Friday, 28 December 2012

'Tis the season... to lose weight

With Christmas out of the way, and weeks of solid advertising preaching for the season of gluttony, it's time to feel the guilt. What sin! How could you? How could you eat two Christmas dinners and a box of chocolate? What you need now is a diet. But, don't even think about fresh fruit – no, what you need is the best in diet foods: low-fat cake, low-fat yogurt, low-fat ready meals. And don't waste time walking around the park – get a gym membership instead. New trainers, new trackies, new you. That's what you want, isn't it? A new you. A you you don't feel guilty for being. Purge away your sin and spend in the Church of Consumerism. Because you are not a person if you don't.

Every year is much of the same. Every year we are bombarded with the same message: 'tis the season. Somewhere along the line, the festive season went from celebrating love and life to celebrating stuff. Television, news, interwebs, people – everything is telling us to consume as much possible, be it food or stuff. Telling us that without such purchases, Christmas will be a disaster. Telling us not to let our loved ones down. And this line is embedded, one only has to look at the mothers among us to see the stress of ensuring everyone has the perfect Christmas.

But as soon as the day of eating too much food is out the way, the ads switch on us. The very same mediums that were telling us to eat as much as we could, now tell us we've all put on a few pounds. That we've let ourselves go and we simply must lose weight. If we don't, we're undesirable. They're making us feel guilty for doing the very thing we were so encouraged to do, but they're pretending to be on our side all the time. They're offering us guidance and a hand to help us through the difficult transition into that Better You.

In my inbox this morning I found a direct hit. LA Fitness encouraging me to 'join the new year's health resolution' (which, admittedly, I read as 'revolution' the first time. I don't know if that's my dyslexia, or if they engineered it themselves). The tagline reads: 'Start achieving your health and fitness goals today'.

I don't know about everyone else, but I was still on the 'let yourself go' part of the festive season; drinking beer and eating seconds. But it seems I'm supposed to stop eating in time for the next set of festivities: new year's. As we enter into 2013 I need to set myself some new rules for being a better person, and advertisers the world-over are promising to help.

LA Fitness isn't the only company encouraging a change of tact. The diet industry thrives off our insecurities, and this is a great time of year to hit out. It stayed quiet for a couple of weeks, giving us all long enough to eat more than we would usually, to ensure we're primed and ready to purge.

Happy holidays.

Follow Pennie Varvarides on Twitter @superpennie