image credit Virgie Tovar
Resolution season is rough for many of us. Most goal-setting relies upon self-defeating and depleting aspirations, like assimilation into problematic cultural ideals (like thinness). In short, most resolutions rely upon one messed-up maxim: you’re not good enough.
“Weight-loss” used to be at the top of my list year after year. “This year,” I thought, “will be different!” But it never was. Why? Because food and weight restricting are 1. Soul crushing, 2. Deeply boring and unpleasant and also 3. Entirely ineffective (often in the short-run, but even more so longterm).
As we approach the start of a new year I thought I’d offer 9 resolutions that center self-love and acceptance:
1. In 2019, I will demand weight-neutral medical care.
You deserve medical care that centers your wellness - not your weight. Because fatphobia is status quo in medical settings, you’re often signing on for a weight talk no matter why you’ve made an appointment. Fatphobia leads fat people to delay medical attention and causes unnecessary stress. You deserve better! Practice some basic medical self-advocacy (https://ravishly.com/medical-self-advocacy-fat-person) with yourself or with a friend so you’re not scrambling to figure out what to say in the exam room. Start with a simple phrase like, “I am not open to discussing my weight today.” Remember that you have the right to end an appointment if your boundaries are not respected.
2. In 2019, I will divest from projecting moral meaning onto food.
It’s considered normal in our culture to think of certain foods as “good” and others as “bad.” The truth is that food doesn’t possess any inherent meaning. We can approach food without moral judgment (https://ravishly.com/Moralizing-Food) . It takes practice, but it’s good to start by writing down or stating your intention to stop engaging in food moralizing. It makes eating less stressful, acts as solidarity to others who may have a history of disordered eating, and when you stop joining in on this behavior with other people it conveys to them that they can’t turn to you to feel affirmed in this harmful practice.
3. In 2019, I will wear what I want.
Fatphobia creates a lot of fear around wearing what we want. We are afraid that others will mock or shame us. We’re afraid that we’ll fall into someone’s bigoted stereotypes. This mutes our ability to feel authentic, express our individual style and have access to our power. It’s important to remember that you have the right to wear what you want, no matter what others think or feel about it.
4. In 2019, I will set boundaries that honor my right to body autonomy.
I fucking love boundaries. Boundaries have saved my sanity and my dignity. Boundaries can be hard for some of us because in order to have and hold a boundary that means you have to recognize that you have something precious to protect — you. When you’ve dealt with the life-long devaluation of your body it’s hard to realize your feelings and body deserve the gift of protection. But trust me, they do! Start with how you’d like to be treated and what you need to feel safe, and then begin setting a few basic rules to facilitate those things. For instance, a new boundary I made in 2018 was that I was not going to have any emotionally volatile people in my life. Period. I realized I deserved to be around people who had done the work to keep their emotions in check. I started writing about what that would look like and ended the few relationships I had with emotionally volatile people. Moving forward, I now know to watch for volatility in the getting-to-know-someone phase.
5. In 2019, I will read more fat positive literature.
There are so many new books (and blogs and social media accounts) focused on fat liberation and body justice! My favorites are The Body Is Not An Apology, Body Respect and I’m pretty proud of my newest book, You Have the Right to Remain Fat.
6. In 2019, I will spend 60 seconds each day touching a part of myself I have a hard time accepting.
I’m a huge fan of the somatic side of body acceptance. We spend a lot of time in our heads thinking critically about the messages we receive and how we want to change them. That’s very powerful, but engaging with our bodies is a major part of healing. I know it’s intimidating, but start with familiarizing yourself with the way your body feels for just one full minute a day. It’s ok if this sounds terrifying and you cry the first several dozen times you do it. This is actually pretty normal in my experience working with clients! Try to release judgment and focus on sensation.
7. In 2019, I will not date anyone who doesn’t love my body.
A long time ago I believed that there was no way someone would love my body. The best I could hope for, I believed, was reluctant acceptance based on affection for my personality. And then I realized that was horse shit. I made #7 a firm, non-negotiable for dating forever, and never looked back. Now I routinely date people who say things like, “If you wanted us to get out of bed before 2 you wouldn’t have such a banging bod” (yes, literally, this adorably throwback phrase was uttered to me last weekend, in fact).
8. In 2019, I will celebrate the strides I’ve made so far in recuperating my relationship to my body.
Celebration is a highly underrated practice. It’s important to take some time to realize how far you’ve come. Emotional strides are easy to miss, but they’re so important to recognize. Think back on one, two or five years ago. What has changed in how you think of your body or how you treat yourself? No matter how subtle, it counts.
9. In 2019, I will show more compassion to myself.
I always like to remind people that we live in a culture that is truly committed to making us feel like garbage, especially if you’re a woman or femme. Doing body liberation work is going against literally EVERYthing you’ve ever been taught. It goes against gender norms, capitalism and the history of western civilization. So, cut yourself some slack in those moments when you’re not Self Love Winner #1.
Happy New Year!