I grew up in a very non-traditional household and in the midst of what my mum had to cope with in keeping it functioning, there wasn’t a lot of room for following all the festive traditions. But actually I’m glad about this as it taught me to question tradition and to consider why people do certain things in its name.
So when I say I’m making New Year’s Resolutions, I don’t mean the typical ones that we often feel compelled to make. And I especially don’t mean the ones about crash diets and food fads, unrealistic or unenjoyable exercise regimes, or completely giving up various things (often food-related) that I sometimes enjoy.
Too many New Year’s Resolutions are negative – ‘I won’t do/say eat x/y/z.’ Mine are going to be only positive – the things I will do. This time of year is difficult for those of us suffering from or in recovery from eating disorders as so many conversations revolve around diet and exercise, and the majority of it is rubbish!
We need positive resolutions, and if they do involve what we eat and how we exercise, they must only involve things that actually restore our health, strength and self-love – which definitely doesn’t mean arbitrary limits on calories, or obsessive counting of calories, steps, pulse rate, or anything other monitoring fad. For me, after a decade of counting and defining myself by the numbers on the scales, more numbers is the last thing I need!
So here are my New Year’s Resolutions for 2018 as a 33 year old survivor of chronic anorexia, pushing onward towards full recovery:
- To keep going in my recovery and not to plateau now I’m no longer being monitored. I aim to prove wrong anyone who thinks full recovery as an adult and after a decade is impossible, and to prove my own strength to myself.
- To fully own my past and my future and use it to help others in similar situations, through speaking out, calling out the damaging comments and stereotypes around eating disorders and mental health, and by getting involved in positive action on these issues wherever I can.
- To get well so that I can finally start learning to ballroom dance. A new series of Strictly will not come around again without me dancing!
- To take time for self-care, by doing small things like having a date-night with myself, watching a romcom, giving myself a manicure, and eating some of my favourite chocolate.
And the most important one:
- To truly live by the belief that I am a unique, awesome and beautiful woman, and that this is because of my knowledge, experience, and character, and it’s not about my size. My size, my age with every year I grow older, and the physical effects of my illness do not and cannot take that away.
Here’s to 2018. I hope it’s a year when we can all feel how awesome we are and when nothing holds us back.
No more looking at the ground. Let’s hold our heads high.
Happy New Year,
Hanna B xx
PS. If you’re struggling with all the nonsense diet messages out there for new year, take a look at my post on The Dictionary for Eating Disorder Recovery: Translating Dodgy Food Messages – hope it helps!