Jan 19 • 16M

Your 2023 Anti-Diet Resolutions

Enjoying the good stuff, doing chores, and being gentle with ourselves.

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Weekly conversations about how we dismantle diet culture and fatphobia, especially through parenting, health and fashion. (But non-parents like it too!) Hosted by Virginia Sole-Smith, journalist and author of THE EATING INSTINCT and the forthcoming FAT KID PHOBIA.
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You're listening to Burnt Toast! This is the podcast where we talk about diet culture, fatphobia, parenting, and health. I'm Virginia Sole-Smith and I also write the Burnt Toast newsletter.

One quick thing before we get into it: Today is our Corinne’s birthday! Yay Corinne! You are awesome and we literally couldn’t do Burnt Toast without you, very much including this episode. (Everyone else: Drop some love for her in the comments please!)

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Today is a Very Special Burnt Toast Episode. Imagine me saying that in my best after-school special voice, but really, it's just a super fun episode because it's the first time we're getting to hear from all of you. If you’re a paid Burnt Toast subscribe, then you know about Friday Threads. Today's episode is like a Friday Thread for your ears.

And I want to note, if you’re reading this (and that’s how you usually engage with the podcast): This is a really good one to put in your ears, either by clicking the play button or where it says “listen in your podcast app” above. Or, even better, by subscribing to Burnt Toast in Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcher, or Pocket Casts. All of our episodes sound superb, because Tommy and Corinne are wizards. But this one is especially lovely to listen to (I teared up!) because we get to hear so many of your voices.

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So just like with Friday Threads, we started this episode with a prompt: Tell us your anti-diet resolution for 2023.

I want to be clear before we start, you do not need to make any kind of resolution. Time is a construct! The start of a new year is super arbitrary as a place in which to start making changes! We’re almost 3 weeks into the year anyway! And you probably don't need to change anything about your life. But I think a lot of us, especially those of us who identify as recovering perfectionists, feel that pull in January. We feel that urge to set a goal, look at our lives, make some kind of change. Often it's because we were socially conditioned to do this for years, and particularly to work on our bodies at this time of year. To resolve to eat less, to exercise more, to be smaller any way we could.

So if that's you (and it’s me too) I think that setting some kind of intention, and specifically an intention to do something that is not a diet can be a really helpful way to move yourself through that urge. So you’re not getting caught up in the “New Year, New You” whirlwind, but still taking advantage of that fresh start energy if that is helpful to you. 

For example, here is Stella setting some goals that will help her very directly avoid the typical January dieting trap. 

My anti-diet resolution for 2023 is to eat comfort foods this winter according to the season and not to wear my Fitbit except to bed to help with my sleep. And to avoid the Noom emails. In fact, even block them. I have been a repeat on Noom and it's thanks to you that I've stopped that. Thank you, have a great new year! 

I just love the idea of blocking Noom from your inbox. Like, why are they in your inbox? Get them out. Honestly, all diet ad spam! This is a great time to be unfollowing and unsubscribing. I love that as a resolution idea. 

We also heard from Kristine with this goal. So here's Corinne, who's going to read the resolutions that got sent in via email.

I am slowly unsubscribing from all the email newsletters I get from the wellness folks I fell for over the last couple of years. I deleted apps, ended subscriptions, even deleted games on my phone that tended to feed me ads. 

Kristine also has some other goals for herself:

The advice I'm going to actually follow is getting a good night's sleep. That and yoga stretches in the morning. I am a single mom of two and I celebrate a variety of foods with them, even if I still have to hide the veggies in something else on their plate. But I finally noticed that the message I was telling my kids was different from the message I was telling myself. I'm gonna have a long conversation with that inner child and 2023.

Y’all also had a lot of other great food-related resolutions. Let's listen to a few of those:

Hi! My anti diet resolution this year is that when I eat in a restaurant, which is honestly not even that often, that I choose what sounds best to me on the menu without considering calories or protein or anything like that, just what sounds most appealing to me at the time.

