We’re officially 2 weeks into 2018. I’ve been thinking about doing a post about this for a while, and the start of the year seems like a pretty logical time to do so. Here we go…
‘New Year, New Me’. Those four words that we hear constantly between the middle of December and middle of January every single year. While I don’t disagree with people using the whole ‘new year thing’ to make positive changes or decisions in their lives, there is one thing that gets to me – the media, shops, people in general using the new year to proclaim publicly about their new year’s ‘healthy eating, losing weight and increased exercise’ resolutions.
I typed those four words ‘new year, new me’ into pinterest, and the majority of posts included something about getting more exercise, getting into shape, eating healthier, eating less etc. Now, I’m not saying that those things are bad things to do – for many people, making decisions like this will help them make positive changes to their health, and that’s great! However, due to my history of battling an Eating Disorder, I know that this whole ‘new year, new me’ thing can be quite distressing for someone either developing or recovering from an Eating Disorder. The constant talk of ‘becoming healthier’ as a new year’s resolution is difficult. For me, I developed Anorexia Nervosa by aiming to ‘be healthier’ – so this ‘positive idea’ many people aim for, can in fact be triggering for some.
The thing is, while some people aim towards ‘health’ by reducing what they eat and becoming more active, there is another side to this. Some people need to aim towards health in the other direction – ie. someone who is underweight, needs to increase what they eat and become less active in order to reach the ultimate goal…health. That is why I cringe a little when I hear adverts about ‘this new yogurt that contains little to no fat’, or about ‘bringing in the new year by joining the gym’…not because it triggers me now, but because I know it did trigger my 14 year old self when I was in early stages of ED recovery. When I hears adverts like these, I think about all those in recovery from an Eating Disorder, or even those who are currently developing an ED (who may not even realise it yet), and I just think – for something that’s trying to send a positive message, for some people this message could be really negative.
I guess the message I want to send out by writing this post is that a new year does not need to mean a new start, a new you, a new anything. Don’t feel pressured to make changes that you may not actually need to make in your life. Don’t think you need to follow the messages that the media portray as ‘positive’ because it’s a new year – if you are healthy at the moment, your ‘new year’ can simply be a continuation of last year. That is good enough.
If you are making changes in your life to ‘become healthier’, please be careful. I now know that my ED crept in so sneakily while I believed I was making positive changes in my life – and this led to me becoming the most ill I have ever been, both physically and mentally. It’s not that living a healthy lifestyle isn’t good – but just be careful it doesn’t become an obsession. If I had a life quote, it would probably be ‘everything in moderation’ – meaning eating all types of food and doing different kinds of exercise are all good things if they balance out.
And if you are in the midst of ED recovery, please ignore the adverts encouraging you to ‘become healthier’. Follow your medical advice…which is far more important than media advice created by people who don’t even know you! Keep fighting your ED and keep aiming for freedom. If you want to have a ‘new year’s resolution’, make it a positive one for your current circumstances – eg. to progress in recovery and have lots of little ‘recovery successes’ by the end of 2018. But don’t put pressure on yourself. This new year doesn’t mean you need to be 100% recovered by this time next year…be realistic. Use the whole ‘new year thing’ positively – think ‘New Year, New Determination’, ‘New Year, New Strength’, New Year, New Hope for Freedom!’
I hope 2018 is a successful one for anyone reading this!