New Year, Same BEAUTIFUL You
WARNING: This article deals with body image and disordered eating. If this makes you uncomfortable, we recommend you sit this article out. Happy reading!
Happy New Year Bloomers! Or should I say "Beware of the New Year?"
Amid all of the uncertainties and changes we've found slung at us in 2020, there is one annual tradition I know I can rely on to occur: the "New Year, New Me" mindset. Now, just to get this out of the way up front: I have no problem with change. If you've read any of my past articles, you'll know I embrace change with a smirk, ready for the challenge. I lace up my tennis shoes and tighten my ponytail, ready to see what "change" will bring me. I love growing as I learn and develop new opinions. I like seeing new places and adapting to unstable surfaces. But, what I don't like is changing because someone else tells me to. Or in this case, when society tells me to.
As we clean our hands of the tears and grime of 2020 and enter the new year, we are also walking straight into the open arms of the diet industry. While we spend weeks enjoying Christmas cookies or eggnog with our family, lounging by the fire or in front of the TV, companies are scrambling to think of the newest ways to tell you "Your body is gross. Here: try our new product to make it not-gross... until next year when we tell you it's gross again." We leave the hardships of 2020 just to be bombarded with disgusting ads and products that profit off of your insecurities.
I suppose you can say it's business. That money must be made and that's just how the world goes. But something about a company waiting for the Earth to complete its orbit of the sun to sling insults at you so that it may sell a product feels wrong. Selling a product by telling you you are inherently wrong... is wrong. Spending thousands to millions of dollars to plaster billboards and fund commercials that will create the illusion of a "perfect" body based upon tearing yours down... is WRONG.
Don't listen to those voices whispering in your ear. Don't give in to society's subtle push to change. It's bad enough that companies run by grown adults with the world at their fingertips are choosing to profit off of insecurities they plant into your mind when they could be doing so much more. It's bad enough that the hope of the new year is clouded and sullied with diet culture propaganda. It's bad enough that society seems to revolve around the idea of obtaining the perfect body. But don't give these companies- these companies that want you to doubt yourself and change- your money. To give them your money is to give them your power, and let's NOT encourage a society where teenagers are starving themselves and adults unwrap scales for Christmas. It's a gross and twisted system.
If you are truly set on losing weight or changing your body, invest in some reliable products - NOT the ones that claim you can "lose 25 pounds in 5 days."
When writing this article, I felt my blood heat and breath grow ragged. Doing research, I became so disappointed to see just how many products are out there claiming to make drastic changes to your body in short amounts of time. I then became irritated because there are so many things to say- so many myths to debunk and so much biology to explain- that it's overwhelming and daunting, to say the least. So let's start slow.
3500 calories are the equivalent of one pound of fat. To lose that much weight, you must burn that amount of calories. Depending on many biological factors such as gender or size, you would have to run between three and ten hours to burn that many calories.
Products that insist that by drinking their magic powder you will lose 25 pounds (87,500 calories) in five days are simply... well... wrong, unhealthy, and tricking you.
Losing weight is a culmination of things. By taking off your jacket you lose weight. By cutting your hair you lose weight. By not drinking much water, you theoretically lose weight. And, by working out and eating less and burning fat, you lose weight.
So many products that guarantee a quick weight loss are not burning fat, but rather washing out your water weight... which will come right back once you are again hydrated. Or, those same products are suppressing your appetite so you eat less... which is so unbelievably unhealthy. In case you forgot, eating is necessary for life. YOU NEED TO EAT. Please, please oh please oh please, do not pay a company to starve you.
If you truly wish to lose weight- which is a personal decision that should not be influenced by society or peers- then do so safely and with the right tools and after talking with your physician. Consider hiring a personal trainer to ensure you are performing the exercises safely and effectively. The Peloton app has a huge library of fitness classes to choose from such as yoga, HIIT, strength training, running programs, etc. Right now Peloton is offering two free months to use their app, after that it is only $12.99/month. You may also want to look into investing in some home workout equipment- legit workout equipment, not the type that swears that by twisting three times a day your waist will shrink five inches. A set of mini resistance bands, resistance tubing, a stability ball, and a few dumbbells can really uplevel your "home gym." Oftentimes we aren't drinking nearly enough water during the day, so purchasing a water bottle that helps track your daily water intake can be a great tool to use. Some other healthy, helpful tools could be a plant-based cookbook, workout equipment, tennis shoes, or simply saving up more money to afford fresher groceries.
