I know that marketing is incredibly important (i.e. lucrative) this time of year (and in the new year), but as the narrative around health has shifted in the last decade, it’s been fascinating for me to see how public perception of these ads has shifted.
We used to normalize all the commercials shaming us for holiday weight- bullying us to join the gym, buy a meal plan, or consider some quick and easy diet fix (hello, Hydroxycut🥴). The same companies telling us to live in the moment, enjoy family meals, and eat and be merry would turn on their heads overnight and call us fat and lazy; it’s enough to leave anyone confused and frustrated.
And I know that growing up, a lot of us got swept up in the hype- in the high-energy accusations and flashy “deals” that targeted your deepest insecurities. But as more people start embracing sustainable change, healthy choices, and long-term dietary shifts, the sting of these ads has faded to a quiet whine- not unlike an annoying mosquito you know is there but can’t seem to catch.
Using guilt as a driving force behind any life changes dooms your efforts before they even start. No one likes feeling bad about themselves every day- sure, some people are fueled by their guilt to make incredible changes in the beginning, but these changes never stick.
Because healthy changes come from a healthy mindset.
Learning to live with yourself, no matter what shape, size, or form you come in, is the key to a happy and satisfying life. There is nothing wrong with pampering yourself. There’s no reason not to enjoy the moments as they happen, and approach each new chapter with curiosity and joy, rather than shame and judgement.
Holding space for yourself is a powerful and understated way to enforce your boundaries-
It ensures your ability to protect your mental health. It gives you the capacity to approach interpersonal relationships in a way that won’t overwhelm you. And it allows you to grow at your own pace without caving to external pressure or expectations.
Which is why I find it so amazing that as our views on what “health” really means has evolved, we’ve shed this outdated concept that centers on just exercise and dieting. We’ve incorporated other scopes beyond the physical- emotional, spiritual, mental, etc.
We’ve learned to be more self-compassionate.
The truth is- capitalism will always tell you that you’re missing something. They try to convince you that you fall short of an idealized version of yourself to sell you a “solution.” Companies prey on our insecurities, our self-esteem, our ambitions, because historically that’s what’s made them the big bucks.
But inner-growth is seeing these attempts to gaslight you, and saying, “I am imperfect, and I still love who I am.” It’s recognizing the parts of yourself you’d like to change and embracing the journey, instead of focusing on the outcome. It’s forming habits, practicing gratitude, and having empathy for who you were, and who you want to become.
So learn to live in the moment. Learn to ignore criticism and negativity. Treat yourself as you’d treat a loved one, because you are your most important person.