It’s new year’s Resolution time. Which, unfortunately for us, also means that we’re about to be bombarded with “new year, new you” rhetoric. What is it about the changing of a day into a new year that hits the I MUST BE SMALLER THAN I CURRENTLY AM button? Society is about to guilt you into thinking that, in order to have a good year next year, your girth must reduce. It’s about to make you feel you’ve over indulged at Christmas. Yep, that’s just after telling you to eat all the things. Because my pals, that’s how the diet money spinner works. It feeds off your insecurity, and this time of year is prime feeding time.
Let me start by saying that this blog post is aimed towards those of you who hate this time of year because of the onslaught of diet chat. If you want to diet, go live your best life and do what you want to do. But if you feel like you are being shamed into dieting, this post is for you.
There are ways and means to get you out of this self hatred cycle. I’m going to give you some tangible, real steps you can take to beat the diet chat this new year. An alternative resolution set if you will! This is a bit of a new tact for me, so please give me your feedback and let me know how you get on! After each resolution, there will be a little action graphic that you can save and use to remind you of your new mission.
Make self-love your new resolution
This is the first, and most important step. And I don’t just mean the Instagram-friendly, bath bomb and a face mask kind of self-love. No, I mean real, militant, lifestyle changing self-love. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – the journey to body positivity starts with a decision. You have to decide that enough is enough, and you deserve to feel kindness about who you are.
If self improvement via body positivity is a resolution for next year, make that decision now. Write it on a bit of paper/post-it note/old Ferraro Rocher wrapper. Stick it somewhere that you’ll see it daily – whether it’s your mirror, your desk, your fridge – wherever it needs to be to keep you focused, stick it there. Remind yourself of it daily. You’ve made a decision to be kinder about who you are. The new diet you’re on is the purging of fucks you give about the opinions of others. The calories you count now are the compliments you feed yourself – and there’s no upper limit.
Identify true thoughts that serve you
So this resolution is a little more tricky than just writing down a phrase on a bit of paper. I once attended a workshop with an incredible psychotherapist from America by the name of Eric Maisel. Eric has written over 50 (yes, FIFTY) books on a number of subjects around mental health, so you could say he really does know his shit. The workshop was around anxiety as a creative, and something he taught me has stuck in my brain so well that I use it daily when it comes to body positivity. It’s all about true thoughts.
There’s a difference between a true thought and a true thought that serves you. A true thought is something you might think about yourself that is true. A true thought that serves you is a true thought that some how contributes positively to your life. As humans, we think a lot about things that are true but we often use laser-like precision to focus on the shitty true things. Those shitty true things can quickly overwhelm you. The trick is to refocus your brain to identify true thoughts that serve you. This is the secret to how I battle my body demons on the daily. I feel a bit vulnerable telling you this – I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it out loud before – but it feels good to share this one with you.
My true thoughts example
A true thought about myself is: I have a double chin, fat stomach and thick thighs.
A true thought that serves me is: I have a double chin, fat stomach and thick thighs, and I’m learning to love them.
Both of the above statements are true, but only one of them serves a positive purpose in my life. So, I focus my attention on the one that serves me – I have a double chin, fat stomach and thick thighs and I’m learning to love them. Remembering this refocuses my brain to remind myself that, actually, I’m on a journey and the end goal is love. And I might not be there just yet, but I’m on my way. These kind of true thoughts that serve me are positive affirmations, and things that I remember often. I suggest that you write down one true thought that serves you every day. Pop it in your diary or (and this is my personal fave) use it as a caption on Instagram when you post something. Tweet about it. Put it out into the atmosphere! Have a go at writing your own.
Here are some more true thoughts that serve you:
- I am learning to love my body.
- I am worthy of the love I give out to others.
- I’m being kinder to my body.
- I am an important person in my own life.
- My happiness is important to me.
- I deserve to be comfortable in my own skin.
- My body is worthy of love as it is now.
- I do not need to change in order to be loved.
- The person I am now is enough.
- I am having a bad body day today, but tomorrow will be better.
Create yourself an echo chamber
Ok, so usually it’s not a good idea to do this resolution in life because it’s the variety of others that makes us a more well-rounded person (excuse the pun). But, when you’re at the beginning of your journey, you absolutely need to create a safe environment for you to begin. This means removing all traces of diet chat from your world if you possibly can do. Obviously, the easiest way and place to do this is social media. Thankfully these days, Twitter has the functionality to mute certain words and hashtags from appearing in your feeds. Facebook – not so much. But, if you’ve indulged in diet culture before, you can unfollow and leave groups that peddle diet chat to you. You can unsubscribe to emails from diet industry companies too, to make your inbox a diet chat free zone.
How to mute words on Twitter using the app
1 – Go to the settings menu
2 – Tap on Content Preferences
3 – Tap on Muted
4 – Tap on Muted Words
5 – Tap the Add button
6 – Write in your muted word, phrase, hashtag or username and change the settings as you see fit, then tap on Save.
How to mute words on Twitter using the website
1 – Go to the settings menu
2 – Click on Muted Words
3 – Click the Add button
4 – Write in your muted word, phrase, hashtag or username and change the settings as you see fit, then click on Save.
