Forget New Year’s Resolutions—Let’s Start a New Year’s Revolution!

This time of year, our television and computer screens are inundated with diet schemes, gym membership offers, and good old-fashioned shame for having fed our bodies over the winter holidays. It’s all but impossible to miss the screaming messages from advertisers: You aren’t good enough! You’ve failed! You need to change your body! I, for one, have had enough of this cultural norm of resolving to change our bodies every January. I propose that we start something new this year—the New Year’s Revolution!

The author symbolically burning body shame

The author symbolically burning body shame

Let’s challenge the cultural narrative that says we need to radically change our bodies to be happy, healthy, and worthy. This revolution is one of embracing self-acceptance and self-care; making a commitment to accept yourself exactly where you are now, just as you are; and focusing on caring for your mind, body, and spirit every day of the year.

This is easier said than done, of course. It can be hard to get geeks to engage with wellness initiatives, as a lot of us tend to associate being “healthy” with the people who tormented us in gym class. But the reality is that there was nothing really healthy about gym class, and living our lives to spite those people—or to not become them—is self-defeating. Many of us have fallen into negative habits: excessive sitting, irregular sleep patterns, eating when we are emotionally (but not physically) hungry, or restricting our eating in an attempt to achieve an arbitrary caloric intake. I suspect that we could each do more to nurture ourselves.

In general, your body needs to be fed when physically hungry and watered often. Your body also needs to move around regularly and interact with other beings in order to maintain physical and mental wellness. Our physical and emotional bodies are inextricably linked, and what we do to one affects the other. This is not new information for most of us. Yet we tend to look at self-care as something that is optional—not as something that is vitally necessary.

What has stopped you from taking care of yourself in the past? Maybe you’ve thought about going to a gym, but you have a history of bullying and you see the people at the gym as a threat. Maybe you don’t feel like you’re worth the time and effort it takes to feed and move your body. I can’t stress this enough: you are worth it.

It makes sense to be nervous about starting to care for yourself in this way. The media go out of their way to tell us that we aren’t good enough, and it becomes so ingrained that a lot of us simply believe this without question. Starting to think of yourself as inherently worthy of care, and then giving yourself that care without apology, is a radical concept. Refusing to accept body shame is a political act. But if anybody’s up for it, it’s this community. Remember that what you’re doing, you’re doing for you, so that you can live long . . . and prosper.

The great thing about being a geek is that you don’t have to fit any mold. In order the fuel this revolution, I will post useful wellness information here in the Fit Geek blog to help you on your journey.

Happy New Year! Viva la Revolución! #newyearsrevolution

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