Woman stretching in parkFive non-dieting health resolutions for the holidays.

Ah, January 1st approaches and with it, visions of gym attendance and punctuality and becoming vegan and saving money and coming out to our families and being a better partner and…

And of course weight loss.

I grew up a not so fat kid in a family mightily obsessed with thinness considering we were Midwesterners in the 1970s. By age eight I had been put on twelve different diets, including the High Protein Diet, the Diet Jello Diet, the Mysterious Pill That Made Me Really Hyper Diet and the Unfortunately Named Candy-like Appetite Suppressant Diet.

All this enforced pre-teen dieting did a number on my metabolism and my relationship with food and didn’t exactly work wonders for my relationship with my mom, who had the responsibility of being the day to day food enforcement patrol. And while medical science has (as far as I’m concerned) pretty much established that “going on a diet” is not what leads to long term better health, I also believe that folks get to do whatever they want with their body as long as it doesn’t mess with someone else. So if you want to make a New Year’s Resolution to diet, I’m not yucking your yum. But I feel it’s only responsible to offer some potential alternatives:

1. Resolve to eat less crap.

This is my resolution because I eat a lot of crap and it sometimes makes me feel like crap. I’ve developed a three-tier list of junk foods based on how many unpronounceable ingredients foods have (Little Debbies, for example, are the highest tier junk food because they contain such little actual food) and my goal is to not eat any third-tier junk food more than once a week. I’ve got a great affirmation for this, by the way, I’ve written on the outside of my weekly planning folder “KELLI: if you want to increase the quality of your life, increase the quality of your fuel.” You might not want to include the Kelli part unless your name is Kelli, otherwise, it might get confusing.

2. Resolve to get a pap exam.

I know, I know, I’m always talking about this. But it’s important and in this topsy turvy world (as my grandma would say) where queers are still not the most loved of all people (as my grandma would not say, I am pretty sure she never heard the word queer at least not how we use it) it’s an amazing opportunity to be able to take control of one little tiny part of our lives. It might help to think about preventative health as just taking back power from the Man, one speculum encounter and tit smooshing at a time.

3. Speaking of tit smooshing, how about scheduling a mammogram if you’re over age 40 and haven’t had one in the last few years?

Yup, the process of a mammogram hovers somewhere between painful and uncomfortable and mildly embarrassing but once again, getting a mammogram is sticking it to The Man. I’ve said it before (see above paragraph) and I’ll say it again (but no longer at the family reunions I’ve decided) taking care of yourself is an act of revolution.

4. Resolve to get more support.

No queer is an island, my friends, and social support is one of the biggest predictors of trauma resilience.

There are lots of ways to get more support: the first one is to ask for it! And if you’re friends/chosen family/ non-chosen family can’t support you in whatever you’re going through, you can seek out more formal situations: 12 step groups, inclusive faith communities, mutual self-help groups etc.

5. Resolve to have more fun that doesn’t involve a screen.

I don’t like or trust nature either, but sometimes it’s good to be entertained by more than cat videos. I’ll try that whole outside thing if you will. For 10 minutes at least.