Avoiding the summer body trap

 

One of the most common phrases you’ll hear as it comes closer to the summertime is: “I need to get my summer body ready”. Simply googling the phrase “summer body” will release search results of article after article on the best workouts and diets to achieve the perfect summer body. While there’s nothing wrong with trying to improve your physical health and fitness, as well as your diet, the idea behind a “summer body” is much more than that.

Unrealistic Expectations

One of the biggest problems with the “summer body”, and something which is actually quite troubling, is that it isn’t designed to increase your fitness and overall health. In actuality, the concept largely focuses on making people’s appearances fit body image ideals that endless magazines and online articles push, which in case it hasn’t been noticed yet are often simply unrealistic.

However, the unrealistic expectations of the “summer body” are still spread around the internet, from articles to social media. This is even though it can be, and often is, the cause of many people’s poor body image hang-ups. This is something that can fundamentally affect the way that people see themselves, as many see their image tied to their self-worth - creating a constant need to readjust how they are seen by other people.

Many are left with a feeling of guilt when they eat something that could affect their figure, or the overwhelming feeling of failure when they haven’t achieved the (realistically unattainable) “summer body” they’ve been trying so hard to achieve. But why? The entire issue boils down to the idea that you must look a certain way when you’re wearing swimwear - so how do we avoid this?

How to avoid the “summer body”

The most important thing to remember is that the entire premise of the “summer body” isn’t true. No-one is judging you when you’re wearing a swimsuit or trunks, and even if they are (which is highly unlikely) - that’s their problem. Everyone deserves to be happy in their own skin, which is why the whole concept of the “summer body” is so wrong - and has the potential to be so damaging. Ultimately, this concept makes people unhappy with their body. When you feel like this, it can quickly make you desperate to change how you look, making it easy to stop looking after your health in order to get that perfect “summer body”.

There are a few things you can do to avoid the pressures of that “summer body”:

  • Every time you see something that references the “summer body” that makes you feel bad, treat yourself to something that makes you feel good - like an indulgent snack or a nice coffee. You deserve it.
  • Whether you workout, go to the gym or go for a run -  do it for you and your fitness goals, not to look a certain way.
  • Every time you feel guilty about eating cake, chocolate or anything outside of your diet, name three good things about yourself that are more important than how much you weigh.
  • When you stop in front of a mirror to scrutinise yourself, either walk away or point out at least 3 things about your body that you like.
  • Keep reminding yourself that there is so much more to you than how much you weigh or how your body looks.
If you feel that you or a friend have body image issues, and it is affecting your overall well-being and mental health, please don’t be afraid to get help. Contact Supportline, Seed or Time to Change for professional help and support.
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