I’m not sure if it’s the first time I heard of new year’s resolutions, but I’m pretty sure it was the first time I made one. It was a hot evening; in country Victoria they almost always are. There was a pool and a trampoline and it was one of those parties where there were heaps of kids my brother and I had never met before. It didn’t matter because at that age things were pretty simple: new kids equalled new friends, if only for a few hours. Boys in one free-range mob, girls in another.
As midnight approached some of these new girls and I snuck into the kitchen to help ourselves to second and third bowls of pavlova. Our hands were adorned with Cheezel rings. We ‘pigged out’ because tomorrow we were all ‘going on a diet’.
I was maybe ten or eleven. Of course we didn’t ‘go on a diet’, we didn’t know how. But we already knew somehow that it was what we should be doing.
As an adult my new year’s resolutions have had a depressing constancy. Under the influence of every ‘New Year, New You!’ magazine article I could get my hands on, they’ve gone something like:
- Lose 10 kilos.
- Join a gym and hope the financial outlay will guilt me into attending. Ignore the fact that I hate the gym.
- Don’t eat carbs/fat/anything at all after 4pm/6pm/8pm/whatever arbitrary time I’ve recently come across on a weight loss, sorry, ‘lifestyle’ blog.
- Lose 10 kilos.
- Feel bad if not losing at least one kilogram a week because sheesh, I don’t want to be on a diet forever.
Lose 10 kilos.
This is all kinda personal but I need to say out loud that living like that is bullshit. Feeling like you are valued according to the size and shape of your body is bullshit. Magazines and gyms and weight loss companies getting rich by feeding us insecurities is bullshit. It takes a lot of work to undo a lifetime of programming on this stuff but it’s worth sticking at. This year my resolutions are different:
- For the first time in living memory, I won’t buy Who Magazine’s ‘Half Their Size!’ special and spend days rereading it (in secret of course) comparing my body to those pictured inside.
- I will continue to practice yoga because it makes me feel strong and calm.
- I will delete interminably boring ‘lifestyle’ blogs—in which women (always women) log their eating, drinking and exercise several times a day, in scrupulous detail—from my reader.
- I will ride my bike because it is ridiculously fun and gives me a sense of freedom.
- For now, this is enough.