Ok, so that’s not entirely true...because I did give my Facebook page a little makeover (they still won’t change my page name, but hopefully soon..) and redid the design of my client portal this morning to fit my new branding!
As many of you know, as of midnight last night my previous company (an acupuncture and skincare clinic) has officially been dissolved. It truly is the end of an era and while I am no stranger to change, it seems like kind of a big shift this year in particular. I am still me though, maybe even more so now, as I am free of all of my expectations of my former life and business. So Happy 2021 everyone!
If you know me in “real life” you will already know that I am practically a professional goal setter and always have been. I am always working toward something. That’s why resolutions have always bugged me. Goals can be adapted and changed as needed while resolutions are rigid concepts that set you up for failure. Which leads us right to the purpose of this little blurb.
The main reason for this post is my complete frustration with the concept of New Year’s Resolutions, especially when it comes to our society’s obsession with losing weight.
It seems to start earlier every year, doesn’t it? The increase in people talking about starting a new diet or “lifestyle change,” subtle (and some not-so-subtle) fat shaming on TV and blatant fat shaming on the internet. I don’t know about you, but even with my very clear fat-positive outspoken stance online I still get targeted for the most awful weight loss ads. I know it’s because I am larger than what society deems “appropriate” that I am inundated with this B.S. constantly, but even some of my smaller-bodied friends have reported to me receiving similar messaging.
As much as diet culture tries to chip away at our self esteem and make us feel “less than,” it seems to be especially pervasive post holiday. This whole concept of “New Year, New Me” and resolutions in general have really been, for a lack of a better term, pissing me off for a few years now.
Since I began my journey to self love and self acceptance, I have become hyper-aware of these messages and they really rub me the wrong way. I’ve had many conversations with peers and we have come to a similar conclusion: The new and increasingly invasive ways that advertisers can target people are making things harder and harder to avoid.
Diet culture is EVERYWHERE you look, from television, magazines, online and of course friends and family that perpetuate these stereotypes. The diet industry is a multi-billion dollar juggernaut and shows no sign of slowing down, if anything it is getting more creative.
One thing I’ve noticed in the past couple years is the word “diet” has been slowly changing into words like: “lifestyle”, “cleanse” and “clean eating.” These are not plans, but thinly veiled euphemisms. There is no difference between these and diets and, as I have always said, diet is a 4 letter word.
So how do we fix it?
That’s a really big question (pun intended).
Fighting fatphobia is an ongoing battle for me as a large woman in my own everyday life, and it’s only compounded by existing in the beauty and wellness space. I’m by no means perfect and I have my bad days just like everyone else. Sometimes the messages just get to you and make you begin to doubt, but I have made a conscious effort to say something when I see something. While I am only an expert in my own personal experience, I would love to offer some resources for further reading. Below are some great resources about fatphobia and weight stigma that I think you might enjoy:
First, here is a fantastic intro to the concept of weight stigma and fatphobia: https://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/weight-stigma-101/
Here is great guide for allyship that is easy to read and helpful to send to people: https://www.vice.com/en/article/mb4e7n/how-to-treat-fat-people-ally-fatphobia
Here is a wonderful list of other bloggers and social media accounts you may want to follow:
If you have any other resources to share please add them in the comments below!
Once again, I want to say Happy New Year to you and remind you that you are amazing no matter your size!
P.S. Just wanted to bring in one more perspective from my Chinese Medicine background: If we are truly living in harmony with the seasons, winter is the time to rest and renew, not push for huge goals. I plan to write all about the winter season in Chinese Medicine in another post very soon, but just wanted to mention it here to get you thinking!
Dr. Melissa is an Doctor of East Asian Medicine as well as a self proclaimed geek glam girl with a passion for gluten free food, self care rituals and beauty products. She is based in Petaluma, CA.