The New List: Re-creating the Media’s List of Do’s and Don’ts

‘Tis the season to be bamboozled.

Everywhere we look right now, there is a headline or a Tweet from every major magazine about what to eat and what not to eat this holiday season.


Lists, and calorie counts, and ideas for vegan muffins, and how many different holiday cocktails will make us fat.

Every day, from Halloween to New Year’s Eve, this is what we see.


And that’s really great and all, but, do we really need the magazines to tell us how many calories are in a margarita?

I mean, c’mon, you and I both know that there is no nutritional value to a margarita.

Margaritas are filled with fun and lime-flavored decisions that normally have consequences.

That’s pretty common (sometimes awesome) knowledge.

Do you know what happens when we read that list of cocktails that we should avoid?

Our brain thinks immediately, “Oh, add that to the list of things I can’t have.”

And it’s just like the old saying goes: “If I tell you not to think about the color red, what color are you going to think about?” “Red.” (Is that an old saying? I mean, people say it a lot, so…)

Basically, by trying to get the masses to NOT focus on food during the holidays, the media and the magazines and even our friends on Facebook have done exactly the opposite.

The holidays are officially about food.

Whether we realize it or not, the media is doing an excellent job of preparing us for the next big boom in WeightWatchers memberships and Paleo-diet book sales.

By putting these cleverly-titled lists of food in our faces every day – whether they are “good food” lists or “bad food” lists – we are constantly reminded to eat and drink.

Whether we are hungry or not.

On top of that, every morning, amongst the political memes and constant flow of engagement and baby pictures on our Facebook newsfeed, our friends’ pictures of last night’s salmon/bok choy/chia seed/coconut oil/alfalfa sprout creation is staring us in the face. I know we’re probably all on different levels with understanding chia seeds, but because I still haven’t grasped the concept of using them and I’m pretty content that I can finally make my own green smoothie and be satisfied with it, pictures and articles about food on Facebook overwhelm me.

It all overwhelms me.

Because we are all still, as a whole, making it about food.

The diet industry has gotta love this.

In between Instagram’ed meals of vegan cornbread and Pinterest recipes for Paleo lasagna, the diet and fitness industry continues to have a leg up on us.

Because the more overwhelmed we get, the more willing we are to try whatever hits us in the face first

And if that’s a new diet, or a new fitness video that costs us a hundred bucks come January 1st when we don’t like what we see on the scale, then the diet and fitness industry scores again.

Because we’ll excitedly try the hundred dollar juice cleanse and the newest dance fitness TRX trampoline kettle bell video for a month, get depressed at our lack of motivation to keep it up, and slump back into our winter blues until spring rolls around, when, naturally, the magazines post the best bikini workouts for 2014.

It’s an endless cycle that is actually extremely well-planned on their part.

And the people who have trouble with food the way bingers, or addicts do, are their biggest supporters.

Because until we become aware that we have a problem with binging – until we finally come to terms with the fact that we are not just weak or we are not just stupid – we keep trying the newest fad.

We keep the diet and fitness industry in business, week after week, month after month, year after year.

So this week, I say we give them a run for their money.

This month, I say we give them the cold shoulder.

Dare I say it – this year, this upcoming year – I say we try to figure out what we should and shouldn’t eat on our OWN.

I mean, do we really need Jillian Michaels to tell us which greek yogurt has the most protein?

Can we just read the labels for ourselves? Do we even like greek yogurt? Are we just eating it because it’s the “in” thing?

And, let me just ask this: Do we really need Self to teach us how to do eight different kinds of push-ups?

What if we just started from the beginning and tried doing five old-fashioned push-ups a day until we work our way up to eight, ten, fifteen, and twenty?

What if we, (here we go), I know you know I’m gonna say it, take BABY STEPS, on our own, without the help of glossy pages and airbrushed models demonstrating for us?

I think we might find that we are smarter and stronger than we’ve been led to believe.

This Christmas, why don’t we make our own lists?

Lists of things we’ve accomplished this year.

Lists of things we’ve accomplished in the past five years.

Lists of things we are grateful for.

Lists of friends who supported us this year when we couldn’t find the light at the end of the tunnel on our own.

Lists of places we’ve traveled, lessons we’ve learned, or books that have changed our lives.

Lists of our proudest moments.

Dare I say it…

…what if we made a list of our OWN highlight reel, instead of scrolling everyone else’s on our social media feeds?

Mind you, I’m not asking you to make a list of goals for the new year. Or a list of new foods you want to try. Or a list of things you still haven’t finished in 2013.

We all have things we didn’t get to this year. We all have things we thought would happen. Maybe life got in the way. Maybe we got distracted. But this isn’t what I’m asking you to focus on.

Let’s focus on stuff that’s happened. Stuff that we did get done.

By making a “gratitude list”, like my friend Christina taught me to do, we might just end up outlining how all our “distractions” led us to accomplishing things that we never even had on our to-do list to begin with.

This blog, and Roar, and my amazing relationship, and teaching dance in Hawaii, are all results of the “distractions” in 2013. I might not have ran the marathon, and I might not have booked a Broadway show, but I also influenced hundreds of thousands of people this year AND I can now get through a movie without holding a spoon and a jar of Nutella in my hands.

My own baby steps have allowed me to take one giant step towards recovery, growing up, and loving who I am.

And I wish the same for you.

In the restaurant world, when someone doesn’t want something in their meal, we let the kitchen know by putting “86” in front of the food. Like, “86 chicken sub tofu”, or “86 whipped cream”.

I say, let’s fucking 86 all of the lists of things that we should and shouldn’t be doing, and let’s sub the lists that really matter:

The gratitude lists. The accomplishment lists. The “shit I got done” lists.

These are the lists that we deserve to be bombarded with every day.

Let your lists be your gift to yourself this year.

I keep mine on my desk and add to it every day.


I’m so grateful for all of you, and the gifts of support, love, and encouragement I’ve received this year.

Have yourselves a merry little Christmas.


Next week’s posting:

Resolutions Schmesolutions

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4 Comments on “The New List: Re-creating the Media’s List of Do’s and Don’ts”

  1. Shawn says:

    A wonderful perspective and great ideas. I’m going to share them with my four beautiful daughters. You have yourself a merry little Christmas also, Amanda. And a glorious New Year.


  2. Hbpeep says:

    At the top of my gratitude list, Trust Me, I’ve Been There!!

    Merry Christmas sweet girl, and continued happinesses and successes in the new year.

    Love, Mon


  3. Penelope Gardner says:

    Thank you for your insights, Amanda – and for introducing me to Sara Bareille’s music – I am now officially obsessed!! Happy Happy from snowy Canada!!


  4. davidshawnvazquez7 says:

    I found out about you because of the ROAR video. Your actions and your words have inspired me, and I enjoy your blogs…..write everyday if you need to. I decided I need to write a song everyday. Not everything is a gem, but I have them in my head everyday. So I’m looking for a way to post that to the public, just because I feel like I need to send it out there to the universe. You keep dancing, singing, writing or whatever it is and I’m pullin’ for ya. 100%.


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