It's that time of year again where Oprah suggests that you can become a better person. You can "live your life AND lose weight."
Besides the fact that I'm disappointed in Oprah, this time of year is really aggravating for me.
This year especially.
The most un-feminist thing about dieting and exercise is that it takes away from the rest of your life. Even Oprah knows this.
The famous line from The Beauty Myth is:
"A culture fixated on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty, but an obsession about female obedience. Dieting is the most potent political sedative in women's history; a quietly mad population is a tractable one." -Naomi Wolf
What if this year, you focused on something else besides weight loss?
What if you just forgot about eating a lot of cookies and drinking a lot of wine during the holidays? And, just, you know, moved on. Like Donald Trump does after tweeting.
Here are 5 things you could do instead of dieting or exercising more:
You know what's great cardio? Getting your ass up on the weekend or even after work and going to do something for other human beings. Did you know you burn calories ladling out soup for other people who are hungry?
The best part is that you don't have to eat any of the food yourself. In fact, you're not supposed to eat that food at all. Someone donated that food for other people.
If feeding the hungry isn't political enough for you, you can always volunteer for something else. You could provide tutoring to children who are survivors of domestic abuse. You could volunteer for Planned Parenthood. The sky is the limit. You could also do something to prevent pollution or climate change.
2. Donate Money
You're saving lots of money on your lack of a gym membership this year because you quit dieting. So, why not put that extra money toward a charity of your choice.
Syria, for example, isn't doing too hot. You could send money to them. There's also lots of social programs right here in the USA that could use your help. Did I already mention Planned Parenthood?
Charity Navigator allows you look up different charities that you might want to give to and rates them based off how well they work and use their money.
2017 is shaping up to be a difficult year. I know that I might lose health insurance. Some women might be losing reproductive rights.
Instead of fixating on calorie counting, I'll be meditating as a coping mechanism. My favorite app for this is Headspace.
You can just spend 10-15 minutes/day exercising your mind instead of your body. Meditating can sometimes be lame or New-Agey in an annoying way. I haven't encountered any mention of chakras or the Divine spirit. It's really just a breathing program.
4. Clean out your house
Marie Kondo manages her anxiety by getting rid of everything in her house that doesn't bring her joy. As an added benefit, you can burn calories and your ex-boyfriend's things.
If you compulsively fixate on cleanliness or your ex-boyfriend, I don't recommend this one.
5. Focus on your career.
Instead of being smaller, focus on being bigger. Your role should be bigger. Your wallet should be bigger. And your office should be bigger.
Losing weight makes you smaller.
When I'm dieting, I'm usually thinking about the next sliver of cantaloupe. I'm not thinking about how I'm going to get promoted to a C-level suite position.
So this year:
I'm reading Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In this year instead of dieting.
I'm dropping socks in the trash instead of LBs.
I'm counting breaths instead of calories.
I'm making it rain on charities instead of dripping sweat on the treadmill.
I'm putting all my blood, sweat and tears into other things this year.