Too Fat for the Holidays

Angry FrustratedIt’s a special day for me – I just got my first e-mail from a company trying to make money by making me terrified that “the holidays” are coming and I’m somehow too fat for them.  Thus begins the next stop on the dieting Axis of Evil marketing tour  (the holidays are coming, New Year’s Resolutions, and Bikini Season is coming.)

Of course there’s the fact that ye olde diet company assumes that everyone celebrates holidays at the end of the year which is messed up. Then we have their wanton disregard for people actually enjoying the holidays.  The message they sent to me:”The holidays are just around the corner, will you have a body you can be proud of?” is a disgusting attempt to create insecurities and then play on them for profit.  Here I was nervous that I would have to call my mom 14 times and still screw up the holiday dinner and embarrass myself, now I’m supposed to worry that I’ll embarrass myself just by existing in a body that hasn’t been manipulated to some size I can be “proud of” which, based on the picture that accompanied the message, would require me to lose about 150 pounds  and grow 6 inches in the next two months.

If they were honest their ad copy would have read “The holidays are coming so it would be great if you would hate your body and make a desperate bid to change it that won’t work but will make us a boatload of money so that our last quarter numbers look good.”

Since I was a kid I’ve seen what now seem like unending permutations of the message “you’re too fat” delivered to me by those who hope to profit from my believing it. The holidays are coming and you’re too fat. It’s New Years and you’re too fat.  Bikini season is coming and you’re too fat.

Screw that.

We may not be able to stop the diet companies from trying to ruin the next three months (and the month after that with their New Year’s Resolution, and the months after that with whatever they try to use to create a giant chasm between us and loving ourselves) but we can decide that they aren’t going to succeed.  I recommend a secret little mantra that I’ve created that I say whenever I see diet industry ads.  My mantra is “HEY, THAT’S BULLSHIT!”  Works like a charm to remind me not to buy into any of this.

The holidays are coming and I’m just fine.  New Year’s is coming and I’m just fine.  Bikini season is coming and I’m just fine.  This diet industry that spends so much time and money oppressing me with a product that doesn’t do anything successfully except make them money,  runs on our time and money energy.  We take the fuel away and the machine stops.  It happens as one person at a time changes the channel, throws out the postcard, or rolls their eyes and says “No more. I’m done with this.”

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Published in: on September 19, 2014 at 8:40 am  Comments (20)  

20 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This saddens me greatly. It is just another way that marketing has taken away the true meaning of the holidays. Togetherness, family, reflection and joy. No fat shaming needs to be involved in any of that.

    • “Togetherness, family, reflection and joy” free of fat shaming is a lovely ideal.

      Unfortunately, fat shaming is all too often a part of family gatherings. The weight-cycling industry’s BS does nothing to help this, probably encourages the familial harassers, and makes people facing such family gatherings cringe and feel even more separate from their families.

      It’s easy to yell BULLSHIT at the TV and to magazine ads. Not so easy to so at family members, especially at a festive gathering.

      People facing such family events need our compassion and encouragement, and some tools to pro-actively call BULLSHIT on a familial bully before such family gatherings. Only then will they have togetherness and joy.

  2. I live with the reruns of those ads all year (re my father) so when those ads come on around thanksgiving (see Oct for Canadians) I tune them out now, it sure wasn’t like that before. Then again my family was never the most loving so holidays mean very little to me now.

    My biggest hope right now is in the next few years I can change my view on the holidays and see them as more then just time off.

  3. Don’t forget the incessant facebook posts of every single person that has some stake in a weightloss company, reminding and shaming all through the holidays. Ugh.

  4. For more than 10 years I would NOT eat at holiday parties. I simply could not handle the stares of the other party goers and their obvious judgement while masking it with polite comments. It was miserable, miserable not eating, miserable missing out on all that food and fun, and miserable going home feeling defeated.

    About three years ago, I just said to myself f-this, I’m eating at this party. I had a great time, yes there was the obvious shaming and quipped comments but I just avoided those people. I am a very funny, outgoing guy so me enjoying the food made me much more fun and gregarious. I hate to brag but me actually eating, drinking (a ‘lil bit of white whine) and being merry made the party much more fun for 90% people in attendance.

    I see it like this, I can eat a little more than I usually do and ensure everyone has a great time or I can starve myself and be the miserable fat guy in the corner.

    For me the choice is obvious.

  5. Until recently, my husband and I didn’t make enough money to buy cable. We’ve lived without it for about two years. Now that we’re making enough money, I find I don’t want cable. Two years of not having fifty commercials a day telling me to hate myself have done wonders for my self-esteem.

    • THIS so much. My fiance and I decided to get Roku about 3 years ago instead of watching TV. We watch movies and TV shows on Netflix through our TV but don’t have to watch commercials. I can’t tell you the freedom in not having to hear commercials trying to suck out my self-esteem every few minutes during the “commercial breaks”. It has made a HUGE difference in my self-esteem. It’s amazing the difference not being exposed to that crap makes in my life.

    • Yes, this!!! We stripped down to the basic cable package, of which we watch only PBS and the music channels that are just music, no videos at all. I don’t subscribe to “women’s” or “fitness” magazines anymore and I change the station when commercial radio goes to ads. I can count the number of ads for weight loss I encounter each day on both hands and have fingers left over. That’s still too many, but at least they’re silent little pictures on my monitor, and if they make me go WUT I can come to blogs like this one to find dozens of people saying the same thing.

