For a week in June, I gave away my goal setting workbook for free. As part of the download form, in addition to the “required” name and email fields, I included one more optional question. Just for fun, I asked people to share what goal they were working to accomplish before the end of the year.
The response to my offer started off really strong - which was exciting. Of course, I wanted to look right away to see what kind of goals everyone was working on.
I started to peek at the responses rolling in. . . .and my heart sank. So many of them referenced weight loss goals. I was literally holding back tears as I scanned through some of the responses.
I was mad & sad & overwhelmed that, for many people, the first thing they thought of when I asked them what they were working on was losing weight.
It enraged me that we live in a society that reinforces daily, especially for women, that how we look is more important than what we accomplish.
It made me angry that this myth of "healthy = thin & unhealthy = fat” continues to be the status quo (in spite of research to the contrary) because I am sure many folks who reference weight loss really just meant they wanted to be healthier but didn’t see the difference between the two.
It made me sad to think about all of the ways fat people & people who do not live up to societies standards of beauty/desirability are made to feel less than. And, are often treated differently because of their bodies. (When your body size and appearance can literally play a role in whether you get hired or promoted, it’s understandable that people would feel pressure to change themselves.)
It also made me realize that I need to do a better job at sharing true body positivity & empowering messages of self love with my community. (I did NOT go through and match names to goals and start picking out people - or anything like that! But, based on sheer numbers, I can assume that some beautiful folks who follow me - and see my body love messages, inspirational self acceptance quotes, and countless shared articles and resources - were actively pursuing intentional weight loss.)
Weight Loss Resolution Resistance
This has been weighing on my heart and mind, literally, since June, and has informed a project I worked on throughout January. I wanted to share voices in direct opposition to the typical “New Year! New You!” crap that is thrown at us at the start of each year.
Don’t get me wrong, I think January is an amazing time to set goals! (I love goal setting! Remember, I even wrote a workbook about it!) What I do take issue with is the idea that we need to be new people. The presumption that the present “us” isn’t good enough. A focus not on growth & progression but on guilt & shame. And, finally, the assumed notion conveyed in these “New Year! New You!” slogans that we need to change ourselves to live up to an ideal that is truly unattainable.
I was honored to have so many people participate in this project. Their statements are strong and their stories are ones of resilience. Have a look at a few below & see all of them on my website or Facebook (for easy sharing!).
Finally, in reference to weight loss goals & choices you make about you. . .
Your body is your body. I am not here to judge you. Do whatever you want. (Truly!) Your goals are your goals. Set them however you see fit!
I do care a lot about your insides. . .your thoughts, feelings, emotions, & baggage about your body - all informed by messages around us that are constantly telling us that we’re not good enough. . .that we deserve less. . . that our bodies are not valued. I also care a lot about information. I want everyone to be able to make informed decisions about their bodies with the full picture in mind.
Whether these are things you care about or not, know that you are so much more than the size of your body! Losing weight is not your life’s purpose. You are capable and valuable and worthy no matter what size your body is or how healthy you are (or, aren’t)!