After the Christmas festivities and overindulgence, many of us set off the new year with some fad diet or purchase a gym membership. These new year’s’ resolutions almost make the holiday “binges” allowable because we are “compensating” for those extra calories or second Christmas dinners by working it off in the new year – “I’ll start in January.”
Let’s take a look at that paragraph and figure out what might be going wrong here? This is very disordered behaviour that is deemed acceptable due to the (in my opinion) brainwashing of diet culture which has taught the nation to hate what we have and fix anything that may be considered as a flaw. I particularly referenced the words “binges” and “compensating” which are typical terms used when discussing behaviours of eating disorders because that is in fact what they are. By sugar coating it “overindulgence” doesn’t make it less of a problem. Likewise, we don’t need excuses such as Christmas to eat whatever we like; we can eat whatever we like all the time, so long as we moderate. This often leads to binges if we deprive ourselves from things that are often labelled “unhealthy.”
Don’t get sucked in
The diet industry knows that January is the best time of year to get people on-board the treadmill. It’s a money making scheme so why wouldn’t they take advantage of every insecure person wanting to feel less guilty about what they ate over the holidays. Gym memberships are most popularly purchased during January. Similarly, we can’t get away from weight loss adverts. On the front page of The Times today, which was sat in front of me whilst I was eating my breakfast, there were two articles on weight loss; one of which was about clean eating (my favourite subject to rip into). I covered it up because this year I have promised myself not to go on a diet!
I have been on a diet every single January since I can remember. I never had a problem with eating what I wanted at Christmas, even last year when I was in the midst of my anorexia and the lowest weight I’ve ever been. Christmas gave me permission to eat and so I did just that. In hindsight I was bingeing, and it was as disordered as any other person who was listening to diet culture. The guilt was always dealt with by my diet to kick start the new year. I tried it all: juice cleanses, clean eating, keto, atkins and all that gave me was low self worth, zero self esteem and anorexia. It wasn’t quite as successful as I’d hoped.
Love yourself this year
This year I’m putting a stop to it. I didn’t binge this Christmas because I knew I would allow myself to eat the same kind of food all year round. This year I will not diet because I know for a fact that they don’t work and more importantly, they are really boring. I was glancing over the clean eating article in ‘The Times’ and to my amazement I didn’t feel even slightly persuaded by it. It didn’t make me feel bad about myself for eating “unclean” foods and it didn’t make me jealous that someone could be healthier or skinnier than me. I honestly didn’t care whereas before I would’ve been straight on it before you could say ‘courgettie.’ I actually find it quite laughable now that I have outsmarted diet culture and I’m honestly believing in everything I’m saying. All I could think of when looking at this article was how boring it all seemed and what an effort? These recipes require so many niche ingredients which cost a fortune. I just don’t have time for that anymore; I’m busy doing things I love and enjoy – and one of those things is eating good food.
You aren’t alone. Don’t suffer in silence
It can be very difficult to ignore all the diet adverts and weight loss products which is why January can be a tricky time of year. It is the time when we are all made to feel bad about ourselves (thanks to diet culture) but when you have an eating disorder this can be extremely triggering. Try and seek some support if you feel triggered by it and understand that it is all just a fad and will be less intense in a few months time. Sadly we can’t get rid of diet culture completely and it is part of our recovery to be resilient against these triggers. We know that diets don’t work and that it is a money making scam but until that becomes more manageable and you can believe it, it is best to put things in place to safeguard yourself. Don’t buy newspapers or magazines, limit time on social media and stick with what you are supposed to be doing. It’s really important to focus on your own journey and get back to a routine. This goes without saying but, speak up and get the support from those around you. January sucks but, it’s not an excuse to go backwards.