For many, however, New Year’s resolutions are a thing of the past. The new year often brings on an onslaught of anxiety-inducing targeted ads that promise personal transformation with the aid of the latest supplement or beauty roller or customized workout regimen. One TikTok has gone viral for reminding those that these ads are particularly rampant on social media in January, and that wellness culture can often be toxic.
The TikTok account The Salad Whisperer is run by a woman named Sarah, who self-describes as “classically trained chef. ED recovered. Foe of diet culture and toxic wellness.” In the video, a woman narrates, “To whoever needs to hear this: 2023 is going to look exactly like 2022” as footage of thin, white women work out, do sunrise yoga, and shop for leafy greens plays in the background.
The TikTok then cuts to Sarah, who reminds viewers that “this is the time of year when conventionally attractive and privileged people are going to try to convince you that the only difference between them and you is the fact that they make great food choices and you don’t. And that’s total bulls***, so,” she concludes with a shrug.
The sentiment hit home for many who feel like the pressure to blossom into the “ideal version of yourself” overnight because it’s a new year can be overwhelming, guilt-inducing, and lead to impulse purchases of so-called miracle products or a fancy new gratitude journal.
“The cultural pressure to ‘reset’ at new year’s is terrifying,” commented one. “Isn’t it? It’s tied directly to the guilt we are all supposed to feel for enjoying food and drink over the holidays. So gross!” Sarah replied.
“SAY IT LOUDER 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 I’m already getting so many weight loss vids pushed on my FYP and I’m LIVID,” added another. “👏🏼 We're all just one juice cleanse away from living our best life 🙄😂,” agreed another TikTok user tired of seeing weight loss ads and other wellness ads flooding their feeds. “Diet culture served up as personal evolution... one of my biggest bugaboos,” Sarah noted of the uptick in wellness ads.
So for anyone who feels inspired to make New Year’s Resolutions or attack a bunch of goals right at the beginning of the year, do you. But for anyone feeling the pressure to start a post-holiday diet or hit the gym at full speed because of what’s on their feed, it might be worth taking a step away from social media — or making sure the ad settings for Instagram and TikTok are set to keep off potentially triggering topics that run rampant in toxic wellness culture.