Confession: I started writing this a couple of weeks ago with the full knowledge that as soon as November hit, so too would the holiday body shaming. It’s like everything else related to the season – once Halloween has passed the halls are immediately decked. Only instead of garlands, gift guides and Christmas carols, it’s cleanses, HIIT programs and incessant Weight Watchers ads (#thanksoprah). It’s all to absolve us from gluttony in a lead up to the ultimate restart: New Years.
But I’ve noticed that what was once limited to a seasonal obsession now makes a weekly appearance – and it’s guised as motivation.
In social media culture, Monday is all about motivation. It has its own hashtag, in fact. On Instagram, #MotivationMonday has 1,005,757 posts and counting, all related to self-improvement – with the majority in the health, fitness and nutrition realm.
Monday is lauded as a fresh start. A chance to repent from our lazy, overindulgent weekend. A veritable New Years Resolution once a week.
It’s completely exhausting. And it’s only Monday.
Yesterday I shared a quote from Jes Baker’s book Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls. It bears repeating: “Food isn’t damnable. Salad will not send you to heaven and cheesecake will not send you to hell.”
Neither will Halloween candy. Or pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. Or those freshly baked sugar cookies, or any of the other delicious holiday goodies you’ll encounter over the next couple of months.
Food is not a sin, and it doesn’t require penance. Your food choices do not make you good or bad. They don’t require a detox or a reset or a resolution. The diet industry will challenge you; that is certain. Just remember that it’s all marketing. It’s aimed to shame you into buying what they’re selling at the cost of your self-worth. If there is anything you should be vigilant about, it’s that. Not what food you choose to eat.
So celebrate this season. Sample a little nostalgia from the trick-or-treat bag. Enjoy your Aunt Cathy’s homemade pecan pie without the guilt. Go ice skating and warm up with a steamy mug of hot cocoa. Bake, decorate and have fun while you’re creating those memories and tasting those cookies.
Eat, drink and be merry. No restart required. Be grateful and savor every moment without apology. Let that be your only motivation.