Lose weight. Exercise more. Eat “healthy.”
These resolutions seem as synonymous with the New Year as the midnight ball drop and fireworks display. Amid popping corks and clinking glasses, we hear the same tired promises each turn of the calendar year, as if they’re verses in “Auld Lang Syne” themselves.
As New Year’s marks the passage of time, so too it shows our sociocultural pressures and values. In the most popular resolutions, we see society’s expectations—the “goods” and goals worth pursuing in the name of personal betterment.
In a culture preoccupied with weight and food, it is no surprise that New Year’s resolutions frequently reflect these obsessions. Striving to lose weight—arguably the most popular resolution each year—is to affirm our cultural fixation on thinness and view of weight loss as a universal good. And while exercise and eating patterns can indeed influence health, many resolve to make these changes with the primary or sole goal of losing weight. Weight is mistaken as a proxy for health.
It’s not just the fact that they don’t work.
Resolutions about weight and dieting are problematic for those at risk of developing an eating disorder as well as those in recovery. A resolution to diet, as innocuous as it seems in our diet culture, may introduce disordered eating that leads to a full-blown eating disorder. Indeed, dieting is a significant risk factor for developing an eating disorder; at a neurobiological level, it can trigger the illness in individuals with a genetic predisposition to it.
For individuals with eating disorders, weight loss resolutions can exacerbate disordered thoughts and behaviors. Conversations about diets and gym routines reinforce the very attitudes those in recovery are fighting to challenge. In justifying fears about fat and gaining weight, they can echo an eating disorder’s voice and impede efforts to recover.
In this prime time for reflection, let’s rethink these common and damaging resolutions. Let’s reject the intentions set by society and resist from focusing on our failure to meet these unrealistic expectations.
Here are some new resolutions to consider in eating disorder recovery:
The Emily Program is here to support you this resolution season. If you are worried that you or someone you know may be struggling with an eating disorder, please complete our online quiz and give us a call at 1-888-364-5977.
Copyright © 2019 - Emily Program. All rights reserved.