*All views expressed in the opinion section are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Salemite
As we welcome in the new year, many people are creating their own New Year’s Resolutions. Many of these resolutions are related to losing weight or dieting. According to the Huffington Post, losing weight is the most common New Year’s Resolution, which is no surprise given the amount of fatphobia in the world right now. An article from the Washington Post revealed that the dieting industry was estimated the be worth 60 billion dollars, so it’s no wonder that this idea of thin perfection has infiltrated daily life.
However, according to Dr. Linda Bacon, Associate Nutritionist at the University of California, Davis, dieting doesn’t work. There is a range of weight, about 10 to 15 pounds that is someone’s ideal weight and you can try to lower your weight but it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to lower that range. Hunger and energy use are controlled by the brain – meaning that your brain unconsciously has an idea of what you should weigh, what is a healthy weight for you. So why do we diet? Why do we try to radically change our bodies when it’s practically impossible? It comes down to fatphobia.
Fatphobia is exactly what it sounds like; it is the fear or dislike of fat people, and it’s rampant in our society. It’s also one reason why New Year’s Resolutions can be so incredibly toxic. This is perpetuating the idea that fat/plus size people need to be fixed, that they’re sick and need to be “cured.”
I’m not saying that you should stop eating healthily, if that’s what you want to do. Nor am I saying that there is something inherently better about people who are presumed healthy as opposed to those that are not. All I’m suggesting is to be aware of what you’re trying to accomplish when you set a New Year’s resolution. Reflect on whether or not your resolutions are something that is doable, something that is worth doing, or if it is something that will only harm your self esteem if it fails. You don’t want to do something unhealthy for you. If you’re looking for something less toxic than the goal to lose weight, try something like ‘practice self care more often,’ ‘be more body positive’ or ‘cut out the toxic people in my life.’