      And wow it helps.

      Now if only the cheap and minimally-migraine-triggering frozen dinners at the store didn’t boast right on the label how low in calories they are. If I am zapping a frozen dinner, I am in a hurry and/or sick and I just want to get full and go on with my day. Quit telling me how very unlike food you are, okay? Okay.

  6. This is PURELY my opinion, but I really dislike it when people post how much they ran or exercised today on a public forum like FB. It’s the same thing as saying, “HEY! LOOKIT ME! I NEED ATTENTION FOR MY EXERCISE! SEE?? SEEEEE??” When I was exercising religiously, I wrote the distance down on my wall calendar so I could keep track. Worked just as well.

    Purely my opinion, though. My personal axe to grind.

    On another note…I’d say you left off one part of the equation: the after-holiday ads, usually around the second week of January. The guy peering at his profile in the mirror and seeing his gut with pictures of beer and cake superimposed on it. The gal who caaaaan’t quiiiiite button her skinny jeans, writhing on her back on her bed trying to get them to zip. The “fat, wah wah wah waaaaaah” music as they do so…followed shortly by perky, upbeat music for how you can save This Month Only at Big Muscle Gym and Work off Those Holiday Pounds…! How WWs is offering a Post Holiday Booty Camp! Sure, it’s okay you overindulged because hey, we ALL do it round the holidays. But now you have to pay the piper, fatass. No free rides…UNLESS IT’S IN OUR BRAND NEW SPINNING ROOM!

    BTW, we don’t have TV in our house for this exactly reason (well, that and cost). I do NOT want my daughter growing up with those images slapping her face at every turn. I was just getting my oil changed this morning at the dealership, and I got a chance to watch 50 minutes of commercial television in the waiting room, a treat for me. And it just re-affirmed how I made the right decision in not having TV in my house. Just in those 50 minutes, I had to turn off the sound so my daughter wouldn’t hear what was being said. It was awful.

  7. Ah, the holidays. AKA the emotional minefield when it comes to food. If you decline something (seconds, pumpkin pie, Aunt Helen’s baked smelts that make the house smell like someone barfed into the ductwork), people assume you’re getting a jump start on your New Year’s Resolution Diet. Or they follow up everything they eat with enough self-flagellation for an Opus Dei convention.

    Fuck it, just hand over the peanut blossoms and no one gets hurt.

    • I’ve been to a few of those Dinner Parties of the Damned. They are no fun whatsoever, but I feel quite certain Aunt Helen’s baked smelts would have driven me to gnaw my own leg off to escape.

    • That sounds absitively disgusting.

  8. Hey, it is WAY more important to look good than to be a loving, talented, happy human being. I mean, if you stop obsessing about your weight, who knows what you could accomplish. Get with the program!

    /snark

    I’m slightly bummed about the holidays because my body has decided it hates too many carbohydrates and punishes me with digestive issues. Most of my favorite treats have plenty of carbs and if I don’t want to feel miserable the next day, I can only indulge in very small doses.

    Guess I will have to try to find some special treats that are low carb. Thank goodness most of my friends don’t do the food shaming crap.

    • Bummer about the carb miseries, Isstrout. It’s rotten when our fave foods betray us.

    • Deviled eggs. We loves them, precious, yes we does. Keep your turkeys and hams, precious, but leave us the deviled eggses!

      I have been known to trade my share of the dessert pie for more deviled eggs.

      • Eggselent suggestion!

  9. There’s only one thing in this world I’m too fat for, and that’s things built/sewn specifically for people who weigh less than I do.

    Holidays? Honey, those were always intended to be one size fits ALL.

    I don’t care whether the holiday in question is one I celebrate regularly or not, whether it is part of my belief system or not, what time of year it’s celebrated or how; none of these things are impacted by my weight.

    And seriously, to everyone dreading their holiday season because of a fat shaming family, there’s no law that says you have to spend your holiday being abused. Skip or limit visits to family members who treat you like a doormat. Find the family of your heart, whether that matches the family of your blood or not. Spend as much time as possible with that heart family.

    Then spend the rest of the year doing the same thing.

  10. Holidays to me always mean preparations, cooking on the day, cleaning for weeks in advance, being nice to family that you hate. Now they my grandparents are gone, there’s really no reason to do that. And before that we would go to my grandma’s nursing home and they had a special Christmas lunch or supper that you could purchase tickets for, and they would set up a room for you to enjoy with your family that was living there. Much less stressful, and we didn’t have to get her in a car and then out of it twice.

  11. Unless you’re Santa Claus, in which case, being fat for Christmas is expected. As Mrs. Claus said in the old Rudolph cartoon, “Nobody likes a skinny Santa!”

    I’m waiting for the Media Moguls to decide that Chubby Claus is a bad example for our children, and we need to reinvent a Svelte Santa.

  12. My new standard reply comes straight from Lucille Bluth (Arrested Development):

    ”The holidays are just around the corner, will you have a body you can be proud of?”

    I don’t understand the question and I will not respond to it.


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