Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Too Tight Jeans

Raise your hand if you have a pair of jeans or trousers in your closet that do not fit you...Or maybe its a dress that just won't zip. Or maybe it's a suit that feels ready to tear every time you lift your arms. Perhaps you are holding onto a pair of shoes that are just gorgeous but hurt like the dickens every time you wear them giving you blisters and back pain. Any of these sound familiar? I have a pair of jeans that I bought years ago when I was going through a really bad breakup and using anger to over-exercise. They fit me for about a month and then I became happier and they haven't fit since. That doesn't mean I don't try them on occasionally and feel bad about myself for not being "smaller". Why am I holding onto a pair of jeans that do not fit and have not fit for several years?

"But Sarah, I was healthier three years ago, it wasn't anger running, it was right before my wedding and that's the reason I bought my jeans. But now my doctor tells me to lose weight and so I want to fit into my older jeans. I have joined and gym and I am eating right and I am drinking my weight in water and I am going to lose weight and fit into those jeans. Those jeans are my inspiration! They keep me going"

OK, fair enough. But let me ask you this. When you try on jeans (or whatever your non fitting item is) that are too tight and you cannot zip up, does it make you feel motivated and good or does it make you feel bad about yourself? I know for me when I try on clothes that are too tight, I do not grin from ear to ear as I lace up my sneakers and merrily go for a run. I feel worse and I often think that eating or sitting around feeling bad about myself or possibly trying on more clothes that don't fit will help. And unfortunately it never does. I have found through my own experience that holding onto clothes that don't fit us is not inspiration, it is depression.

And the same thing goes for the clothes that don't fit in our minds. I have a whole drawer of "mind clothes" that haven't fit for ages; "truths" I tell myself to make me better. I bet you have some too. A few examples of tight jean truths are: "I am such an idiot. Why do I always do that? Nice guys finish last. In order to be beautiful I need to look like (insert your person here). I am too (fat/skinny/pale/dark). Why would anybody (love/cherish/date) me?"

These statements are just like your Too Tight Jeans. Every time you try them on (or say them to yourself) they make you feel worse, not better. Why do we tell ourselves we are not good enough? I think it's because we think that by saying it, it will help, we will feel better, we will do something about it. But usually we don't. Why don't we stop saying/wearing these clothes and just say/wear something else? Why don't we get rid of our TTJ and wear some clothes that fit.

Even if you think the TTJ's you say are true. Even if you truly believe that you need to be more ______ in order to be more ______. Is it making you feel better to say that? Is it making you more motivated to achieve it? Is it actually helping? Or is it just inspiring you to feel worse?

This week I would like you to take a look at your Too Tight Jeans. The ones in your closet and the ones in your head. Its the perfect time for a little spring cleaning.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I want to go to there

Last year I saw a commercial for Old Spice body wash and I liked it so much, I re-watched it on you tube. I emailed it to my friends, I posted it on Facebook and I promptly went out and bought said body wash.

Recently at a Mexican restaurant I ordered a DOS XX for the sole reason that the commercials for “the most interesting man in the world” are the most interesting thing on TV to me.

And two days ago I found myself wanting to leave the comfort of my own home because an ad on TV for the Olive Garden made me believe that my life would be better with breadsticks.


I do not particularly like the smell of old spice. And I like it even less on me than I like smelling it on someone of the opposite sex. That means purchasing old spice body wash was a waste of money and just strange. However it was pretty harmless in the scheme of things. But what about when you don’t realize that you are being manipulated by advertising and the product in question could affect your health?

Do you choose your medication based on the commercial? Do you alter your grocery shopping based on print ads? Do you find yourself singing the jingle for fast food restaurants? Do you know the slogan/address/catch phrase of local places from the radio? Think about it.

Ok, first off, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I love good advertising. I mean, everyone does. Look at how popular the super bowl commercials are. The problem (as far as I’m concerned) is not in liking the advertisement. The problem happens when you are unaware of it. I know that I will always have a penchant for old spice, Nike footwear, orbit gum, bud light and most recently volkswagens. I know that 90% of the reason I like those things are because of advertising. But what about the food commercials I am not really aware of? I don’t even have to like the fast food ad but when I see a sexy guy eating a big mac in a beautiful open landscape and there is catchy music and he looks to be thoroughly enjoying it and then an announcer tells me that yes, he is having the best eating experience of his life, it’s hard not to fall for it subconsciously. I may not even have noticed it happening, but later in the week when I pass by said restaurant, I might find that my mouth starts to water and the familiar jingle appears in my head and I am struck with an overwhelming urge to stop and eat. To the untrained observer (there is one in all of us) we think we actually want that burger. We are having a hard time separating the person who was sucked into the TV and the person who is actually hungry.

This week I would like you to try and notice when advertising is swaying you. If you are checking your email, and banners for TGI Fridays keep flashing across your screen, take note. Are you getting hungry? When you watch a Claritin ad do you immediately get the sinking feeling that you too have asthma? All of the ads on TV are designed to make us believe that we need the thing they are selling. However most of the time we do not need anything. Or at least not anything you can buy. And this is why my favorite advertising is Kaiser Permanente. Their Thrive campaign actually makes me feel like I want to lead a healthier life and I don’t even need to be a Kaiser member or purchase anything. What is advertising doing to you? Maybe nothing, but more than likely it’s persuading you to buy, think, eat, do something. Is that something helping you or hurting you? Only you will know.