We’ve officially reached August, which means we are in the final stretch of summer. I don’t know about you, but while I’m trying to be mindful and enjoy where we are right now, I also can’t wait for a blast of cool Autumn air! The heat has been brutal here in NYC! But we’ve still got a few more weeks to go and I’m hoping we can make our time in the sun as body positive as possible. Check out these 5 tips to close out your summer on a body-positive note.
- Put on that bathing suit: If you’ve been too nervous to don your swimsuit and get your booty to the beach, now is your chance! There is no reason why your body needs to avoid being seen or to be covered at the pool. Unless you just don’t enjoy the water, the sand, chilled beverages, the smell of sunscreen, or laying out in the sun, there are zero real, tangible barriers stopping you from having one last swimsuit-worthy outing of the summer. We’ve stopped ourselves from having fun because we’re ashamed of our bodies for too long. If you haven’t gotten out there yet, it’s not too late! Plus, there are a TON of cute swim options out there. Check out Chromat and Swimsuits for All!
- Fill your life with self-compassion: Okay, so say you just couldn’t muster up the body-image courage to go out in your swimsuit. Does that mean you’re awful and terrible at body positivity?
Absolutelynot! One of the most important mindset shifts we can make is that of self-compassion over shame and self-hatred. If we can’t do something–either because the culture has convinced us we aren’t worthy, or because our bodies simply won’t let us–that doesn’t mean we’re worthless. It just means that right now, we can’t do that thing. And that’s okay! Whether it’s about our relationship with food, our relationship with our body, or really anything else, being self-compassionate is truly key to healing and treating ourselves with care. If you’re looking for some self-compassion resources, be sure to check out Kristin Neff’s work!
- Have some quick comebacks at-the-ready when some troll wants to fat-shame you (and know that you don’t have to defend yourself if you don’t want to or can’t expend that energy right now): Having some research on weight-science or go-to comebacks for ignorant comments about your body or food choices handy can be super helpful, whether you’re dealing with family and friends or strangers. Way too many people out there think that commenting on other people’s bodies and giving unsolicited nutrition and exercise advice is 100% acceptable, and this happens way too frequently to people in larger bodies. Those commenting may think they’re being helpful, but you and I both know that it’s fatphobic and discriminatory. But what do we do when we become the butt of the comment? Well, we can do nothing. We can go about our day, knowing that they are wrong and hurtful, and try to move on. Or, we can have some quick, fat-positive statements at the ready to use when we need them. Check out Ragen Chastain’s blog piece on how to respond to fat-shaming right here for some super helpful tips and a compassionate approach to this complicated experience.
- Buy one last body-positive beach read: You can never have too many body-positive narratives in your life, right? Well, I for one certainly don’t think so. If you haven’t seen this blog post on my favorite body-positive beach reads for this summer, check it out and pick one up! Reading someone’s path through body positivity is one of the most profound, uplifting, validating, and inspiring things that we can do for ourselves as we try to find our own version of body acceptance.
- Remember that your body is not broken… the culture is: This is key. If nothing else, hold onto this truth. The summer season can put our bodies on full display, and make body-image concerns flare up and feel like they are taking over our lives. But we have to do our best to remember that all of this shame and body hatred isn’t real. Yes, it’s real in the sense that the pain is real. The feelings are real. But the ways in which we measure body acceptability are not. They are constructed through beauty standards and diet culture and fatphobia and patriarchy and racism and so many other oppressive systems that are woven into the fabric of our society. But that doesn’t make them real, true, or an accurate reflection of what our bodies are actually worth. Your body is not broken. The culture is.
The Anti-Diet Plan signature mindfulness-based course is going online! We’ll be launching this fall exclusively to my email list subscribers and social media followers. Stay tuned for more exciting news on this new program–and don’t forget to sign-up for The Anti-Diet Plan FREE 30-day introductory course for a taste of program.
Alexis Conason is a clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of overeating disorders, body image dissatisfaction, psychological issues related to bariatric surgery, and sexual issues. She is the founder of The Anti-Diet Plan (sign up for her free 30 day course). Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.