New Year and once again we’re all making the usual few resolutions, lose weight, save money, lose weight, give up bad language, lose weight, get healthy and did I mention – lose weight.
Yes, losing weight this year and every year tops the list of New Year’s resolutions. We get through January with a hard start of detox diets, intensive gym routines, boot camps and beetroot salads, February sees significant slippage in the effort, March, April and May see such deterioration that by June we’re on another mission, the bikini diet for summer holidays. July and August are recognised as holiday periods so diet and exercise are all on hold, September on hold because like every year, we’re ‘promised an Indian summer’ and we all long to elongate the summer feeling by chilled glass of pinot grigio out the back, needless the say the Indian summer never comes, and we still have the pinot grigio, in front of the telly as opposed to out the back garden. October is the jazz festival, November is feigned austerity in preparation for Christmas and December starts the season of gorge, bringing us right back again to another January, of New Year’s resolutions of losing aesthetic weight.
Perhaps the least effective weight loss hopefuls, are those, like me, who have for nearly 20 years planned to lose that half stone, year in year out the same rig marole applies, a faddy detox in January, and refer to paragraph two above to see how the rest of the year pans out. It’s when we have young children and feel middle aged creeping a little closer that we gain a sense of mortality that doesn’t exist among the twentysomethings of this world. So for the first time in their lives, women in their thirties and forties are considering weight loss for aesthetics and longevity. Not only do we want to look well but we want to live longer, so we focus on weight loss and but perhaps it is not the answer to all things. Stress is also a major contributor to life threatening diseases and of course mental health. So while we are scoffing mung beans and overstretching ourselves to fit those personal trainer appointments into an already busy life are we in fact creating more stress for ourselves and therefore negating our efforts.
Stress, as we all know is now the leading contributor to several life threatening conditions. As our expectations for a fulfilling life grows so do does the amount of stress that we layer on top of ourselves to achieve our perceived plateau of utopia, where we try to be all things, mother, daughter, cook, provider, lover (if lucky), wife, cleaner, work colleague, friend and finally ourselves (a half stone lighter). Not only are we trying to be all things to all people, we’re also trying to look amazing while doing so, simply not possible, not without significant impact on our stress levels. Small wonder many women find it easier in January to give up chocolate than Xanax.
So are we literally killing ourselves trying to lose that half stone this January. While the rest of the rat race are wincing on celery sticks and clutching their chests with threatening anxiety attacks, trying to achieve it all; I’ll be taking the other approach. Rather than stressing to shed the additional pounds introduced by pregnancy and maintained by indulgence in pate over Christmas, I’m hoping to secure longevity by keeping stress to a minimum this year. The half stone will be there to lose next January, but this January, I’ll be taking the time to sit on my comfortably padded seat and enjoy my new baby without feeling the compulsion to reach a weight goal dictated by an app on my phone. We should try to lose the weight of the world on our shoulders before we tackle the number on the scales.