Falling back into the real world come January 1st is never easy. The warm haze of Christmas feels like a lifetime ago and the prospect of a dry January, without an assorted box of chocolates in sight seems rather bleak.
As has become customary, you will now experience a barrage of weight loss adverts starting, rather timely, on Boxing Day, just as you polish off that turkey sandwich and so without even a full days rest, the reminder that we are not quite good enough, covers our Christmas cheer in a blanket of point counters, slimming pills and weight loss shakes.
To make matters worse, this year, ‘weight loss expert’ Steve Miller has elected the 7th of January as ‘Tell a friend they’re fat day’.
Steve, in his naive, bullying and crass idea, that is cloaked in the term ‘expert’ believes that, come this day, you should tell a friend they’re fat, in order, I imagine to,
A. Do what a facebook cull can’t quite manage these days and actually rid a person from your social circle.
B. Apparently kick start their weight loss ‘journey’.
The bullying and body shaming connotations of this campaign are painfully obvious. A recent Girl Guiding survey revealed that over half of girls aged 17 to 21 feel ashamed about the way they look, with many experiencing bullying and sexual harassment. Due to the rise in cyber bullying and trolling this campaign is nothing but grossly irresponsible.
As Nicky Morgan (Education Secretary) said last week, ‘Girls need more help to overcome the growing issue of teenage mental health problems’ (Guardian 5/12/14), with many suffering depression and eating disorders.
While Steve Miller may possess the ability to hypnotise someone into loosing weight, but it would appear he has very little in the way of people skills.
The Obesity Journal report that was released in September 2014 specified that shaming someone about their body does not aid weight loss. It can in fact, cause an individual to gain the pounds, by causing them to comfort eat to console themselves. We have shamed both men and women over their bodies for decades, if body shaming and bullying worked as a weight loss tool, the phrase, obesity wouldn’t even exist in our modern society.
For too long we have placed far too much praise on a slim body over a healthy body.
A persons size does not, without consideration of other factors determine someones health. This campaign is not only an open invitation for bullying, but scientifically flawed due to Miller’s refusal to take into consideration the numerous factors that determine our health. If Miller’s concern was real, would he not have be better placed running a #letsgetfit campaign come Jan 7th?
Whether you or your friend is fat or not, the truth is, it isn’t any of Steve’s or anyone else’s business. The only person that can decide to, be motivated and actively change their body is the person living in it, if they so choose to. We have placed our physicality on a pedestal for far too long, ignoring that size is not a determination of health or our value in society.
We have seen a steady decline in the levels of confidence amongst young people, with detramental effects to society. Being in a strong mental place can actively lead to people taking control of all aspects of their lives and make choices that increase their overall health.
It is on this basis that SLiNK magazine have teamed up with fashion blogger Kate London-James to propose the campaign…
Encouraging both men and women (of any size) to tell a friend why they’re great and why they value and respect them, instead of thinly veined attempt to harm their confidence.
Friendship and love isn’t just something we value at Christmas time, long after the baileys is finished, it is something that should be valued above all else.
The campaign, which will counteract Steve’s on the 07/01/15 encourages social media users to tweet / facebook and instagram a friend with the #youarefab and the reason why.
Let’s not start 2015 with bullying, let’s start it with positivity and confidence.