and usually, in under 16 weeks! Diet culture perpetuates the idea that our worth is tied to our weight, promoting unrealistic beauty standards and fostering a negative relationship with food and our bodies.
A new year often brings about a wave of resolutions centered around weight loss. Body hatred has become a normalized New Year routine. At its core, the “New Year, New You” mantra feeds the pervasive narrative that a thinner body equates to a better, happier, and more successful life. The message is that, of all the changes we could want for our lives, a thinner body is the most important goal we could pursue. This creates harmful cycle of body dissatisfaction, self-criticism, and a distorted view of health and well-being.
What if this year could be different?
What if I told you that there’s a more fulfilling and sustainable path to health and well-being – one that doesn’t involve restrictive diets or the relentless pursuit of a certain body type?
Instead of fixating on weight-centered goals, what if I told you that embracing a weight-neutral approach to health and wellness could honor your innate desire for change as well as the excitement of renewal? Because it totally can.
We’ve been conditioned to equate wellness with a certain body shape or size, overlooking the diverse factors that contribute to our overall well-being. Wellness encompasses a broad spectrum of elements – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual – that all work together to create a balanced and fulfilling life. It’s about nurturing ourselves from the inside out, fostering a positive relationship with our bodies, minds, and souls. And the key to achieving this lies in adopting sustainable habits and a compassionate mindset, rather than adhering to strict diets or punishing fitness regimens.
Here are 7 reasons to steer clear of diet resolutions and embrace weight-neutral health and wellness goals this year:
Instead, I would like to offer you an invitation to a fresh start. I would like to offer you a whole new way of approaching your health and well-being that will allow you to break free from the vicious cycle of body dissatisfaction and dieting and embrace a more fulfilling and sustainable lifestyle based in awareness, compassion and acceptance. Reclaim your natural cycles of renewal from diet culture! You will open yourself up to a world of possibilities – a world where health is measured in more than weight, and true wellness thrives in all its diverse forms.
About JodiAnn Stevenson
JodiAnn Stevenson lives in the U.S., in the Northwest Corner of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, on The Big Lake. Her writing has appeared in numerous venues since 1996. She is the author of three published chapbooks of poetry: The Procedure (March Street Press, 2006); Houses Don’t Float (Habernicht Press, 2010); and Diving Headlong Into A Cliff of Our Own Delusion (Saucebox, 2011). Her mixed-genre work Marina Abramovic Is My Mother is available in the form of a short-run podcast. She has also produced eight chapbooks of poetry for The Broken Nose Collective which she co-founded in 2013. JodiAnn was founder and co-managing editor of the feminist micro-press, Binge Press and its sister journal, 27 rue de fleures, from 2004 until 2017.
A (more or less) complete list of publications and appearances: