Important Things To Remember When You're Feeling The Crappy January Weight Loss Pressure
Because it is EVERYWHERE
As soon as Christmas is out of the way and January rolls around in a big grey, rainy blur, you can expect to find a serious lack fo festive joy, less Disney films on TV and a LOT of pressure to lose weight.
Ugh, January. WHY.
Here's how the lovely Sophie Kasaei found the response to her recent alopecia revelation...
The damn diet industry kicks into full swing as soon as the mince pies are out of the way, and sometimes it can feel literally impossible to escape the claustrophobic advertising about slimming down.
Whether you're on the tube, watching telly or flicking through your own Instagram feed, all you'll find is reminders to lose weight, drop a dress size and step away from all of your favourite foods.
It seriously SUCKS, not only because your weight is nobody else's business, but also because it can totally ruin life-long relationships with food and even our own bodies if we're not careful.
So if you’re struggling a little right now and feeling all of the crap January pressures about your body shape and size, here’s some important things to remember and help you get through it all.
1. Diet culture only exists to make money out of you.
Newsflash, you are perfect just the way you are. Remember that the entire diet and weight loss industry is based on breeding any insecurity possible to convince you to part with your cash.
The business of weight loss makes shameless BILLIONS every year, by selling solutions that don’t work, to flaws in your body that aren’t there.
Do you really wanna give any of your hard earned dollah to the business that makes you, your friends and your mum constantly feel bad about themselves? Hell nawh.
2. Research reckons between 92 and 97 per cent of diets fail.
Yep, so while you might see that one celebrity who’s trying to convince you that this detox soup shake tea juice detox cleanse diet is the miracle behind her brand new bod, the chances are that err… it’s not. Don't fall for it.
The average dieter in the UK starts 4 new diets in just one year, but is this latest fad you’re tempted by gonna be any different from the rest? Nuh uh honey.
Eat intuitively, listen to your body, please don't restrict yourself into unhappiness.
3. You can create your own diet-free safe space.
Diet culture is literally EVERYWHERE and can often feel inescapable. You might not be able to hide from it IRL, but social media is the one place that you can turn into a diet-free, body positive safe space.
Be brutal with the block button and get rid of ANYONE who mentions food guilt, weight loss or diet progress. If someone makes you feel bad about yourself, unfollow them.
Instead, turn your social media into an encouraging, loving, body positive paradise. Check out mega babes @bodyposipanda, @gracefvictory and @calliethorpe if you’re looking for a starting point.
4. Time to open up that convo with your friends and family
Struggling to stay body positive when your friends are constantly talking about how ‘bad’ they were for having a cheeseburger last night? You are totally allowed to tell them that it’s not helping your mindset, y'know.
Do some damage control to protect your mental health: ‘Hey, my relationships with my body isn't great at the moment. It’d be really helpful to me if we could ditch talking about calories, weight loss and post-Christmas stomach pudge, thanks guys.’
Yes, you are allowed to let people know that it’s something you don’t wanna hear about.
5. No food is 'bad food'.
Oh, you know what we’re on about. Good foods are usually some kinda shade of green, leafy and low cal, while bad foods are usually anything vaguely delicious with cheese on top.
But in reality, food is just food. No food is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ (and you’re not ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for eating them, either).
It's just language that ties in with the diet industry wanting you to feel guilty, to make believe that your food choices equate with you being a better or worse person. You’re so much more than your meal choices, and food has no morals.
6. Don’t let anyone bully, shame or berate your body
You wouldn’t stand for anyone approaching your BFF in the street to tell them that their thighs are too big, or their stomach is too wide or their cellulite is showing, and you should NOT stand for anyone saying it to you, either.
That includes a) the diet industry through sneaky advertising, and b) yourself and your thoughts when you look in the mirror.
Your body has got you through some tricky times and you’ve reached this point in a long life together. It deserves to be treated with love and nourishment rather than hate, disappointment or restriction.
7. Freedom around food is better than any weight.
Freedom around food means that you feel free enough to listen honestly and openly to your body and eat what it’s asking for, rather than what you think you should be eating at a certain time of day or at a certain weight.
No food is off limits, so react with care for yourself when you feel hungry. Life is too short to be unkind to yourself and miss out on things that would make you happy.
Enjoying every day and every meal is much more liberating than reaching a smaller clothing size.
8. Exercise shouldn’t be punishment.
You may have seen an advert floating around online recently encouraging gym-goers to ‘punish yourself buff’. Yep, there’s just not enough eye rolls in the world for that one, really.
Exercise is important, but it should be about simply wanting to move your body, rather than feeling an overbearing guilt to get into the gym, push yourself further than you want to, or being miserable from start to finish.
Exercise doesn’t have to be punishment. It can be dancing to your favourite tunes, walking through a lovely park, meeting your friend for a hilarious badminton game.
9. You don't need to 'make up for it'.
PSA: a bite of pizza doesn’t have to be instantly 'burned off', and that cupcake you’ve got your eye on for this evening doesn’t have to be 'earned' at the gym first.
Some days we eat more than we did yesterday. Sometimes we’ll eat more than usual and not be hungry for a while afterwards. Every so often, you’ll eat too much and have to lie horizontally for a couple of hours.
Remind yourself that it's normal, and eating throughout the day doesn't need to come with any bargaining.
10. And last but not least:
Remember your worth - however hard the January diet industry is currently trying to make you forget it.
Your weight has no reflection on your value has a human being, and you don't need to change a thing to fit in with prescribed standards of beauty.
‘Don’t worry about your body. It wasn’t as small as it once was, but the world needs more of you’ - Clementine Von Radics.
Words by Lucy Wood