For the last several years, my New Year's resolution has been to try to find ways to make my life easier. And I think this became a nondiet resolution because I realized how much time and energy I was putting into monitoring what I was eating, how much I was exercising, and the size of my body, and what other people thought of it. And so this didn't fix that obviously, but it put me on a path to where I could start to take steps to make changes to those things and it's been a huge improvement in my life and I'm looking forward to seeing where this resolution will take me in 2023.

Photo by Flashpop via Getty Images

 And I absolutely love this concept of a gentle fitness related resolution from Alexa: 

One of my biggest intentions that I want to have this year is to be much more gentle with myself. I'm finding that I'm using this word gentle so much more in the last few weeks. I just see that using the word gentle takes the pressure off. I used to punish myself. I used to do boot camps and used to have to earn food, right? I don't want to do that anymore. It's really, really hard on my body. And it's hard on my mind.

So this year, if I have a goal, which I do, I do want to become stronger. I do want to become a stronger hiker. I founded the Body Liberation Hiking Club, and I find that I still have some difficulty when it comes to steeper inclines and I want to change that. So my gentle goal is just to go and lift weights, which I enjoy, when I want to do it. No schedule. Just go when I want to go, make it enjoyable, make it short. And that's gentleness, that's being kind to myself. So my anti-diet intention is to whenever I feel like I have a goal or want to do something for myself that I do it in a gentle way. 

And here's Corinne with Paige’s resolution: 

My resolution is to only buy clothing that actually fits, is comfortable, and looks good on my body right now. Only small alterations, like hemming length. No aspirational clothes, no clothes that require changes to my body in any way. 

A lot of you took this prompt beyond body-related resolutions and I think this is another awesome direction to go in. Here's Corinne with Laura's resolution:

I financed a slightly used hybrid car in May 2022. And my monthly payment goes through a bank I've never used. My first attempt at setting up auto debit monthly payments failed, and then work burnout kept me from doing whatever dance I have to do to set it up—call my home bank, get customer service help from the car payment bank. Even typing out the sentence makes me exhausted and anxious! But also mailing a check every month and waiting for it to clear is a hassle. I know I'll breathe just a little easier if I set this dang auto payment up. I'm using a new year as my gentle push to do this boring chore. 

I need minor sinus surgery in the new year and while hospitals scare me, I look forward to fewer headaches and sinus infections. It's not a resolution to get surgery, I guess, but my health goals for 2023 include giving myself time to recover from surgery. My job is the kind that will pressure me to be on email basically until the anesthesia kicks in and to continue to reply to emails and be on Zooms during my sick leave. I won't do that! And also just note the ways I truly do feel better after I have recovered. Or I guess note honestly if I don't feel better—just a neutral honest noting of how my body feels.

Laura, I so feel you and I really want you to report back to us when you get the auto payment setup. We will all cheer for you! Oh, I have so many of these like boring need to get this done, will make my life easier, but it's gonna take like half an hour to do it and I don't want to. So I love this idea. And good luck with sinus surgery!

Here are some other really great non-body-related resolutions. This is from

who writes :

So, my most focused resolution is to just create. I'm reading Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic and focusing on creativity and creating, even if I think that other people have done it better than me or before me, and that there's no room for what I have to say out there. I'm going to say it anyways and put my spin on it, but just create as much as I can this year.

Also love these:

My anti-diet resolution is to go to the movies more. I started a monthly movie group with friends and we are all looking forward to it.

P.S. During a New Year's Eve dinner that I hosted, instead of going around the table and saying our resolutions, I asked that we each say one fun thing we hope to do more of. At first, some of the guests struggled to come up with something beyond the usual diet culture resolutions. However, it soon became a very light and funny conversation. People wanted more game nights, more sex, more concerts, more phone calls with long distance friends, and more movies. 

Hi, I wanted to send in my anti diet resolution with a little side note that I've grown not to use the word “resolution” because my resolutions were always so toxic and related to diet culture, or like finding a boyfriend. ‘This year I'll get a boyfriend,’ or, you know, things like that. And so my intention for the year is actually to slow down and to read more fiction.

