It’s mid-January, usually about the time when everyone’s new year resolutions begin to dwindle and fizzle out. And what’s wrong with that? Who cares if you’ve neglected your Duolingo goal or forgotten that cheese isn’t vegan in Veganuary. Most of the time, new year resolutions are fun and fickle, a fresh start that needn’t be taken too seriously.
Why then, after screen time targets go out the window, or the ‘I’ll read more’ book is dusty on the shelf, is it that diet culture and weight loss prevail?
In 2019, research by YouGov found that resolutions centring around fitness, weight loss and diets dominated new year resolutions. Twenty-two months of a pandemic and multiple lockdowns later, Forbes found similar results towards the end of 2021.
Why, after years of grief and isolation, are we still so obsessed with changing our bodies? Have we not been punished enough?
It goes without saying that exercise and weight management are no bad things – at least, in the right context. People are free to work on themselves and, with a positive mindset and healthy relationship with food, their lives can change for the better.
However, with roughly 1.25 million people currently suffering from eating disorders in the UK, I can’t help but feel that infamous ‘New Year New Me’ diets and regimented fitness routines will just exacerbate an already terrifying mental health crisis.