A Women’s Fitness Magazine Got Heat For Urging People To Burn Off Christmas Calories, Issues Apology
There’s no denying that this year has been pretty much a drag (and disappointment). One thing that kept me sane and hopeful enough to not give up is food and, oh, waiting for Christmas. So Christmas was the ultimate opportunity to binge on snacks and sweets guilt-free, because you know what they say, Christmas calories don’t count. However, turns out someone has been counting our holiday calories and making it their business (quite literally) to let us know we should get to work and burn them off. No, it’s not your distant relative who has nothing better to do, but a UK-based fitness magazine suggesting weight loss the very next day after a festival.
The official Twitter page of Women’s Fitness Magazine UK posted about how the day after Christmas was perfect to sweat it out and burn the fat you gained from all the Christmas cookies you ate. It obviously didn’t sit well with the netizens. The tweet read, “Are you getting out for a run, walk or cycle today? It’s a great day to burn off those Christmas calories… post your pics here!”
The last thing I’d want to end 2020 with is being guilted into feeling that I need to burn some calories, that too right after Christmas. But that’s not even the point. This could really trigger people with eating disorders and impact their mental health. Not cool.
A lot of people struggling with anorexia and bulimia go into food guilt every alternate day. The pressure is even more on special occasions and festivals like Christmas. Being pushed to shed off those calories by a fitness magazine would only coerce them into feeling extremely guilty about eating and not working out right away. And, that is exactly what the concern was for most people who expressed their disagreement with the post.
I find it really sad that in 2020 you’re promoting the need to ‘burn off’ Christmas calories😢 I think that’s a very triggering and outdated message to be sharing. You’re encouraging women to work out from a place of guilt/shame which I think is very negative and dangerous
— Stay Sassy 💕 (@stephelswood) December 27, 2020
The Twitter clan shared their disappointment and pointed out how problematic it is. A user wrote, “I find it really sad that in 2020 you’re promoting the need to ‘burn off’ Christmas calories. I think that’s a very triggering and outdated message to be sharing. You’re encouraging women to work out from a place of guilt/shame which I think is very negative and dangerous.”
Another user wrote, “Hugely concerning and problematic language. We shouldn’t be ascribing moral labels to food and exercise or encouraging people to adopt an earn and burn mentality; it’s the fall out from these damaging marketing campaigns that I see only too well in clinic.” To which the magazine replied, “Sorry to hear you’ve seen some distressing examples of food issues. We weren’t saying people had to burn off calories. The reality is that some people will have eaten more than usual and may be feeling that they want to do something about it. Or some people may feel OK with it.”
Sorry to anyone upset by our recent post about getting out and burning off Xmas calories. We were trying to encourage you to exercise, share your pics and to not to wait until January if you have fitness or weight-loss goals. We know that not everyone exercises for weight loss. pic.twitter.com/sRTC4omxu8
— Women’s Fitness mag (@WomensFitnessuk) December 27, 2020
After much backlash, the magazine finally issued an apology saying, Sorry to anyone upset by our recent post about getting out and burning off Xmas calories. We were trying to encourage you to exercise, share your pics and to not to wait until January if you have fitness or weight-loss goals. We know that not everyone exercises for weight loss.”
Some people argued that since it is a fitness magazine and it’s literally their jobs to encourage people to burn calories, we should cut them some slack. However, such tweets promote the unhealthy post-Christmas diet culture which is unnecessary and toxic. Terms like ‘burn off’ and ‘weight loss goals’ could be really triggering and imposing the pressure to look a certain way. What they should promote is positive body image by encouraging people to be healthy and not melting off every extra calorie we intake. We are rooting for magazines to be more body positive and leave this toxic marketing tactics that pressurise people into losing holiday weight just to gain some traction. We don’t want that in 2021. Or as Joey said, “I don’t need that kind of talk in my house. I’m curvy and I like it.”