I was recently swiping mindlessly through my friends’ Snapchat stories when I came across one who had storied a flyer from her gym titled, “Maintain, Don’t Gain!” that quoted the “statistic” that, “the average American will gain 5-10 lbs this holiday season.” The point of their flyer was to encourage users to sign up for more fitness classes this season.
About a week removed from seeing this story, it’s still on my mind. I think of it as I’m deciding what to eat or as I’m deciding on whether or not to go to the gym. What kind of world do we live in that gaining 5-10 pounds during the holiday season is an issue? That indulging in good food and missing gym sessions for a few weeks is something to be looked down on? Why aren’t we celebrating that we have the luxury to treat ourselves, spend time with loved ones, and perhaps have to loosen your belt a bit at the end?
As someone with a history of disordered eating, this advertisement wording got under my skin and has stayed there. Weight gain is criminalized in our society for no reason and it’s toxic. Thankfully, my friend has a similar history and posted the flyer because of the absurdity, but a lot of people could take it to heart.
If you’re worried about the holiday season from an eating standpoint, I encourage you to use the resources around you. Speak to friends and family about your fears, reach out to your therapist if you have one, or use some of the online resources available. On the other side, if you have a friend you know struggles with eating, please reach out to them and check in over the coming months.
Have you ever encountered ads or commercials around this time of year that focus on fitness and physical appearance? For those who have experience with eating disorders (whether it be yourself or someone you know), how do these make you feel? Are there any other kinds of holiday marketing techniques that bother you?