New Year, New Mindset
If the goal of your dieting is to be happy with your body, there’s a more effective approach than empty promises.
By Mattie Winowitch, Waynesburg University
The New Year can bring on a lot of pressure.
With the social media posts saying, “New year, new me!” and the idea that it’s up to you to make the new year good or bad, the stress can sometimes drive people bonkers.
One thing that can especially bring on a lot of pressure is a New Year’s resolution. To some, a New Year’s resolution is a way for them to prioritize the next 365 days of their life and ensure that they will accomplish exactly what they want to accomplish. However, for the rest of us normal people, New Year’s resolutions are just hopeless lists of open-ended commitments that exist only to remind us of how pathetic and unmotivated we really are.
When it comes to these cliché resolutions, many of them are the same year after year. For instance, making/saving more money, finding love and trying new things are just some of the most popular ones. Who would’ve guessed?
Like many others, I have also found myself stuck in a rut when it comes to thinking of things I want to change about my life for the New Year. In fact, every year I make the same empty promise: I will go to the gym more and I will lose weight to finally get my dream body.
This has been the drill for the past five or six years now.
When I really think about it, I realize it doesn’t make much sense. In fact, if I’m being totally “one-hunnit” right now, my body is fine. I have a healthy BMI, and although I don’t have the long sought-after Victoria’s Secret six pack or legs, my body is completely functional and healthy.
So why has losing weight been my perpetual resolution for the past few years? Well, the short answer is society.
From my own observations, about ten years ago women were encouraged to be very thin and skeleton-like. Recently, I’ve noticed the trend to be that women are supposed to basically live in the gym in order to get large quads, toned biceps and defined abs.
Women are subjected to hundreds of advertisements and posts featuring unrealistic celebrities and body shapes every day. The scariest part is that these images and advertisements aren’t just limited to TV and movies. Social media has completely taken over. Now, not only are we jealous of the Kardashians and Channing Tatum, but thanks to social media, we’re also jealous of the popular girl from high school and the college frat guy.
That’s right: REAL people who don’t have enough money to pay for Botox or professional photoshop jobs. So fucking scary.
Although the social media aspect is a newer thing, people have been battling body image issues for years. And sometimes these pressures can get so severe that eating disorders develop. Statistically speaking, at least 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the United States. I’m no mathematician, but that seems like a lot of people.
So yeah, for the past few years my main New Year’s resolution was to lose weight. But like most people who take part in this yearly change, I never actually kept up with my promise. My countless gym memberships and subscriptions to fitness magazines never kept me captivated for long. My daily runs on the treadmill turned into weekly runs, which shortly turned into monthly ones. My vows to eat healthy were taken over by chocolate and cheeseburgers.
Because of the pressures of both the New Year and my resolution, by failing to keep my promise with myself, I ended up feeling very broken on the inside. This ended up making my confidence drop, because not only did I hate how I looked, but I also hated that I couldn’t even keep up with the program for a month or two.
I’m not trying to say that New Year’s resolutions are bad. In fact, they can be great if you choose the right things to change about your life—or if you’re actually dedicated enough to stick to it.
The problem with these resolutions is that when they become unrealistic, your feelings get crushed and your priorities shift.
I’ve learned in my biology classes that each body type—along with how they gain muscle and lose weight—is different. That being said, you can’t realistically compare your body with someone else’s. And I have learned that in the end, by making my resolution to lose weight or to maintain a workout regimen, I only ended up feeling shittier about myself. And I can’t be alone in that.
After this summer, something changed my way of thinking. I used to hate everything about how I looked on the outside, which made everything in my life harder. But after this summer, I started to be okay with how I looked and felt. I can’t really attribute it to anything specific, though. It was probably a combination of staying busy and being happy in every other aspect of my life. I figured, who gives a shit what I look like if I end every day with a smile?
Once I dropped the pressures in my life to be a skinny, muscular-looking freak, which probably developed from years of these same-old resolutions, I actually found joy in eating healthy and working out. And if I ended up accidentally skipping a work out or going on a midnight Wendy’s run? Pressure’s off.
So, for 2017, I vow to let go of all of my previous inhibitions. I no longer want to be held down by unrealistic resolutions that only cause me more stress or pain. I choose happiness as my resolution, bitches. It might be cliché, but hey, so is wanting to fall in love and make more money. Happiness first, then everything else will fall into place.