Take The Cake: #DitchTheDiet2017 With #NoMoreReso2017 

Ditch Diet Culture's biggest day of the year. (Image Credit: Instagram / Virgie Tovar)

A few days ago, I was interviewed for a new podcast on the 11th floor of a very tall building on California Street in San Francisco’s financial district. After taking the elevator up, I was escorted into “The Menagerie of All Imaginable Beverages Room.” I picked up a grapefruit-flavored La Croix (!) and a cup of coffee with a generous pour of Strauss (!) half-and-half in it. Strauss takes all things to the next level. So does La Croix. This was serious. 

In the interview, we talked about my obsession with large jewelry, my forthcoming rhinestone bustier debut, growing up a fat nerd, and the diabolical machinations of diet culture. Then New Year’s Resolutions came up. 

New Year’s Resolutions are part of the Diet Industrial Complex (DIC), for sure. So, I am really, super not a fan.

Resolutions feel like a blast from an unpleasant past I’d rather not remember. The further that my obsessive dieting behavior gets in my rearview mirror, the weirder it feels to remember all the stuff I did in hopes of someday becoming thin. Sometimes it feels like remembering someone else’s life. 

Recently I got an email from someone who had just taken Babecamp, and she told me how triggering she found the beginnings of things: each Monday or first of the month represented an opportunity to transform, an opportunity to double down on her weight loss journey harder than ever before. Her confession sent me barreling into my own memories. 

When I was still dieting and starving myself, I remember each morning began like a hammer reminding me that I had a responsibility to be thin. The weight of the hammer was the threat that today had the potential to be another day in a long string of failures I couldn’t rectify. The "First of the Year" was the granddaddy of all of the firsts. 

I think it’s important to recognize what resolutions really are for many people: a source of incredible stress that is thinly veiled by the language of motivation. The first of the year doesn’t have any inherent meaning. As with weight-loss, it is a culturally learned value. We can unlearn the way we treat January 1. I did.

For dieters, January 1 tops the list of pressure-filled holidays. The gym industry makes all of its money in January, when many people end their period of culturally admissible indulgence and begin restricting once again. New Year’s Resolution convos abound. In 2017, weight-loss will probably top the list of many people’s goals, just as it has so many years in the past. For many people, this is just part of polite conversation. Maybe it doesn’t affect them much, and it’s on the list of “safe” topics, along with the weather and veiled references to mild marital and/or parental dissatisfaction. 

For many others, however, this “polite” conversation piece is acutely anxiety-inducing. For those of us who have been taught that it is our job to change our bodies by any means necessary, discussions of weight-loss can be really hurtful and upsetting... sometimes leading to intense restriction or guilt (or both). 

I think it’s important to recognize what resolutions really are for many people: a source of incredible stress that is thinly veiled by the language of motivation. The first of the year doesn’t have any inherent meaning. As with weight-loss, it is a culturally learned value. We can unlearn the way we treat January 1. I did.  

In response to my interviewer’s question, I talked about how I don’t like the way that weight-loss goals, for instance, are highly praised, when we know that so many people (many of them women) go to extreme lengths — in some cases, actually self-harming — in order to achieve these “goals.” Even when eating/exercise behavior doesn’t delve into self-harm, the truth is that dieting requires a mentality that treads on shame, guilt, anxiety, and corporeal insufficiency. 

So, I say: no more resolutions. 

At some point, I will probably set intentions around wanting to live with more authenticity, integration, and integrity. I will probably make a vision board that features Miss Piggy and the word “bossy.” But I will not be making any resolutions in 2017 because I’m actually doing pretty good. I don’t need more ambition, I need less. I don’t need more preoccupations, I need fewer. And I don’t need more stress because, hey, I’m about to be a fat brown lady living in America under Donald Trump. 

Thus, I hope you’ll join me in #NoMoReso2017. 

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