I absolutely love Christmas! I love decorating the house, shopping for presents – I even like wrapping them. Although I must admit that despite the best intentions and multiple Pinterest boards, I still leave it till Christmas Eve and it looks like a toddler could have wrapped it. But I love every second of December and immerse myself into the festive season as much as I can.
There is one thing that bugs me though, I mean there is probably loads more things that do, but this year, this is really driving me nuts; Christmas Countdowns! I have literally been seeing notifications since May on how many days/weeks till Christmas and it drives me crazy. Although, I’ve come to realise that these countdowns are nothing in comparison to the new era of Christmas Countdowns I have seen over the past few weeks.
The Christmas Cut Countdown, 6 weeks to Fit for Christmas, FitMas Countdown, Drop a DresMas in 6 weeks and wait for it. The most vile advert to show up in my feed last week, “Don’t be a Festive Fatty”. WTAF!
Some absolute cretin of a “fitness professional” (and I use that term VERY loosely) is using this as their strap line to sell their weight loss programme in the run up to Christmas.
I feel like I have had my feed spammed on a daily basis with adverts like this since the start of the month. These ads are clearly targeted at women and more so, it seems, at mums. At first it amazed me that these companies actually sold any of their programmes, but then when I think about how they can use (manipulate) targeting in their ads, it makes total sense. Despite how immoral it is.
6 Monday’s till Christmas
My youngest daughter takes great pleasure telling me every week since the start of October, how many Monday’s are left till Christmas. I hate to tell you, its only 6!
I don’t know about you, but I have enough stress trying to keep up with school nativities, work parties, Christmas shopping and let’s not forget the million different items you have to remember to take to school for the tombola every week. How the hell do I have time to think about weight loss and starting a new ‘exercise’ programme.
With everything else I have going on in December, I don’t want the added pressure of thinking I’ve also only got 6 Monday’s to “drop a dress size” as well as do everything else on my to do list. Who needs that pressure in a regular month, let alone December?
I thought the pressure was bad enough in January with all the New Year, New You bullsh*t but clearly, these companies want to ruin December now for us too!
It seems that these programmes are part of a new insta-pandemic of supposed ‘fitness professionals’, targeting new mums with their promises of weight loss, just in time to rock a LBD during the festive period.
Lets face it, as new mums we are probably in the single most vulnerable time of our life in relation to self esteem, body image and confidence. These adverts are convincing us that not only do we need to lose weight. But we need to lose it before Christmas.
Hashtag New Baby
If we look at how targeted ads work on social media and the rise in hashtags such as #septemberbaby #newbaby #newmum. We suddenly have a huge audience of women who are probably 8+ weeks post-natal right about now who are probably starting to feel a little self conscious about their body as it start to recover from pregnancy.
In between scrolling the Smyths website between feeds, you just might even be having a little search online to seek out some exercise /inspo online. And if your social circle is anything like mine was, then it won’t be long before your mum’s group chat turns to which classes to sign up in January in a bid to lose the baby/Christmas weight. Without realising it, you are already feeling some form of pressure to start exercising for weight loss, without even thinking about it.
It’s all a fad
As you know, I am all for exercising and getting more women to move more often. BUT not at the cost of their mental or physical health. Sadly, and although I cant speak for all of them, many of these targeted programmes are just restrictive, low calorie meal plans, wrapped up and packaged as “Fitness”.
The exercise in these programmes is literally an afterthought. The whole basis on which the programme is based is huge calorie restriction in your diet. So from a basic calories in versus calories out principle, you will 100% lose weight – and this is what worries me the most. The programme will appear to deliver what people are so desperately searching for – weight loss and this is how they know they can hook people in.
What they don’t tell you (and why would they) is that this initial drop in weight is predominantly water and sadly not body fat. You haven’t suddenly fine tuned your metabolism into a fat burning machine with their programme. Sadly, by the time Christmas comes, your body won’t be functioning well on such a low calorie deficit. Chances are you will be pretty miserable as you cant enjoy the odd mince pie, in fact you probably cant enjoy any the odd anything! So one of two things will likely happen come the end of the month: illness or binge eating over Christmas (actually it will probably be both!)
How can we stop it?
Well sadly, we cannot stop these companies from using adverts in this way nor can we stop them pushing their starvation diets. But we can try to consciously not buy into this false narrative of “festive fitness”. I get that it’s easier said than done when you are being bombarded with these ads on a daily basis on every social channel you use.
But did you know? There’s been a new tool launched by Instagram which actually enables you to get rid of these weight loss ads from your feed altogether. THANK YOU INSTAGRAM for finally taking some responsibility for the damage these ads are doing:
Here is how
- Click “ad”
- Click “ad topics”
- Click “body weight control”
- Click “see less.”
Boom – the ads on your feed should now be tailored to not include this crap and means you no longer see any advertisements promoting fad diets and god forbid any of the horrendous targeted Christmas weight loss adverts listed above!
Be Kind – to yourself!
So the first step is blocking this toxic content from our feeds, but that isn’t going to stop the internal dialogue, that let’s face it, is usually negative when it comes to our bodies.
We read all the time now about how important it is to be kind – and it is, I am not arguing there. However, I think sometimes we focus so much on being kind to others, that we forget to be kind to ourselves.
So my message to you is to be kind to yourself this Christmas. Especially if you’ve just had a baby. You are pretty f*cking amazing birthing a brand new little human, so give your body some compassion and respect – It is amazing!
Exercise isn’t all bad
I feel like I really need to stress this – exercise isn’t all bad! It can be really beneficial during the post natal period not just for physical recovery but for mental health too. It is just really important that it is the right exercise for you at this stage in your life.
So if you are at a stage where you are ready to start exercising again, then do your research before starting a new programme. Any programme that guarantees you to drop a dress size, lose a stone or includes any kind of restrictive diet plan – AVOID it like you would the boxing day sales with a toddler!
Look for exercise that is designed to strengthen and repair muscles affected during pregnancy as opposed to focusing on weight loss. This will not only help you move and function better but will also give you a massive boost of endorphins that will make you feel great. There are some great resources online to get research based, safe advice on exercise as a new mum and they 100% wont be telling you to drop a dress size in December!
From Birth to Barbells
We are running a 3 day Birth to Barbells challenge in December to empower mums and arm them with the information they need to be able to make informed choices on the best post natal exercise for them. It promises to be fad free, informative and more importantly FUN! We have lots of prizes to give away, fun challenges and the opportunity to chat with post natal specialists Claire and Robyn to find out more about the do’s and the don’ts of exercise after a baby.
So to sign up for the free challenge and find out more – click here