Goals are meant to challenge us. They are ever evolving as we work toward them and often change direction as we progress. But New Year's resolutions seem to set people up for a fall they know in the back of their mind is likely inevitable; especially those that involve weight-loss. The solution? Don't make them! Or make the Anti-New Year's Weight-Loss Resolution or as Marilyn Wann puts it, "A New Year's Revolution".
Fat activist, author (Fat!So?), and weight diversity speaker Marilyn Wann is organizing a revolt for January 1st by encouraging everyone in the San Francisco area and beyond to boycott New's Year weight loss resolutions. If you are into social networking (twitter, facebook, blogging etc) you can show your support by changing your profile photo "to show something that makes you feel good about your body".
Even if you don't live online you can still show your support. Read on:
Moe: Why is it important not to get hung up on New Year's resolutions; especially those that center on weight-loss?
Marilyn Wann: I don't feel "hung up on" New Year's resolutions. I've made some wonderful ones! I am especially proud of my resolutions never to force myself to eat a mealy apple and always to have a pen and a tampon in every purse, so I can swap bags easily and never worry. Both resolutions that have improved my quality of life!
Based on all of the existing data regarding weight loss efforts, I cannot endorse or encourage any human being to adopt such a goal. Our scientific data clearly shows that weight-loss efforts (whether by drug, diet/exercise, or surgery) not only do not produce the lasting weight loss that people hope for, they also are very likely to endanger people's psychological, physical, and political wellbeing. Also, as long as we believe in the false hope of everyone losing weight and being thin, weight-based prejudice and discrimination will continue because the meanies will imagine their hatefulness is somehow motivational.
Moe: What is the best way not to get sucked into the whole New Year's weight-loss resolution game?
Marilyn Wann: Right now, it is considered polite to talk about weight-loss goals, dieting, and other hateful attitudes toward fatness. The New Year's resolution to lose weight is a classic form of fat hate. I don't consider these comments to be kind or positive at all. Even if the person is only talking about their own body. I find that if I allow myself to notice just how mean and negative and judgmental and hurtful and unpleasant (and boring!) and sexist and obsessive and unhealthy diet talk sounds, then I naturally avoid it in myself and others. Try it yourself!
I appreciate that it can seem confrontational not to participate in weight-bashing diet talk at first. You don't have to change anyone's mind, you just have to let them know how such comments make you feel. Use I-statements. For example: "When I hear people talking about diets, I feel bad about my body. I prefer not to hear such talk." Say whatever is true for you! Don't be surprised if the very same person who was doing diet talk tells you they're super relieved that someone is standing up for self-love!
Moe: How can someone who is not into social networking participate?
Marilyn Wann: If people want to participate in the New Year's Revolution event on New Year's day, and they're not on Facebook or other social network online, that's wonderful! Get creative and think about ways you can make a public and intriguing statement in support of weight diversity and feeling good about one's very own body right now. Make a bumper sticker. Put a poster in your window. Wear a button. Put up a lawn ornament. Make fliers and post them (wherever it's legal to do so). Amanda Levitt of Love Your Body-Detroit is making Health At Every Size signs to post in Detroit. Ask to borrow her graphic design if you don't want to make one of your own.
Moe: What if there is nothing that makes you feel good about your body? Should you fake it until you make it?
Marilyn Wann: Everyone is invited to make some New Year's Revolution by posting as their Facebook profile photo an image of something that makes you feel good about or in your body. Even if you're just starting to think about loving your body but you don't feel good about it yet, I hope there are things that make you feel good in your body. A hot shower. A back rub. An afternoon nap. Those are great images to post! We each deserve to feel at home in our own bodies. If we can't be at home in our bodies...where are we supposed to go!?! Don't fake anything (unless that works for you!). Do stand up for yourself in ways that are fun and satisfying for you! Seek out resources that will support you in feeling good about your body: books, magazines, organizations like NAAFA or NOLOSE, online communities in the fatosphere, etc.
Moe: What is the best way for someone to start feeling good about their bodies?
Marilyn Wann: I love being in water, it's such a welcoming and accepting medium. One of the first places I felt at home in my body was at a community bath, where I could see all sorts of other women of all shapes and sizes and colors and I realized I was one of the people — and that we are all wonderful people worthy of love. I also started feeling good about my body when I made a conscious decision not to participate in fat-bashing, especially not in my own thoughts. (Of course, I still have stray thoughts that are negative about fatness! I realize that's part of living in a fat-hating society and I make a practice of not investing further in those ideas.)
Follow Marilyn Wann via her Facebook.
Marilyn Wann's Fat!So? is available at Amazon.