“New you for 2013”

First visit to the gym this year, and I more or less picked up where I left off. I ran 3 miles on the treadmill and it was mostly good, but I’m still a little sick and my body reacted in icky ways to the workout. About 2 miles in I more or less stopped sweating (never a good thing) and after I finished I realized where all the water in my body went: to my sinuses and nose! And now it’s all coming back out again (ew).

Happy 2013, readers! Now, anyone with a TV, radio, internet or newspaper in the past couple weeks has seen the ads: "Get a New You for 2013!" The question is– Why do I need a new me?

The beginning of another "dieting season" and the accompanying ads are simply another way to inspire dissatisfaction with our bodies, ensuring a steady flow of attention and money to fitness and diet products. If advertising can convince us that something is wrong, then we’ll spend money to fix it– but the trick is, how effective and attainable is the "fix"? Convince people that their bodies reflect personal moral failings, then sell them products to fix it– when the products fail to work, it’s not because the products were ineffective but because you didn’t use them properly, you weren’t ‘good’ enough, didn’t have enough discipline or motivation or self-control. It’s all your fault, the products say. Buy something else and see if that works!

I realize that I spend a fair bit of money on fitness– but, truly, I do it for the most selfish of reasons: exercise makes me feel fantastic. That’s a proven result, for me. And I couldn’t find that out until I gave up on trying to make changes to my weight and appearance that never lasted, but instead gave myself grace to rediscover activity. (Thanks, HAES, for changing my outlook.)

So no, I’m not looking for a "new me" for the new year. The old one is good. I’d like to work some more on improving what it can do, but I will do that in a balanced, positive way, free of self-hate and dissatisfaction.

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