With the new year upon us, it is without a doubt that many will be throwing themselves into a new fitness routine, a new healthy diet - perhaps ‘Veganuary’. The concept that the new year is a time for a ‘new me’, a time to shed the Christmas weight and a time to become a better version of yourself, is coming to subjugate the mainstream media. My Instagram explore page of 2018 so far has consisted of countless fitness bloggers and personal trainers of whom work to motivate everyone to obtain a consistently healthy diet, a rigorous exercise regime in order to complete the ultimate goal of weight loss. I can assure you that I have blocked these pages.
It is also without a doubt that the weight loss goal is one which requires balance and tenderness. I have come to hate the pressure that comes with the new year and the pervading thought that I must change something about myself - predominantly the number on the scale. There is nothing wrong with being merry at Christmas, eating every piece of accessible chocolate and just having time to unwind with family and friends. It is a time to appreciate the people you have around you and indulge in lovely food, if you are lucky enough to have it.
I should emphasise that if your new year goal is to lose weight then that is great and I thoroughly support you. However, we do not share the same goal. To imply that losing weight is the best start to the year is damaging and an issue of sensitivity for some, so why should we all be mounted with the immense pressure to hit the gym every day to get a ‘perfect’ figure? Cutting out foods deemed as ‘unhealthy’ and ‘sugar-filled’ is not something I wish to be drilled into me – so despite the challenge of ignoring social media when it occupies such a huge part of our lives, ignore it if you can. Do what is best for you and your wellbeing. People should be able to eat what they want without the pressure of calorie or carb cutting.
I personally have set some new goals for this year: to eat what I want when I want, to make the most of my final year of University and to learn to relax more. I don’t see why I should have to change myself to make myself feel better in the new year when I should have believed in myself from the beginning. Other resolutions should be encouraged rather than weight loss. Perhaps being kinder to yourself, getting fresh air once a day, reading a new book or listening to new music. Beauty comes in so many different shapes and sizes – thus succumbing to society’s ideal of what is beautiful should not affect the way we mentally approach the new year.
This is the year we should redefine ‘health' as its meaning to each individual varies. It’s time to start appreciating and facilitating wellbeing, in body and mind, in so that we can maximise the potential and excitement of the new year for everyone.