You are enough.
If there's one New Year message you need to take notice of and pay heed to this year, it's this one:
You. Are. Enough.
And you always have been; the only reason you doubt this is because a patriachal, capitalist society as taught you that you should. Perhaps this sounds feminist to you. Perhaps this sounds like hyperbole. Perhaps it's both; but I don't think there's anything wrong with that. And regardless of whether the above thoughts are true, it's also true that these 'motivational' new year messages sold to us by huge multinational corporations are gradually ruining our physical and mental health. Men and women; young boys and girls; young and old; we are all affected by the damaging message at this time of year that tell you to feel guilty over festive indulgences, to feel disgust at the way your body looks, and to feel that the only answer is to improve yourself with their New Year-New You diet plans.
But this isn't just a new year, it's a new decade - we're heading into the Roaring Twenties people, so let's change the script. What if we called these things out for what they are? Nutribollocks! Cleverly marketed, well packaged nutribollocks designed to prey on your deepest fears, to demote your self esteem and give up your hard earned cash all in the name of making you feel better. Except they don't make you feel better. Not in the long term and the fact that 95% of diets fail back this up.
If you're starting 2020 feeling like you want to be a healthier, happier version of your 2019 self, that's fab! I'm certainly not saying there's anything wrong with it. But don't be taken in by diet culture's false promises. It doesn't matter how many times you join Slimming World, WW, go on 30 day juice diet, detox or swap your lunch for a shake, you'll always end up back in the same place on Jan 1st; not because you didn't stick to the plan, but because you CAN'T stick to the plan. If you have to start a diet plan again because of a birthday, Christmas, holiday, meal out with friends, work, Thursday... you're not doing anything wrong, it's just a shit plan!!
So what should you do instead?
This year, why not make it the year you learn to be kind to yourself? Instead of resolving to rejoin the diet club again next Monday, plan to start some self care... this can come in various forms, but here's a few to get you started:
- Have a read of some helpful books/ blogs which will help you with your mindset and how you think about yourself. Speaking to yourself kindly is the first step in boosting your self esteem, not trying to make yourself smaller!
- Follow some motivational people on Instagram who not only promote a healthy body and mind but also share facts about health and fitness, rather than marketing and propaganda. Here's just a few to get you started: @drjoshuawolrich, @bodyposipanda, @liftwithhollyandarryn, @tova_leigh, @chr1styharrison, @i-weigh.
- Fill your ears with the sounds of positivity, whether that be a great audiobook or a podcast. In fact, why not start with #projectbodyconfident featuring me, the fabulous Ellie, @FeelFitUK, and the awesome Hannah, @Hannahclay_1.
- Apply a critical eye to everything you see and hear. We've become so used to the promotion of disordered eating and exercise that it appears to be the norm. Anything that promotes fear around food, complete restriction of food or types of food, products to replace food, or exercise as a means of earning food is not going to be good for your health, mentally or physically.
- Tell yourself - as often as is necessary - that you are so much more than your body. Tell yourself all the things your body does for you on a daily basis and then remind yourself of how much you achieve in your family life, in your work life, in your social life, in every aspect of your life, daily. How much fat does or doesn't exist on your body has absolutely nothing to do with this.
- Move your body in a way that feels good. Don't take up exercise to burn calories, to punish yourself for eating, or to earn food for later. That's doing nothing for your mental health but it's also not sustainable. Instead, find something you enjoy; it honestly doesn't matter what! In fact, why not try something new - scuba diving? Wakeboarding? Martial Arts? Kettlebells? Dance? Grab a friend and make 2020 the year you find what brings you joy in movement!
- Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, please don't join a slimming club. I know, I know, I've been there myself and it's so tempting because you're convinced that all you need to do is stick to it and that the added 'accountability' will do that. But... have you honestly asked yourself why you haven't been able to stick to it no matter how many times you've tried or how much effort you've put into it previously? I've worked with far too many women now - and also experienced the negative effects personally - to feel super passionate about this: diet clubs promote weight loss, not health gain. They are not the answer to the way you are feeling and over time, they are doing damge you can't even see. There are no such things as Syns (after all, in what world does an avocado end up perceived as worse than a can of cider!); A 'diet' is not a healthy way to lose weight (processed foods, restriction of nutritious foods and fear mongering of fats is not good for you!); and most of all, you don't need it, what you need is to start respecting yourself, taking care of yourself and being kind to yourself, a slimming club will not help you achieve any of these things but more sleep, less stress and a focus on time with family and friends will.
If, after reading this, you know you want to change something but you're not sure where to go next, ask! Message, text, email, visit our little studio in Prestwich... whichever works best for you... but ask, because we'd love to help!
Happy New Year y'all... let's make this year, all about you...
because you are enough!