New Year, Same Ol' Resolutions

There are two periods of the year that I absolutely hate: late December and mid-March, the two points in each year where the world decides we all want, need, and probably should lose some weight.

I have nothing against New Year's Resolutions. I make some every year, and then break them. Last year, I made a resolution to break my resolutions before Valentine's Day. I started biting my nails on January 2 at 9:15 AM, after sleeping in and neglecting to get that "early morning run" in. Mission accomplished!

Anyway, it makes sense to me that people use the New Year as a means to motivate themselves to change their habits, patterns, and focus on their health, and that's a good thing, really, but the constant barrage of diet ads and diet articles that spring up around this time of year (and around mid-March, when "bathing suit season is just around the corner!") are a reminder of how messed up our society's views on weight and healthy habits are. January is a time for changes; February is a time for saying "fuck it" and eating half a box of Valentine's Day candy before you even leave the Rite-Aid, thanks to a month long "diet" of rice cakes and grilled chicken breasts. We are a nation of spurts; we all get psyched up as the year changes, discouraged as it moves along, psyched up again once it gets hot enough for us to realize that we can't cover ourselves with 8 layers, and discouraged again once we peel off the layers to see what we've been hiding all winter.

It's a tough situation for those of us who have struggled with eating disorders; the rest of the world is suddenly focused on weight to an even greater degree than usual at this time of year, and at times it feels like the rest of the world has temporarily picked up our illness, or at least certain quirks of it, under the guise of "healthy changes." It is incredibly strange to watch and often difficult; I imagine it's a bit like being a recovering alcoholic who watches her friends get trashed at a party; those friends can get drunk, but stop drinking and eventually come back to normal. For ED patients, "just dropping 10 holiday pounds" often spirals into trouble, if not a full-out relapse.

I realize that weight is a touchy subject for mostly everyone, and I don't begrudge anyone their rights to get healthy and feel better about themselves. I just wish that the weight loss push that happened at this point every year would focus more on overall health than on dress sizes or fitting into a stupid bikini or impressing your husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/random person you went to high school with. Perhaps the best resolution any of us can make is just to be kind to ourselves, to treat our bodies not as numbers on a scale or sizes on a rack, but, as Fiona says, "extraordinary machines" that require a little love, patience, and a decent mix of spinach and Snickers bars.