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The new year agenda

It’s that ‘twixtmas’ time, those days between Christmas and New Year where you live in your PJ’s and have no idea what day of the week it is. You’ve been eating leftovers for 5 days solid and breakfast consists of a handful of Quality street. You think you may actually be 50% cheese.

It’s that time where if you turn on the TV or go on social media, you will be bombarded with ads for gym memberships and summer holidays. Each showing some scantily clad, toned ass and abs, golden goddess.

Everyone is asking you “what are your new year’s resolutions?”

The constant mantra is Do better, look better, be better.

You are not good enough as you are.

Post Partum Body Changes

After having children inevitably my body changed. After baby number one it did “bounce back” somewhat, which I desperately felt I needed and wanted it to do.

Breastfeeding already meant not being able to wear a lot of the things I liked and not fitting anything made me feel rubbish. And there is such an expectation to lose the baby weight. Compounded by the fact that you go from being told constantly you are glowing and look wonderful whilst heavily pregnant, to no longer receiving any compliments. Until you start to shed the pounds and everyone is back cheerleading how great you look.

Two years later, after baby number two, my body didn’t magically shrink back. And here I am 4 years post partum from my second pregnancy and my body is a different body entirely from the one pre babies.

It’s not just about weight, its whole shape is different. Perhaps with real investment I could get that pre-baby body back, but do you know what?

I actually don’t give a hoot.

The Damage of diet culture

After so much of my life feeling the pressure to lose weight I am finally at a point where I say enough is enough.

I recall from such a young age, in primary school, pinching my tummy to see how much fat there was, and throughout early adolescence constantly weighing myself and doing step-ups on the toilet each time I went to pee.

As girls we wanted to take up as little space as possible, Sucking in our tummies as you walk around or a picture is taken; something I still find myself doing at points even now.

Every year the pressures to get that ‘beach body’. The salads, the guilt when you ate something that the world was telling you was bad.

In my early teenage years I really struggled and did become very consumed with weight loss. Thankfully for me, In the long run I was really crap at depriving myself. I gave in to temptation too readily and as I entered my older teens I spent so much time drinking and partying that I had no mind space to really care too much about serious dieting.

But it never stopped the self-loathing. It never stopped the constant desire to be thinner and the fact I was never happy with how I looked.

Reaching acceptance

Sadly, it’s only now, having had two children and now at the age of 40 that I finally can accept my body for what it is. That I am at peace with the fact that I will never be a size 10 again.

I don’t love how I look, and I still feel self conscious but I believe my body is a good body.

It is enough as it is and it doesn’t need to change unless I really want it to. Not because it has to or it should.

There is nothing wrong with losing weight, wanting to look different and be more healthy. Wanting to improve is absolutely fine providing it is actually for you. If it will actually make you happy and improve your life. But often it is not for us, it is for the world to like us.

The beauty ideal

The saddest part for women is those years where we were actually at our most socially pleasing size, at a time when we should have been the most carefree and innocent. Those are the years we are robbed of enjoying it. In truly relishing and experiencing our wonderful forms in all their glory.

Those beautiful years of early womanhood, our magical bodies developing, there we were, moulding it to fit an ideal and tweaking it for fundamentally the male gaze.

The task is for it to be desired by others but not by ourselves. The ultimate tragedy.

This new year, you are already enough

So this new year I will not be curating resolutions on how to improve or look better. I will not join the yearly train speeding into the future in a pursuit to be somewhere I’m not now.

There will be no ‘new year, new you’ for me. No self- improvement books.

I say “fuck it” at 40!

Do whatever you feel like.

Sod “act your age” “Dress your age”

Growing old “gracefully” I have not been graceful a moment of my existence.

I don’t know what’s around the corner or where I may end up in the long run but I am happy on the journey.

The destination isn’t necessarily important if along the way you enjoy yourself, you learn, you have those you love around you and you actually LIVE.

People spend so much time hung up on the destination. So much working towards something, chasing an unachievable perfection and thinking ahead, that they lose sight of the now. They forget to appreciate all that they already are and already have. You must be able to sit back and enjoy the moment.

Abandoning the rat race

I was always two steps in the future. Always the “what ifs”, forever the planner. And that’s ok. Only now I am appreciating that this place I’m in right now is also good. It doesn’t always need perfecting, you can be happy just as is. That you can accept at some point that you are enough and the work can stop. That’s a hard lesson to learn.

In a world where we live by the calendar. Where Capitalism has us always feeling we are never there yet. Forever chasing an unreachable unrealistic and often unknown sense of accomplishment.

I am now the closest I’ve been in understanding who I am and what is important to me. It’s still work in progress, and perhaps is for us all until the day we die? As our priorities shift and our passions evolve.

But for 2023 I am happy in sitting with who and what I am now. Demanding nothing more and enjoying all that is now, simultaneously whilst looking forward and engaging and embracing new things.

Say it louder for those at the back.

You are already enough!

3 Replies to “New Year, Same you: Resolutions, diet Culture and never being enough”

    1. Thanks for reading Annabelle. It’s so tough isn’t it? I think it will forever be work in progress for me. But already I am more self loving and forgiving now than I was in the past.

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