Christmas is a festivity of true over-indulgence. It feels good: in the midst of winter to just hole up in the warm indoors with loved ones around you and eat, drink and be merry. Dripping through all channels- print, broadcast and online- the media promotes this over consumption unashamedly- luxurious deserts, meat cuts too big for the number of people around the table, way to many trimming, lots of liqueurs and other alcoholic drinks and the list goes on and on.
Then January arrives, festivities over and there’s a worrying turn around in adverts, programs, discussions with friends. It’s suddenly not ok to eat chocolate, drink alcohol. You need to set your resolutions for the New Year and the most common resolution is around body image: to loose weight, to look younger, fitter and so on. Now I’m not saying that these aren’t noble goals, however are they right as resolutions at this time of the year? Are we setting ourselves up for failure?
For one it’s cold & miserable outside: how long can we really keep up the resolution to go out for a daily run or even a walk?
Third day in a row & your trainers haven’t dried out from yesterday’s jog through icy puddles…maybe I’ll go tomorrow… and that tomorrow never comes. You fall back into bad habits of taking the car to the corner shop 5 minute walk away. You feel guilty, feel worse about yourself, eat more, feel worse… and down it spirals.
Besides, have I mentioned it’s cold & miserable outside? Starchy comfort foods are the ones we crave; those that are from produce in season, that hasn’t traveled half way around the planet. What is the logic to going on the latest diet which requires a plethora of summer foods. “Ouch!” My wallet shouts at the price of those out of season essential diet ingredients.
Last night there were two programs on prime time main stream channels that were about dieting.
This is just wrong! It’s a form of bullying; I saw someone coin the term as body fascism. I like that. My cynical side ventures as far as saying it’s a rouse to get us to consume even more: More diet products, gym memberships, exotic foods that offer “quick” solutions, multivitamin pills that we’ll just pee out.
So here’s my take: New Year is not the time to set resolutions for weight loss or getting fitter!
Indulge me for a moment please. January is still dark, few sunny hours to boost our well-being. Traditionally, we still had our store cupboards relatively stocked, supplies slowly dwindling. This should be a month to button down the hatches: put our heads down, get through with as few bugs as possible, before another bout of indulgence at carnival or the modest UK manifestation of these festivities- pancake day. In preparation for a bit of fun, January is a time to get creative (make some carnival costumes, some lovely dishes and warming cakes), pamper oneself physically and mentally. The nights are still long, but we are gaining a bit more light daily. We can channel this bit of extra energy into accepting ourselves for who we are, liking ourselves in our current skin.
In February & March we embark on Lent. This is the time for taking stock and cleansing- ourselves, our body & mind, while harnessing any energy from those days lengthening fractionally day by day.
So come Easter, there is spring in the air, there is more light, hopefully a bit brighter weather to entice us to go out more. Some early fresh produce starts to appear. At Easter Christians celebrate the resurrection, just like Nature is resurrecting itself.
Surely this is the time for resolutions along the lines of moving more, eating healthier and loosing weight. Working along side Nature this should come easier. If, in the months leading up to this, we have worked on accepting ourselves as we are, putting aside any self-loathing, that small voice inside constantly putting us down, then we are ready for the journey our resolutions take us on.
For this is a journey, a change in lifestyle and habits… unless we want to be back in that vicious circle once more.
If you really struggle without New Year’s resolutions here’s some inspiration:
“Live every day to it’s fullest, don’t procrastinate and miss moments and opportunities.
Love without reservation and share your warmth and energy with others.
Laugh lots and smile at friends and strangers alike, it’ll keep them wondering and it’s good for the soul.
Ride often with enthusiasm for each and every journey and be ready to make the unexpected stops to smell (and photograph) the roses along the way.” Tracey Harrison-Hill
Have you set yourself some New Year’s resolutions? How are you doing so far in keeping them?