Tag Archives: New Year’s Resolutions

New year, not so new diet trends.

A Mighty Girl

Ah, the first week of January. When my inbox overflows with press releases from weight loss companies, fitness experts and diet gurus, and even sober and reputable media outlets, like the New York Times, propose we all go on crash diets. (This year it’s op-ed columnist David Leonhardt telling us to go cold turkey on sugar for 30 days). It always sounds so possible, and even downright sensible, after the weeks of holiday excess. I know at my house, we’ve had a constantly refilling tray of cookies and a bowl of candy on the kitchen counter for much of the past month, and it was with no small relief that I dumped the last six stale cookies in the trash yesterday, after realizing I wasn’t morally obligated to finish them just because they were there.

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The Energizer Body [Real Simple, February 2015]

The Energizer Body Real Simple February 2015 Cover Virginia Sole-Smith

Initially, I was a bit trepidatious about taking on the February cover story for Real Simple (even though they are one of my most favorite clients!). They wanted 2000 words on the science of metabolism; I couldn’t quite figure out how that wouldn’t end up being yet another New Year, New You weight loss story. Which — not that I never write those (plumber writer, remember?) — are not my favorite. All that obsessing we do over metabolisms and how to boost them or torch them or otherwise set ourselves on fire in some way seems to me to be entirely at odds with Health At Every Size.

(Refresher: HAES is a school of thought developed by a subset of obesity and health experts, which says it makes more sense to prioritize healthy lifestyle choices than weight loss at any cost. It doesn’t say that everyone can be healthy at every size — but rather, acknowledges that healthy people come in a range of shapes and sizes. So if you make healthy choices, you will be healthier, even if you don’t lose a ton of weight in the process.)

The Energizer Body Real Simple February 2015 Virginia Sole-Smith First Spread

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Good Feminists Don’t Diet (At Least, Not in January)

We’re midway through January now, gang, and that means two things:

1. Every media outlet is running or has run a story about how to achieve your New Year’s Resolution weight loss goal — because obviously, you made one — like, this time for real. This article suggests it’s just a matter of staying organized. Gwyneth Paltrow, in her infinite wisdom, is pushing a 21-Day Elimination Diet (argh… post to come on how I hate the whole concept of detoxing with every fiber of my being). The Special K Challenge wants you to consume just 829 calories per day, most of them via Special K products.

2. Feminist writers and bloggers are dutifully carrying out the annual backlash to weight loss-related resolutions. Feministing’s Chloe reminds us, “it’s the time of year when women are told, by every mainstream women’s media outlet there is, that we must lose weight” in her post about Isabelle Caro (the French model who died a few weeks ago after a long and terribly tragic battle with anorexia). Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams is upset about Carrie Fisher joining Jenny Craig. Jezebel eye-rolls the resolution-fueled trend of “get Natalie’s Black Swan body” workouts. And lots of folks are in a lather about the Florida woman who resolved to look better and then died in the middle of cosmetic surgery.

So, here’s my thing: I’m a feminist. And I made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. Read more…

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