The beginning of a new year is a time framed as an opportunity; a chance to cut yourself off from your past self and become something new. To become someone who bullet journals and uses Tupperware, for instance. Or someone who actually responds to Facebook messages from old friends in a timely manner.
This year, you tell yourself, it will finally happen: "I'll be good, I'll be kind... I'll have the body I've always wanted." Because "fixing" ourselves is precisely what reinvention comes down to most of the time, isn't it? More specifically, at this time of the year, it's "fixing" the way we eat in order to transform, butterfly-like, into someone we can be proud of.
But for people with a history of disordered eating, this time of being told from all sides that the way they eat can be improved, can be incredibly damaging.
To get through it, friends Ruby Tandoh and Sadhbh O'Sullivan decided to spend the month talking to each other about precisely this. Sadhbh is the social media assistant at Refinery29 and Ruby is a chef, ex-Great British Bake Off contestant and author of Eat Up: Food, Appetite and Eating What You Want, a new book that wants to bring the joy back into food in every iteration.
Both have a history of disordered eating. Sadhbh was diagnosed with anorexia when she was 18; she is in recovery today. Ruby had a five-to-six-year period of bulimia and anorexia in her teens. It's something she's written about a lot, from a takedown of the wellness and 'clean eating' industry to how anxiety around food is making us ill.
Here, Ruby and Sadhbh have published their January conversation, which covered everything from Veganuary to working out, Bounty chocolate bars and the new form of 'clean eating' in the hope that it might encourage others to see next January not as a time to "fix" themselves, but as a time to start listening to what it is their body really wants.