As I grow older, it's sort of hilarious how laughable New Year's Resolutions have become in my life. They are always, without fail, body related somehow. I think it's that time of year that we all resolve to become more in control of our lives, as if the New Year is some kind of Saturn Return and that our goals *must* be accomplished within a certain amount of time, or else we are unsuccessful and doomed to repeat our failures indefinitely. And honestly, if dieting is your New Year's Resoultion? Yeah, that's probably what's gonna happen.
The last time I made a weight-loss related New Year's Resolution was in 2008-2007. I wasn't "dieting"--no, I was a good fattie and I was going to make better *LIFESTYLE CHOICES*. I was going to eat fresh fruits and vegetables and go to the gym more often, because that was surely going to help me shed 60 lbs. Getting my thyroid medicated? Oh, that wasn't a priority at all. I was going to look like a Fitness Mag cover model by 2009, and my life was going to be oh so much better. My relationship wouldn't be in the crapper anymore, and I would have a better grip on what I was doing in life, all because of a good ol' NYR to LOSE WEIGHT.
It didn't work. I stuck with it for awhile. And honestly, I do still use a lot of the habits I learned, such as eating more whole grain foods and getting more fiber in my diet. But I think I maybe lost 5 lbs and my boyfriend and I broke up by year's end, and it still took me a whole year to figure out what I was doing (you know, without dieting, and the answer to that question changes every day). All in all, everything turned out okay though. But you know what I won't get back? All of that time spent anguishing over calories. All that time standing in front of a mirror pinching my belly fat and imagining it melting right off. That never happened, and I actually gained weight.
I feel better than ever; I eat what I want when I want, and the only times I don't feel healthy is when I don't do that. I've considered myself interested in fat acceptance for years now, but I think it was my last New Year's Resolution ever in 2008-2009 to stop torturing myself over my weight and to enjoy it that I actually FINALLY stuck to a resolution. Resolving to no longer resolve hatred towards my body was the best decision I ever made.
It's not to say resolutions are bad. But why do we frame them the way we do? Why are we always fixing something bad about ourselves, instead of resolving to continue to nourish what is already amazing about ourselves? I currently am a case manager at a domestic violence shelter. I think about what my biggest gripes are with how the system works--it's so punitive. It's so focused on what clients are NOT doing instead of celebrating the amazing things they accomplish every day (um, duh, they left an abusive relationship!!!). I am so unabashedly confidident in my clients and positive. I always frame goals in a way that they are obtainable and positive.
This is where the idea of weight loss and social work intersect. As I close out, I ask, if we as social workers are to present obtainable goals for our clients, can we recommend weight loss? Should a social worker ever recommend weight loss (especially considering by and large we are not medical experts)? What damage could be done by a social worker recommending weight loss to a client?