With New Year's around the corner, we will start making our New Year's resolutions. Things we want to accomplish within the new year that may be on our bucket list, something from the previous year's resolution that was never accomplished or even things we feel guilted into putting on our lists.
Society pressures us to lose weight daily, and the best time to declare a "positive" weight change is in the "new year, new me" season. I'm here to tell you, this is the year we need to stop making our New Year's resolutions about weight and body image, especially in the midst of COVID-19.
While we may be seeing celebrities making at home gyms and losing weight or gaining muscle during this time, we also have to keep in mind they have the money to do so. We as everyday people do not have the luxuries they do to be able to lose weight the way they can. Many of us are stuck in quarantine with a house packed with a family that would normally be dispersed during the day; we would normally make a habit of driving to the gym before or after work or school daily; we meal prepped or even found ourselves eating less when sitting on campus or at our job. Now, many of us are either working from home or lost our jobs and are eating a row of Oreos daily.
The year 2020 has been a mental and physical whirlwind and it's not surprising when the Washington Post comes out with an opinion piece discussing the second type of a pandemic we are seeing: a long-term grief disorder pandemic. With depression and anxiety, weight gain is normal. The last thing people need when ending this awful year is to be told they need to lose weight as well.
We have moved past needing to encourage people to lose weight in a new year. Pandemic or not, these resolutions are detrimental to the mind. A person can be overweight but have the functioning organs and blood work of a healthy-weight person. WebMD wrote an article back in 2016, discussing how many obese people are falsely categorized as being "unhealthy" while their thinner counterparts are told they are "healthy", strictly based on looks and BMI. Many other studies have come out about this, and when it really comes down to it, society prefers the skinny models, so we as consumers try to force ourselves to be that image at any cost.
Starting at 13, I started paying attention to New Year's resolutions in a very strong, unhealthy manner. All of my female peers did the same, so we would all pay attention to each other's weight. Every year I would write in a spiral notebook workout ideas I would find on WeHeartIt and stick to them for a bit before being sad that I couldn't see any progress being made. Looking back, it's sad that children have to worry about their own weight and actually dread the beginning of a new year. The beginning of a new year meant no ice cream, no cake and no juice. It meant only carrots, only strawberries and only water.
This year, I can already tell many of us are looking hopeful towards 2021 for multiple reasons. In summary, many are saying it really cannot be worse than 2020, so let's not make it worse. If we are looking forward to 2021 and trying to make the best of what we have, don't make it all about our weight. Our weight was literally out of our hands this year!
If you do want to focus on being healthy, then say exactly that. Make your New Year's resolution about being healthier, mentally and physically. This could mean going for walks as many times in a week as you can. Start meditating. Journaling is helpful for releasing emotions and getting creativity flowing. Pick up a hobby (if you haven't already during these crazy times). Learn what self-care days are and stick to them.
There are so many more important things to focus on in life than your weight unless it's super detrimental and your doctor is advising you to lose weight due to a disease. But overall, if you were focused on losing weight to try and fit back into those skinny jeans, listen, you are beautiful just the way you are and you can save those skinny jeans for later. Focus on loving yourself this New Year's.