My 2017 weight loss goal: stay exactly the same

Learning to love myself

Every year, we or someone we know set a New Year’s resolution to finally get in shape and live a healthier lifestyle. Gyms are packed all through the month of January and February, but by the time March rolls around they’ve thinned out to the consistent group of health nuts and a few stragglers.

We all aspire to be better in a new year, especially in terms of our physical appearance. When reality sets in and we realize how much time and effort goes into changing your body, it can be discouraging.

Instead of setting out to lose weight this year, my fitness goal is to accept my body the way it is. This isn’t me giving up on being healthier or in better shape. This is me learning to love myself along the way; everything from the tummy pudge to the thigh jiggle that nearly every girl privately shames herself for, no matter the size.

I have struggled throughout my life with accepting my body. I was never the most athletic in my class or the most passionate even in the sports I participated in.

I was never the skinniest or the hottest and that’s not something I never aspire to be. My body is strong and it’s mine, so I need to own it and wear it with pride. Ultimately, my choices as to how I want to live will be the reason my figure is the way it is and every day I want to be closer to accepting it.

Would I love to be 20 pounds skinnier and have a perfectly toned body? Sure. But, I also really love eating pizza and getting a beer or two with friends and I have no desire to give that up. I have had so many great experiences from going out of my comfort zone and doing something I wouldn’t ordinarily do, but it seems like accepting myself will be the hardest of them all.

Social media makes it hard. We constantly compare ourselves to celebrities and fitness icons who have killer bodies and luxurious lifestyles. What we tend to forget these people have the means to have a full team of personal trainers, dieticians and personal chefs to tell them exactly when and what to eat and do. That’s without even mentioning plastic surgery.

For these people, looking “fit” is their full-time job. It is unfair to compare yourself to someone that has an essentially unlimited budget dedicated to making him or herself always look camera-ready.

I am your average 20-year-old college student, and like many of you, do not have a personal trainer or a dietician at my disposal to coach me through every meal or every gym session.

At this point in our lives our focus should be on our social lives, internships, classes and other extracurricular activities to worry about, not to mention figuring out exactly how you’d like to spend the rest of your life.

We all have our own struggles to cope with and boundaries to overcome and maybe being in top-notch physical shape isn’t your top priority right now. It is never something that can’t be done at any point in your life; it can be done at 20 or even at 50.

What is truly important is accepting yourself and not letting your perception of yourself affect your personality and what makes you happy, because ultimately you could lose weight and still be miserable if your body shape is the only thing you care about.

Lindsay Gilder is the assistant features editor and can be reached at