Hands up if the January blues have hit you like a tonne of bricks?
Well good news is, we’re so very close to the finish line, about to jump into February. The month of feeling down and being made to feel guilty is nearly over, hallelujah.
But why is it such a negative month? Why does it fill so many of us with dread?
If you’re anything like me, you may have started the month by sitting on the sofa, staring at the half eaten tin of quality street and wondering how many green triangles you can realistically eat before you explode. It was all well and good using the excuse ‘it’s Christmas!’ when you’re halfway through your second wheel of brie, and the chocolate stash you’ve waded your way through is diminishing rapidly, but when your new years dress felt a little snug since its last wear and you were dreading having to put on your work trousers again, you started to think ‘fuck I’ve really done it now’.
This is of course a very toxic way of thinking. Indulgence is something many people enjoy in many different forms. For some it’s designer items that will put them so deep in their overdraft they won’t be able to pay rent; for others it’s eating three plates of leftovers back to back and still having room for a slice of pie even though you’re full already.
The irony is that the same companies who threw adverts of Christmas food and drink at you in December, will have changed their tune, and now start throwing gym memberships, juice cleanses and detox diets at you in January. Your social media will switch from ‘enjoy yourself’ to ‘fix yourself’.
PUT DOWN THE DIET BOOK
But seriously, is there no end to the over saturated world of fad dieting and degrading marketing ploys? The amount of celebrities and public figures are already millionaires, but they have to show you how this one shake a day full of additives and crap is the key secret to how they get their body so sNaTcHeD. It’s the SHAKES and the TEA, not the hours of personal training sessions and solely eating boxes of boring look salad, they swear!
I digress, but really. If you look at them for inspiration on how to realistically get in shape and be fit and healthy, you’re looking in the wrong place. Because all the ploys that celebrities endorse to sell you something that’s unnatural and an extreme and unhealthy method to lose weight are bad enough year round, let alone after Christmas.
I found this year’s festive period was particularly over saturated with ‘better run off those pigs in blankets!’ captions, along with a lot of ‘new year new body’. It was pretty worrying how people suddenly felt the need to purge all the lovely comforting food they had shared and enjoyed over Christmas with their loved ones so soon.
I totally get that if you suffer from any type of disordered eating habit, an eating disorder or generally do not enjoy overeating and feel guilty from food consumption easily, that the start of a new year can be used as a way to distract from the over-eating period of christmas. Because I have been there, restricting myself and my food intake as a way to punish myself for overeating over christmas.
But posts that tell you to move on from ‘the bad foods’ and ‘bad habits’ that only involve EATING are so dangerous. You do NOT need to burn anything off. Do not push yourself to over exercise and under eat, do not be made to look at your body in a different way, and do not let a stranger on the internet decide how you treat it.
CHANGE YOUR RESOLUTIONS
The new year of course is a great time to implement a change in your life. Being healthier, moving your body more and exercising regularly is part of a balanced healthy lifestyle. But balance also includes having a pizza with your friends and not feeling bad about it. It includes getting whipped cream on your hot chocolate if you’re having a crap day and it’ll make you feel better. And it includes knowing that ‘unhealthy’ eating is a small part of your life. Don’t let it take over and make you feel shit about yourself, it’s not worth the stress and self deprecation.
Resolutions are not meant to be a way to guilt trip yourself into making changes that make you sad. They don’t all have to revolve around losing pounds and shrinking by inches. They should revolve around how YOU want to make your life happier. This year, my resolutions are:
1.Stop being so self deprecating
I will be the first to admit that the way I talk about myself is horrible. If I spoke to other people the way I speak to myself, I’d have no friends. Grabbing my thighs and calling them fat, pointing out how my knees bulge out of the rips in my jeans, and how I’m not blessed with an ample chest like some – why? WHY do I do that? It only fuels the fire in my head to be unhappy. It’s pointless, and has to stop.
2. Exercise for the health benefits, not weight loss
I first stepped into a gym at 16. I was convinced I needed to lose weight and ‘tone up’. I wasn’t overweight, I wasn’t underweight I was actually quite healthy and a lot smaller than what I saw in the mirror. This mild body dysmorphia has followed me since, and it’s an ongoing issue I do my best to acknowledge and fight against. One way to do that is to change my view on exercise. I want to exercise to make my body feel good, and optimise how healthy it is. I don’t want to see the gym as a place to feel good, not reach goals.
3. Focus on myself and stop comparing
The classic generation Z problem of constantly comparing ourselves to who and what we are exposed to online. The bloggers who are successful and beautiful, the couples who own their dream home, the business owners who have blown up; our social media feeds are a breeding ground for the green eyed monster. They say comparison is the thief of joy, and I only realised that when I had a social media purge – which I’ve talked about before – and only spent my time and energy following people who serve me purpose and make me feel good.
Take January as your beta month. Things were still a work in progress, nothing is set in stone. Enter the new month of February with a new mindset on what it means to make a happy, and healthy new years resolution.
If you have been affected by anything mentioned in this post, please use the links below to seek help and advice: