This is the time of year when throngs of people have made the decision to finally lose those last few pounds. This year their resolutions will not fall by the wayside. You will exercise regularly. You will reach for fruits and veggies instead of potato chips. You will fit into those skinny jeans. This – you know it, you feel it! – is the year of change.
You are vulnerable right now. You need a plan to back up your resolutions and good intentions. The health and beauty industry knows it, too. Now’s the time to capitalize on us making our litany of self-improvement goals. How nice of them. They only want to help us along with our resolutions, right?
Personally, I resist the temptation to make goals related to my weight or health given my body image history, but after sifting through one of my email accounts that is susceptible to a ridiculous amount of SPAM this morning, I began to see just why it is so very difficult not to buy into the belief that a “new” me is dependent on looking swell. First up: A message about a teeth whitening product that was guaranteed to make my smile brighter. Delete. There were discount coupons for the Nutrisystem program as well as a set of portion control containers that help you eat the right amount because, you know, listening to my internal cues isn’t enough. I can’t be healthy on my own. I need the help of plastic containers and restrictive calorie plans. Delete. Then there was an email promoting a cute baby contest. Snag ’em while they’re young! Delete. Oh, and I discovered the secret to spotless, smooth, and elastic skin. All I have to do is invest a few hundred bucks in an anti-aging “miracle.” Delete.
The messages are ubiquitous and powerful, too.
Want to be happier? Want to live a more fulfilling life? Want to feel better about yourself? Want 2012 to be the best year ever? Forget cultivating virtue. Forget prayer. Forget taking care of your temple because it is a gift of God. Forget loving your spouse and children. Forget simplifying your life. Here’s the real secret to a better, happier, more beautiful future: Brighten your smile. Capitalize on your kids’ cuteness. While you’re at it, capitalize on your own potential for cuteness. You’re not there yet, but you do have POTENTIAL! Control your portions. Slather on miracle skin cream. Pretty up. Slim down. Buy these boots, this flattering sweater, and this lipstick. Smile!
Don’t buy into it, my friends. Feel free to exercise and eat more veggies. Don’t feel guilty about using Crest whitening strips or applying a good skin cream. But as I wrote in a guest post for the lovely Elizabeth Foss (talk about real beauty!!!), don’t allow an honorable, hopeful desire to morph into an unhealthy need.
Turn to Him if you really want a makeover. You were created to be a reflection of God’s love and beauty, and it is prayer – more than another fad diet – that will restore you to His likeness.
Please join me over at Elizabeth Foss’s place where I share a part of my soul and my hope for all of us in finding a healthy, Godward path to wholeness in 2012.