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A healthy new year

The new year has sprung on us with enough cold to have even the heartiest Northwesterner hiding indoors, tucking into hot drinks and comfort foods for warmth.  This means even less exposure to sunlight during these shorter days and a growing sense of doom.  So it’s no wonder that marketers are taking advantage of the post-holiday blahs and increased vitamin D deficiency and depression by reminding us that Jenny Craig, NutriSystem, and Weight Watchers are ready and waiting to fix us.

That’s right.  Never will you see more advertisements from weight-loss products than right now – a mere week after they repeatedly showed us how to make creative new hors-d’oeuvres and fat-producing bites for friends and family.  They told us to eat, eat, eat and be happy about it.

But now it’s a new month, a new year, and it’s time to shed, shed, shed.  Because in every ad, nobody looks happy when they eat anymore.  Food is no longer a means to celebrate, but the enemy.  The commercials focus on pills, programs, and procedures to ensure your happiness with lower body fat.  Individuals discuss health issues and family concerns.  Musical jingles sing about eating your feelings.  And a plethora of before and after photos offer proof of their magical powers of improvement.

But that’s only one part of the equation.  While we’re holed up with a bucket of take-out, we can’t help but notice all the gyms offering discount memberships and signing bonuses along with the all-important indoor workouts away from the cold.

Consequently, it’s never busier at the gym than those first two weeks of January.  Everyone’s suddenly so enthusiastic about Sweatin’ to the Oldies, you have to go early or stay late in order to squeeze in some time on the treadmill.  But we do, because the alternative is to stay home where we’re repeatedly reminded during each commercial break that everyone else is getting slimmer and healthier and happier.  So instead, we watch those same commercials on the TV’s at the gym to ensure we keep running.

Fortunately for the regulars, by week three the novelty of working out starts to wear off and the rationalizations begin.  After all, the Christmas eat-fest only lasted a couple of weeks.  However, that membership is for an entire month or more.  Well, once or twice a week still gets you your money’s worth.

Of course, getting a good sweat on during the dead of winter has its drawbacks too.  You can shower at the gym or just shove on a tuque and head out into the cold.  Either way, your hair freezes.  And that can’t be healthy for you – or your hair.

But then, one day, it’s February.  A new month.  A new campaign.  And the advertisements are suddenly less about fat and carbs and more about chocolates and heart-shaped pizzas.

Don’t worry, the ads will be back – just in time to have you panicking about shorts and bathing suit season.