Moving into 2021 without "shoulds," shame, and diet-culture
Updated: Dec 29, 2020
'Tis the season for family, friends, cinnamon, pine, fireplaces, snow and.... DIET-CULTURE.
BUCKLE UP and brace yourself. We're headed into a new year which means a slew of advertisements and marketing messages about weight loss are coming your way as we enter into 2021.
Honestly, I'm prepared for this year to be worse than others.
Because 2020 was such a rough year, I think people are going to be extra idealistic about making 2021 better. And unfortunately, in our culture, "better" often has to do with your weight and your appearance.
Starting the new year is often an impetus for daydreaming about the most evolved, healthy, and bright version of ourselves.
And if you turn on the TV or spend 5 minutes scrolling on Instagram you’ll quickly find messages touting that this highest version of yourself is the one with no wrinkles, no cellulite, is 10 lbs lighter, is noticeably more toned, has silky smooth legs, and generally emanates sex, beauty, and youth.
👉This is diet-culture and THIS IS TOXIC.
Changing your body shape and starting a new diet* are not the path to enlightenment or lasting peace and joy.
And they’re most certainly not the way to heal from the trauma of a global pandemic.
*When I say diet I mean anything from Weight Watchers to Whole 30 to a cleanse to intermittent fasting.
Setting New Year’s goals centered around your weight do a few harmful things:
Most notably, they perpetuate fatphobia (fearing larger bodies which can operate on a subconscious or conscious level)
They set you up for feeling like a failure. Because diets don't work. They didn't in 1980 and they don't in 2021.
They prevent you from setting goals about more important things. Diet-culture is the ultimate distraction. It keeps you focused on your body and food instead of your heart, your passions, and changing the world.
There's a lot we all probably want to leave behind in 2020 and it's natural to look forward into the new year with anticipation, hopes, and dreams.
What if - in addition to leaving behind quarantine, COVID, missed family gatherings, lonely nights, and an abundance of Zoom calls - you left behind diets, shoulds, rigid food rules, body shame, a preoccupation with your appearance, and comparison in 2020?
What if you set goals for yourself that had to do with improving your mental health, finding compassion for your body, and pursuing peace with food rather than setting goals rooted in changing who you are, becoming a smaller version of yourself, and signing up for a new wellness plan that will steal your money, energy, and joy.
This time of year is a cue to consciously turn inward, reflect on how far you've come, and reignite your hopes and dreams for your future.
A new year is a rebirth.
A time to re-evaluate. To re-center. To re-align.
But HOW you choose to reevaluate, realign, and recenter is up to you.
There's an inherent sacredness in this time of reflection and goal setting that has been robbed by companies convincing you that you didn't try hard enough this year.
That you failed your goals.
That you slacked off.
That you didn't work enough hours or go to the gym enough mornings.
The thought is: if you feel bad about some of what happened this year, you'll do differently in the future.
Which means you're creating your goals from a place of guilt, shame, and fear. NONE of which are appropriate motivators for change.
My wish for you is that you start 2021 free of guilt and "shoulds."
"Shoulds" are anything:
That you feel obligated to do
You do because you feel it's expected
That feels forced
That you're doing out of fear
That last one is really important. ANYTHING YOU'RE DOING OUT OF FEAR.
As you're setting your goals and intentions for the new year, I encourage you to check in with your body.
When you think about this goal do you feel heavy or light?
Do you feel excited and motivated? Or intimidated and under pressure?
👉My guess is you have a few standard new years resolutions that you tend to cycle through. You might even set the same goal every. single. year.
Hard truth? That goal isn't right for you.
If you've been trying to go to the gym 3 days a week for the past ten years and it's just not happening, that doesn't mean you failed.
It means you need to reevaluate the goal.
Do you even enjoy going to the gym?
What's your motivation for going?
How will you feel if you achieve this goal?
How will you feel if you don't?
Are there any other ways you could achieve the same result with different actions? Actions that feel exciting or in alignment with your values?
Now, to put all of this into action, I encourage you to set aside some time to journal and reflect on how 2020 was for you and what you hope to gain, release, and cultivate in 2021.
Pull out a pen and paper. Light some candles. Play some music. Take some deep breaths. And allow yourself to tap into your heart's deepest cries. Your soul's deepest yearnings.
Here are some questions to get you started:
What are you most proud of from this year?
What challenges have you overcome?
What moments & events made your heart light up the most?
What does your dream life look like 1 year from now? 5 years from now? 10 years from now?
What steps can you take today to get you closer to ☝☝ that?
What do you want to take with you into 2021 and what do you want to leave behind?
How has diet-culture shown up in your life this year? How can you take steps to mute, reject, or challenge diet-culture in 2021?
What intentions would you like to set around your relationship with your body?
What intentions would you like to set around your relationship with food?
What sort of accountability would feel supportive for you and your food and body healing journey? (My free, online community Soulfully You could be a great place to start!)
How can you bring more love and joy into your life?
What boundaries do you need to set in 2021?
Reflecting and journaling at the end of the year is one of my favorite traditions. Try it out and let me know how it feels for you!
My (business) year in review:
I grew my email list from 119 to 503 subscribers
I grew my IG following from 568 to 993
I started my business Pinterest account and grew it from 0 to 828 followers
I launched Soulfully You my online, intuitive eating community
I worked with 13 incredible coaching clients
I was interviewed on two podcasts
I had my first international interview
My (personal) year in review:
I GOT MARRIED! 👰👰😍😍
I turned 30!!
I worked 5 side jobs while building my business
I taught virtual dance classes
I stopped working those side jobs in July during COVID and devoted myself full-time to my business
I spent A LOT of time home alone
I continued to battle intense chronic pain
I started seeing a chiropractor and therapist in Greenville
One of my grandmothers passed away
Did I say, I GOT MARRIED!!!! (Pre-COVID)
2020, YOU WERE A LOT.
2021, I am SO ready for you.