Welcome. You’ve made it to January 2021. It’s the new year. I wouldn’t go as far to say all is right with the world, actually that would be a complete lie. However, there is a sense of newness that comes with every month of January, despite if that newness is felt within the confines of another national lockdown (yay). And just like every new year comes the dreaded attack of advertisements telling you that to fully embrace this new year you must, most definitely, lose weight. I am here to tell you very firmly that this is not a necessity now or ever, especially during the midst of a pandemic.

Throughout the last few months we have seen many people who have never ran except for a bus, taking to running 5ks in their lunch hour. This is great. If it is what you want to do and it makes you feel better and healthier, you do you. There is no tried and tested way to cope with a global pandemic. If I knew that I would probably have my own reality TV you by this point. What should be noted though, is that, there is an underlying pressure to lose weight over the last year of lockdowns and restrictions. I mean it makes sense, with exercise being one of the only things we can do outside legally. However, with this sense of finding a purpose amidst the uncertainty of the world we are living in, mixed with the good old classic January detox, for some  of society, this is a recipe for disaster. Many people may not be in their best shape at the moment, I for one know I am not the weight I was a year ago. However, if the last year has taught me anything, we need to try and give our minds and bodies a break.

We have had so much time inside to look at ourselves, catching glances at ourselves giving us more time to obsessively over analyse every part of our body. For most of us we have never had this much time with our body alone before. If you have been constantly staring at four walls for the last six months, it is only natural that your eyes will soon be drawn to the other object in your confined space: yourself. Social media, now more than ever has either been bringing up the topic of weight gain or attempting to instruct us how to lose it. With apps such as Tiktok skyrocketing during the pandemic and there not always being the correct monitoring checks in place, young people were saturated with lockdown diet challenges. Don’t get me wrong, some of these weight loss stories that are shared over lockdown on apps such as Tiktok are truly inspiring, showing dedication and a healthy transformation. However, this is definitely not the majority.

It’s natural that in the last few months, due to less exercise and movement from working at home or more comfort eating purely from being bored and in the house, we may not look or feel like how we did pre pandemic. Yet, the fact that your body has survived such a traumatic event should be victory within itself, even if it doesn’t look like it. Diet culture isn’t a new societal pressure, but it has certainly skyrocketed to new heights this month. So here is my concluding note: no one is expecting you to be a transformed glowed up buff version of yourself when we are finally allowed to socialise again safely. What they will be happiest with is your presence, and not the size of the person they are finally able to hug.