The point is, if you want to lose weight, it's not a quick and dirty fix. It's a long-term investment, so set yourself up for success with the right tools!
In case it wasn't made clear enough earlier: I have absolutely no problem with change. In fact, many people find comfort in the gym and challenging their bodies. It can be fun to work out and see your body change. I will never find a problem with setting goals to see how much stronger or faster you can get, or wanting to lose or gain a little weight because you WANT to. Where I do find a problem is doing so because society tells you to.
Take a moment and look at your hands. Like, seriously; look at your hands. Those hands have clapped for wonderful performances and shook the hands of new friends. Your fingers have flipped through the pages of life-changing books and crafted beautiful, unique pieces of art. Your arms have accepted so many loving, supportive hugs. Look at your legs. Your legs have allowed you to travel to new places and run through fields or jump on trampolines or dive deep beneath the surface of the crystal pool. Look at your stomach. Your stomach is the culprit of so many belly laughs that you can't control; they simply bubble up and burst into the world, spreading joy.
When you look at your crafty hands and supportive legs and joyful stomach, why hate that body? Why wage war on a body that has always been there for you? This body, the one you live in and always will, is the same body that got you through a pandemic. After a "crazy" year in which your body was there for you, why return and decide to hate it? Rebel against society and love your body. It is always there when you want to run and jump and laugh and sing and live.
And yet, there are so many companies out there whose entire goal is to make you hate that beautiful body. They tell you the rolls of your stomach are gross or that the lines crawling across hips are disgusting. They tell you that the curves- or lack thereof- are unnatural and that if you want to be happy, you need to be skinny, but not too skinny. That your skin needs to be smooth and teeth must be perfectly white. If you want to be happy and enjoy life, your hair needs to be shiny and muscles toned. I'm sorry, but since when did my emotions depend on the shape of my body? The texture of my skin?
I guess as I sit down to write this article the same images keep flashing through my mind, creating a kaleidoscope of tear-stained societal products: middle school girls crying over their bodies, clutching magazines in their hands, or sitting next to discarded phones full of edited Instagram posts; adults pumping their body full of "junk food" one day and eating only leaves and smoothies the next, so as to "reset" or "detox"; highways decorated with billboards telling you you aren't enough and need to change; the war we wage on our bodies.
It's sad, to say the least. When I think of my little cousins- thirteen and eight- who may have these same struggles already, it makes me so upset and angry at society for not putting our foot down and stopping the promotion of diet culture. Your body is only a vessel for the heart and soul and mind inside it. Yes, take care of it. Eat good foods and run and play and keep good hygiene. But taking care of that body shouldn't mean molding it to look like another. And that's what diet culture is trying to get you to do; trying to make you pay to do. Don't sacrifice your mental health or happiness or self-worth to achieve the "perfect body." I'll happily be the one to break the news to you: there is no such thing as the perfect body. And what society deems "perfect" today, will change and change and change.
So as we descend upon the new year and take down our Christmas decorations and return to work and school, let's collectively resist a culture that is so adamant about making a profit on your insecurities. Let's love and cherish our bodies and thank them for helping us through a pandemic, for waking up each morning and carrying us through long, monotonous days. Love our bodies for every scar or dimple or roll. Love our skin, not despite, but because of blemishes and acne. Love our legs for taking up places and our arms for the hugs they receive and our smiles and eyes and everything. Let's make this the year we roll our eyes and scoff at products that promise to change our bodies. News flash: you don't need to change.
Bloom is not affiliated with any company and does not profit from this article. Bloom is not predominately a news website, nor are we qualified to offer mental/physical health help. Although a professional was consulted in the writing of this article, the information in this article may not be factual. We always link sources used to the article, so if you are interested in the topic, we encourage you to do some research!
If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health or body image issues, we encourage you to talk to a parent, teacher, counselor, or other trusted adult. Additionally, you can check out our Resources page for different places you can go to seek help. Remember, you are not alone.