"New year, new you" — it's the oldest trick in the book for magazine editors compiling their January issues.
Especially in health and wellness publications, "new you" actually means "less of you," and while there is nothing wrong with joining a gym or eating differently, falling into the traps of New Year diet culture (or pressure to meet a body ideal) is no way to start a health journey.
One nutritionist took her disgust with the media's obsession with "transformations" at the start of the new year and totally revamped it for a body-positive, empowering result.
Laura Thomas, a nutritionist from the UK, took Women's Health UK and gave it the makeover it desperately needed.
"This cover is the EPITOME of diet culture," she wrote in her lengthy caption. "This is, of course, their yearly ‘transform’ issue, which promises to ‘shed kilos, strip fat, and build muscle.’ But remember, going on a diet may transform your body (temporarily, diets don’t work long term), but it’s not a cure for low self-esteem, it doesn’t help you cultivate body acceptance or good body image, and it can lead you down the path of disordered eating."
She called diet culture a giant lie.
Thomas called out the myth of diet culture, saying that no matter what magazine covers suggest, changing your diet and your body won't necessarily change your entire life.
"Even Beyoncé shits," she continued. "No amount of controlling your body will make you happy, and you still have to get up and go to work when you reach your target. You’ll still have relationship problems and family drama, and all the rest. Diets don’t solve problems."
And if the comments to her post are anything to go off on, most people agree.
@Steffanymr said it best: This time of year is extra hard. You're bombarded with messages that your current or past self isn't good enough, and that if you're not on some kid of restrictive diet, you're doing something wrong.
Other commenters pointed out that this is far from the first time Women's Health UK did the exact opposite of body positivity.
Additionally, the magazine's big #InShapeMyShape campaign was the polar opposite of inclusive.
The magazine's big push for body positivity, empowerment, and self-love came in the form of a campaign supposedly designed to celebrate all bodies, which employed the hashtag #InShapyMyShape.
While a good idea in theory, the message was TOTALLY lost when the magazine chose to only include thin, toned, mostly white women. Seriously, there's not even one remotely plus-size body.
One commenter called out the glaring hypocrisy of the magazine.
For a magazine that should be all about women's health, that cover suggests the polar opposite. Endorsing diet culture, #fitspo, and unrealistic body ideals isn't helping anyone.