It's officially a new year. And whilst many of you likely spent the last day (or night at least) of 2017 out with friends or family, having a few bevvies, all glitzed and glammed up, I opted for my pyjamas and slippers. That's right, I saw in the New Year on the sofa with my dog curled up on my lap, watching Big Fat Quiz Of The Year, and not a single drop of alcohol. And it was great.
I hadn't been too phased about a new year. I had my resolutions, sure, and I'm excited about what 2018 has to offer for The Unedit, but I didn't have that overwhelming feeling of the desire to change. Okay, maybe I desperately want a hair cut (style and colour yet to be confirmed), and drink more water, but I'm hardly gearing myself up to become a whole new person. And whilst everyone is different, the pressure that's put on us to make resolutions that include how we look seems to get more intense every year.
Exactly sixteen minutes after midnight, during the first ad break of 2018, a Weight Watchers advert popped up on my screen. Call me overdramatic, but I just stuck two middle fingers up at the TV and groaned 'fuuuuuck yooooou'. By 1am, my middle fingers were sore from a further six ads that were broadcast (on the same channel, mind you), all repeating the same drivel that promises 'the best version of you' if you sign up today. Yes, I did eat a lot over the holiday period. Probably too much, come to think of it. But that's okay. I have no intention of heading to some diet club that sits people round in a circle talking about good and bad foods. We live in a world where food is there to be enjoyed, and diet companies are finally working that one out. But, instead of calling it quits, they all push plans that give you the 'freedom' to eat what you want. (I'm sorry, but if you were truly experiencing food freedom, you wouldn't be capped to a certain number of Points/Syns/calories a day, would you?) Restriction packaged up as food liberation, clever.
Come New Year's Day, I noticed the other side of the 'New Year, New You' pact crap had also gone into full swing. Walking my dog in the park yesterday, there were an unusual amount of joggers and power walkers out and about, with approximately 80% of them never before seen on my twice-daily strolls. The trainers were fresh from the box, the Fitbits were fully charged, and the majority had that smug 'I'm just out for a run' look on their faces that the regulars didn't. Because of course, January 1st is the first day of everyone's 'fitness journey', where they obsessively attend the gym or go jogging for approximately three weeks, before they get 'too busy', or give up because their trainers are too tight. I would hazard a guess that approximately two gym adverts appeared during a single five-minute ad break yesterday. I say guess, because I spent my last day of my holiday eating rocky road and sausage rolls whilst watching Will & Grace, and I'm not mad about it. I have a gym membership and I enjoy my exercise, but I won't be attending for the entire month of January, just so the New Year's Resolution-ers can soak up the Stairmaster to their full capacity, before never stepping foot back in come February.
Whilst it's easy to blame diet and fitness companies entirely, we need to look at the January issues of our go-to glossies and weeklies. Tips to lose weight, exercises to burn off the worst of Christmas gluttony, detoxes, offers with diet clubs... All bullshit. A special mention to Cosmopolitan UK's January issue which features these exact words on its cover: 'EAT THIS SKIP THAT! What to put in your mouth this Christmas* *And what definitely not to'. Whilst they're not the only offenders on the publishing roster - and New Year isn't the only time we're exposed to that kind of content - it's important to note that the concoction of diet adverts, these magazine articles, and gym marketing can make for a poisonous mix at this time of year.
So where am I going with this? You want to start exercising? You do you. You want to eat a bit healthier? You do you. But what you need to remember is that a new year is just a rolling over of the calendar, not a call to arms to get fit, thin, or whatever else adverts, magazines and other people are telling you. You are by no means obligated to start eating salad or running five miles a day, even if that's what it feels like everyone else is telling you to do.
So screw the 'New Year, New You' shit. New Year, Just Be You.