So I feel like this is something that needs to be said. Not just because I feel that other people need to hear it, but I need to
hear see it.
Beginning somewhere around Thanksgiving (in the US anyway - so… end of November) people start loosening their year long grip on “Oh no, I don’t eat carbs” and “I really shouldn’t” or my personal favorite “I’ve got to keep up my figure”. I appreciate the sentiment and I understand that if those are things you WANT to do, then by all means. I appreciate the lengths that you are taking to make the changes to your body that you want because YOU want them.
It’s time for Wintermas, Festivus, etc. It’s the time of various religiously based holidays that most loosely follow for the sake of gifts (i.e. I’m agnostic and I celebrate Christmas for the sake of Love Actually, food, and decorating the tree).
Since the obvious reason for the season (surely not axial tilt?) is to capitalize on psychological state of the masses after all the judgmental looks from their mother-in-law(s), I’ve been noticing that the extremely uncomfortable gym ads are starting to surface early.
Starting about 2 weeks ago, a local gym ad showed up on a billboard (whose original residence took place outside of the bakery I work for, but has since been moved) “Here come the Holidays, but don’t worry we’re here to help!” Let’s start with that! Help? Help with what? My mental state? The fact that I need more traction on my tires? The fact that I have no money to pay my bills, let alone pay for presents? Oh wait…… no! You mean my newly formed and sadly unappreciated love-handles? Or the fact that my empty wallet isn’t light enough?
Now let’s talk about the ad at the gym I have the misfortune of having a membership to. It was an advertisement with some “THIS HOLIDAY SEASON ONLY, Coerce your friends to come to our crappy gym and get a free personal training day, so a ‘professional’ can judge you” deal on it. At the bottom of the ad, shows (what I assume to be) a woman’s feet on a scale and the screen doesn’t show numbers. No. Nope. No no no. It says, “HELP”.
There are so many things wrong with that ad - First - that’s just rude. Don’t make people bring their friends to this shithole, so they can get a free day of judgment (not help) - hardly worth the effort.
Secondly, its really frustrating that this ad, along with most of their other ads ONLY involve women. I’ve been a member for 6 months and every ad I’ve ever seen has exclusively contained women. I recognize that they do provide a weight machine section exclusively for women, but their entire customer base is not made up of women. I don’t appreciate that this gym is either capitalizing off attractive women OR that it’s trying to target women specifically into feeling shameful about their weight. This Christmas ad speaks for itself. There is not a male version or an androgynous version, only a specifically female version. This speaks lengths to what the objectives of the ad are. “Women - you are not allowed to indulge or enjoy things to the point that it makes you gain weight - you should probably bring your christmas ass up here so you can fit into that dress for the work Christmas party.” or “Your value as a woman and human being is based on your appearance. You need our help to make sure that you are still valuable to society.”
Lastly (for now anyways), I find it extremely aggravating that gyms, like this one, capitalize on the frailty of self-esteem. What is wrong with putting on 5, 10, 15+ lbs between October and March (or you know, any time really)? Why is that a bad thing? Why is that being demonized? We naturally feel the need to consume more and become more sedentary during the winter because it’s cold… and that’s what basically every living creature does when it’s cold out for long periods of time. Why are people the exception? It is a ridiculous standard. Fuck the fitness industry for attempting to belittle the masses who are already wounded on an everyday basis by the unrealistic standards of beauty that Photoshop and society have helped create. Shame on you for imposing the belief that we should be ashamed of how are bodies look and function. I can’t even stand in line at the grocery store without feeling hideous, I certainly don’t need to be fat-shamed by EVERY OTHER ASPECT OF MY LIFE.
So after all the long, but totally necessary, ranting, the point I’m trying to reach is that throughout your life, and especially during the holidays, remember that you are just fine the way you are whether you are 80lbs of 8000lbs (unrealistic, but you get the idea), Your value is NOT measured by your weight or appearance. You are allowed to gain, lose, and maintain weight as you like. Happily go to the gym every day, or watch what you eat if that’s what you want, but also remember you are just as welcome to stuff the entire gingerbread house you just finished building into your mouth (btw that is what I’ve been doing with doughnuts).
Don’t let pushy bullshit ads dominate how you celebrate your preferred holiday. Don’t let judgmental looks and snide quips about how your stomach looks in that sweater determine the way you feel this Wintermas. Eat what you want, exercise (or don’t) when you want. Please enjoy the holidays and remember that this is a time for celebration and love; That includes self-love.
Most of all, I wish everyone a very happy, unspecified holiday of their choice. I hope you all remember to put as much energy towards loving and caring for yourselves as you do for others.