No sooner had the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve when the advertisements began running: lose weight in the new year, begin a diet as part of your resolutions, change your body in 2013. Store displays are now proudly featuring work-out equipment, diet supplements and other means of losing weight (some more healthy than others).
Certain companies like Special K have tried to put a somewhat more positive spin on weight and resolutions, via their “what will you gain when you lose?” advertising campaign. This campaign began in 2011, but last year the company began encouraging consumers to upload videos describing what they will gain emotionally after they lose the weight (such as moxie, pride and peace).
In a series of television commercials, women in New York’s Times Square are invited to step on a scale; instead of a number, words like satisfaction, confidence and joy pop up to the delight of the women (no men are featured in the ads since the company markets almost exclusively to women). This would be a fantastic idea, if not for the fact that Special K is encouraging women to gain this positive message via using their products as part of a diet. This isn’t the first time that Special K has taken the body empowerment and distorted it to push their dieting products- they have employed similar tactics during the summer for “swimsuit season.”
We have supported the idea of stepping away from the scale as a means of breaking the cycle of judging self-worth by numbers, but so many of these promotions and advertisements are emphasizing one’s weight as a triumph and indicator of keeping a resolution. Even on a popular television show like “The Biggest Loser,” the number of the scale can easily deflate the enthusiasm of the contestants if the weekly loss is less than anticipated. While emotional changes are part of the process, the change in weight via scale numbers is emphasized above all others.
Some of the most significant changes that you can make at the start of a new year are changes to the inside of your body, not the outside. You don’t need a scale or diet products to achieve this; satisfaction, confidence and joy are obtainable regardless of one’s weight or appearance. Perhaps this year, we can all resolve to gain a positive body image without depending on the scale numbers for that. In 2013, let’s resolve to gain a better self-image and self-worth and lose the focus on numbers.