Sticking to that New Year’s resolution!

We often chronicle the overt hate mail we get, but those of us with email addresses ending in “@feministing.com” are also regularly inundated with email from PR shops who are under the impression that, because a large percentage of our readers are women, we must want to run the same sort of crap that mainstream ladymags do. And often, I find that mail to be just as offensive as the “shut your trap and make me a sammich” sorts of love notes we get.

Take, for example, this email I got yesterday:

Hi Ann,

Did you know that nearly 75% of Americans fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions each year regarding weight-loss!? Every time January 1st rolls around people find themselves saying “this year will be different,” but come March 1st they still have yet to shed the winter weight they packed on.

I’d like to offer you tips from Dr. Sanford Siegal a renowned weight-loss and obesity expert who is available to discuss the top reasons why people have such a hard time sticking to their New Year’s weight-loss goals. Dr. Siegal can discuss:

· Best ways to get your New Year’s resolutions started
· Tips and tricks to stay on track
· Do’s and Don’ts of New Year’s resolutions
· Common reasons why people’s resolutions fail
· Practical goals to set for yourself

Please let me know if you are interested in Dr. Siegal’s tips and tricks for any New Year’s resolutions/weight loss stories you may be planning and I would be happy to arrange. Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing from you!

Best,
Danielle

A lot of feminist women I know are not constantly recommitting to losing weight — they are constantly recommitting to the idea that they do not need to lose weight. To reconciling their beliefs (all body sizes are beautiful!) with the fact that most of us have internalized some pretty shitty messages about which bodies are attractive and which are not. So when I read this email I thought, you know, I really *would* like some body-related New Years tips… just not the sort Danielle was offering.

So here’s what I sent back:

Hi Danielle,

Did you know that nearly 75% of feminists fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions to stop hating their bodies? Every time January 1st rolls around, they find themselves saying, “this one will be different,” but come March 1st they still have yet to shed the patriarchy and the body-shame it has packed on.

I’d like to offer you tips from the community at Feministing.com, renowned lovers of women of all sizes, who are available to discuss top reasons why people (even feminists!) have such a hard time grasping the idea that women of every size are gorgeous. The Feministing community can discuss:

· Best ways to get your body-loving New Year’s resolutions started
· Tips and tricks to stay on track
· Do’s and Don’ts of New Year’s resolutions
· Common reasons why people’s resolutions fail
· Practical goals to set for yourself

Please let me know if you are interested in the Feministing community’s tips and tricks for any New Year’s resolutions/body-love stories you may be planning and I would be happy to arrange. Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing from you!

Best,
Ann

So what about it? What are your “tips and tricks” for lining up your feminist ideals about body image with your own personal body image? Would love to pass them along to this sad weight-loss PR lady. Then ask her to take me off her list.

* Note: I know we’re not always very good about catching those awful weight-loss ads that sometimes pop up on Feministing. So along with any personal body-loving resolutions, the editors here are committed to doing what we can (vis a vis our ad systems) to get those off of here.

Join the Conversation

  • Heidi

    I have put into practice over the years many of the tips people have suggested. It is a matter of practice, of being mindful and catching yourself in the negative views sooner and sooner, eventually losing them. It makes a big difference not only in your mental health but your physical health. If you are always thinking your weight is bad for your health, you will feel unhealthy. It is the nocebo effect.
    Think instead of all the ways you help your health. Instead of thinking, “I’m so out of shape, I get short of breath quickly.” Recognize instead, “I am so glad I’m moving, it is good for my body to move. Of course I am a little out of breath, because in addition to walking (biking, etc) I am also weight training. This makes my muscles and my bones strong, and when people train with weights, they slow down appropriately.”
    What a difference that makes, yet it’s very rare that I encounter people who recognize this.
    Oppression has an effect on your health. If you haven’t, see “Unnatural Causes.” With all the allowable negativity extended toward obese people, I would challenge the health field to prove the fat, and not this oppression, is the cause of hypertension and vulnerability to diabetes.
    I am what they call morbidly obese. The way people defending the right to target obese people talk, you’d think I could keel over at any moment, yet according to the Farmingham study risk calculators, I have less than 1% chance of experiencing heart disease in the next decade…even before taking the meds for my slightly elevated hereditary blood pressure. They would say I am an excellent candidate for bariatric surgery, which has a track record of 3% chance of death. The actual record is unknown, because the number of deaths aren’t tracked several years out from such surgeries. People have died from beri-beri disease!
    I have a hypothesis that we suffer from a societal eating disorder. There is no reason we should be so hyper-aware of where we are on the normal/overweight/obese/morbidly obese scale. There is no reason we should be worrying about calories in/calories out. There should be no reason that if there is an office potluck, the majority of people there exclaim, “There goes my diet.”
    I would emphasize what microgravity said. In my experience, my attitude has had everything to do with how beautiful people have considered me, not my weight.
    I’ve been writing a series of blog posts on this topic lately because I am so tired of the public attitude lately toward obese people.
    http://adventuresinmultiplicity.blogspot.com/search/label/fat%20karma
    I know I’m not writing anything that hasn’t been covered before, but I’m writing from my experience. I welcome comments.