My resolution is going to be not to save things for someday. To enjoy things in the present. It applies to lots of things: Hello, pile of beautiful notebooks that I've collected and never written in! I see you Waterford Crystal glasses that I got from my first wedding! But it also applies to food. I will not say to myself, you can treat yourself to poutine/cheesecake/Taco Bell if you lose five pounds or exercise five days this week or whatever arbitrary rule you've made up that's about limitation and control.

We just moved into a historic 1911 Aladdin kit built house in Bay City, Michigan, and it just does not feel like us and does not feel like home yet. So a big resolution of mine for the upcoming year is going to be turning this house that we just entered into a home that works for our family, reflects our style, reflects what we need it to do for us. 

And last, a few of you did let us know that you are planning some resolutions that will help you further your activism against anti-fat bias. Kate let us know that her goal is to write to her school board to advocate adding weight and body size to the hazing harassment and bullying policy. That's amazing! It is a really big problem that weight-based bullying is the number one reason girls are bullied. It's the number two reason boys are bullied. But it's often not included explicitly in school bullying policies. So that's something that's good for all of us to know. If that's the case in your school districts, sending this kind of email is a great resolution.

I also love this goal from Katie:

I became fully licensed in social work recently. And there is a massive, massive need for more qualified mental health providers, not just in Michigan, but across the country. So my resolution for the upcoming year is to become one of those mental health care providers. I'm going to start taking on clients over the summer—hopefully adolescents for mental health services. I want to contribute to the field where there's a need. 

And as for me, it's probably a little bit ironic that given the theme of this episode, I am also landing in the no resolution camp this year. But I think it's actually a victory. As I said, I'm a recovering perfectionist. I have done many, many, many resolutions over the years and I'm generally someone who loves setting goals and being sort of caught up in all of that. so not doing it feels like you know hard in its own way and a good thing. 

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For the past few years, the only resolution I did let myself make was to set a goal for the number of books I want to read. I would put the reading challenge in Goodreads and I would track my reading all year long and it was really satisfying. Like, I met those goals! I read a ton more books! I started this in 2018—my second child was born in 2017—so, it was a very concrete way to reclaim reading after several years of not reading very much because I was in the newborn haze, the toddler haze, then another newborn haze. And if you are in the baby or toddler stage and you're not reading a lot, just please know that I think it's really normal and just where our brains are in those years. Sleep deprivation kills reading for me in a huge way.

So, I wasn't reading and setting these goals really helped me bring reading back to my life in a big way. I read 85 books last year! Yes, of course I'm bragging about the number even as I'm telling you that I'm not setting this goal anymore.

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But now that I've done it for a few years, I just want to read. I just don't want to gameify it anymore. I want to not pick books based on how fast I can get through them. I want to maybe pick a longer book without thinking it's going to throw off my count. And I also just want to trust that I have reclaimed this reading habit and I can now just do it. Even if I read less this year, or differently, or whatever it looks like. I just want to kind of go with it. 

So, here’s to going for big goals if you've got them, but also to not waiting to enjoy the good stuff, to getting those annoying chores off your to do lists, and to just being gentle with ourselves. If hearing these resolutions sparked anything fun, I hope you'll share it in the comments. And if you do absolutely nothing but exist and survive this year, please know, I think you're doing an awesome job.

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The Burnt Toast Podcast is produced and hosted by me, Virginia Sole-Smith. You can follow me on Instagram or Twitter.

Burnt Toast transcripts and essays are edited and formatted by Corinne Fay, who runs @SellTradePlus, an Instagram account where you can buy and sell plus size clothing.

The Burnt Toast logo is by Deanna Lowe.

Our theme music is by Jeff Bailey and Chris Maxwell.

Tommy Harron is our audio engineer.

Thanks for listening and for supporting independent anti diet journalism. I’ll talk to you soon.