Flood your Instagram with body positive babes
Now you’ve gotten rid of all the diet shit from your timelines, it’s time to replace them with body positive babes who will help you on your journey to self-love. This resolution is all about creating a safe space for you to thrive in. The kind of people you need to follow are those that don’t allow or use any self-depreciating chat into their lives. Now, this can be a bit difficult as there’s often a lot of fat shame-y shit that comes from clothing brands (the sigh of all sighs just escaped my mouth whilst thinking about this). But, there’s also a lot of posi-chat from brands too – it’s just a case of catching them as you see fit.
Here’s a list of some of my fave brands, bloggers and babes:
- @missguided – clothing company who have recently embraced all body types and champion them on their social media
- @bodyposipanda – a.k.a Megan Jayne Crabbe, body positive author and all round diet culture bashing babe
- @selfloveclubb – bo-po babe who has just beaten cancer (woohoo!) and lives her life with her body positive husband, bringing up her gorgeous child in a mental health and body positive atmosphere
- @scotteeisfat – queer, fat and fucking excellent working class human that will challenge your thinking and educate you on fat activism, classism and toxic masculinity
- @the_feeding_of_the_fox – a no-frills, honest account of a queer, disabled, body positive babe who shares her life with us, warts and all whilst empowering you to fight for the right to love who you are
- @scarrednotscared – a.k.a Michelle Elman, body confidence coach and scarred babe who will give you a daily Midday Reminder to positively impact your body confidence journey
- @curvycampbell – a.k.a Olivia Campbell, plus size model and absolute fashion inspo goals who will remind you that black, fat bodies are beautiful
- @harnaamkaur – the bearded babe who’s unapologetic love of her body hair and beard will have you dumping your razor and loving your body for how it is now, no filter needed
- @theslumflower – Chidera will have you feeling empowered, dumping your boyfriend and demanding respect from men and wider society whilst serving you #saggyboobs realness
- @plusequals – this brand will flood your timeline with sassy fat women, living their best lives whilst looking fashionable in the clothing that they make by hand in UK sizes 14 to 42
- @full_of_freckles_illustrations – Sanne is an incredible artist who’s art is centred around body types of different shapes and sizes. Her body positive illustrations will remind you that fat bodies are cute bodies too!
I have just had to stop myself from listing like everyone I follow but there are some incredible people on Instagram that will help to restore the positive balance for you.
Body Positive Instagram Resolution – Expert Level
You can also now follow hashtags on Instagram, so here are some of the hashtags I use and have followed in the past. CONTENT NOTE – sometimes these hashtags can be taken over or used by people who are looking to shame those who use them. I would only explore these on days where you are feeling the most positive about your body and the strongest mentally. If you’re having a down day, stick to the list of body positive accounts that I’ve left above.
List of hashtags to use and follow on Instagram
Tell people about your new journey
The final resolution I have for you is to talk about your new journey with the people who you come into contact with on a daily basis. Think about people who go on diets. They are forever telling people what they can and can’t eat. Or how many calories they’ve consumed. Or how much weight they’ve lost. You can do the same, only with the steps you’ve taken to love the skin you’re in. Tell people about the new babe you found on Instagram who made you feel brilliant. Let them know about the new outfit you’ve bought because you’re ready to embrace a new part of your body. Tell people when you’re having a bit of a body wobble and you need some support.
Doing this journey completely on your own is tough. You are allowed to involve others in your journey. In fact, feel empowered to do so because its so much easier when you involve others who can be your cheerleaders. I talk about my views on body positivity at work often. When I’ve had a tough body day, they remind me about what I’ve taught them or what I’ve spoken about before and it gets easier. People on diets don’t give it a second thought before telling others about their plans or progress – so why should you?
Bonus resolutions to make when you’re having a low Bo-Po day
- Recognise when you’re having a low body positive day by writing down how you feel. You could even call a friend for a chat. If you’ve written it down, clean it from your mind by destroying the paper afterwards in some way. Or, keep it so you can reflect back on it when you’re feeling great to remind yourself how far you’ve come.
- If you want an outlet for your thoughts, create a private, anonymous Twitter account. Tweet out your feelings. You don’t have to follow anyone, or have anyone follow you – just tweet out your thoughts into the atmosphere in the knowledge that no-one will ever know it’s you.
- If you’ve struggled with disordered eating in the past, talk to your health advisor before starting a body positive journey. It’s better to run this past someone who knows your relationship with food before you start so you can identify any possible roadblocks and predict how you may overcome them.
- Practice basic mindfulness and meditation when you’re feeling down – download the Headspace app for some guided meditation techniques or search out mindfulness Youtube videos that can help you. The Calm app is also brilliant for meditation and sleep-mindfulness.
- If you are able to be active, take a walk to your favourite cafe/bookshop/park. Sometimes being outside is the break you need from your own thoughts to refocus on your journey. If you are unable to be active for whatever reason, play your favourite album or watch your favourite funny TV show. It’s OK to switch off and refocus in any way you see fit.