A major step in my own body positive journey was relinquishing the control that New Year’s Resolutions had over me. They were often filled with shame – promising to make changes to “better myself,” specifically my body, in some way that felt forced upon me by society instead of some way I personally wanted to grow. I recently found three lists of New Year’s Resolutions I’d penned in the early 1990s to my teenage self. Every year, the top three resolutions I made were exercise more, eat healthier, and lose weight. And every year I tried to do those things and ended up feeling worse about myself and failing because the truth was? I was already unhealthily addicted to exercise – I was captain of my cheerleading squad and had practice every morning, performed at one or two games after school, and attended one or two aerobics classes in between. I literally couldn’t have fit in more exercise if I tried. I also felt bad when I ate candy bars from the vending machine and buttery popcorn from the football concession stand, which fueled the exercising obsession, because I needed to “work off those calories.” I tried diet pills (which I hated because they made me feel nauseous) and making myself vomit after eating (which I also hated because I dislike puking as much as I dislike nausea). It took me fifteen more years before I learned that there was a different way, a more positive way, to celebrate the ringing in of a new year.
And when I did, it was not only eye-opening, it was soul-awakening. I finally learned the healthiest way to shed the weight I’d been longing for this whole time – only it wasn’t the pounds of flesh on my body that needed to go. It was the heaviness in my heart telling me I was a failure. I realized that it wasn’t me that needed fixing or changing, it was society. So I decided to take that on, one little New Year’s Resolution – scratch that – Revolution at a time. I already had an extraordinary life and a body I was comfortable with that allowed me to move through my days doing the things I loved. I decided to focus on the DOs rather than the DON’Ts.
January marks new beginnings – a fresh calendar with an empty slate to fill with living life in extraordinary ways. I also love the notion of taking on a good hearty challenge and pushing myself out of my comfort zone, to do something hard, to make a difference. Here are a few of my favorite shame-free body positive suggestions:
Buy a fun piece of clothing in a style that pushes you outside of your normal comfort zone, with no regard for the size on the tag.
Find a cookbook from a new chef and learn to make all (or several) recipes out of it.
Take your bathroom scale to the thrift store. (Better yet, take it to the backyard and smash it with a hammer!)
Revamp your media feed. Delete all the weight loss and diet pages you follow and replace them with fierce fabulous fatties on Instagram and Facebook pages from body positive resources (like me!).
Add a body positive book (or three) to your reading list this year, like Sonya Renee Taylor’s The Body Is Not An Apology, Brittany Gibbon’s Fat Girl Walking, or August McLaughlin’s Girl Boner.
Invest in yourself. Spend a little money taking up the space your deserve and on things that will bring you more joy in the new year. If you’re local to the Boise area - I’ve got the best place to start adding more sex positivity to your life. Kick off 2019 with me at the Positively Good Sex workshop at the Linen Building on January 5th!
Remember, New Year Revolutions don’t have to be grand proclamations. They can be tiny, beautiful and personal things that mean something to you. So here’s to celebrating revolutions and changing the world – one big or small step at a time.
* this was originally published in the Winter 2017 issue of Fabuplus magazine titled “Body Positive New Year’s Resolutions (strike-through) REVOLUTIONS”