As the temperatures start to rise, the amount of clothes everyone can stand to wear in the heat drops. With beaches, bikinis, and skimpy sundresses on the brain, some of us might start to feel some body-image panic.
So what do we do when summer’s here, but we don’t feel “beach ready” yet? How can we have a fun, exciting summer without our feelings about our body getting in the way?
Diet programs would suggest you try to lose weight and “tone up.” But research shows that diets are unsustainable, and I think we all know from anecdotal evidence and personal experience that they also make us miserable.
But is there something more sustainable out there? Absolutely. It’s body-image work, and it doesn’t have to be as hard as it may sound.
Here are four quick tips to jumpstarting your body-image work and getting your body–and your mind–ready to brave the waves:
1.Recognize diet culture
We need to put the blame where it belongs: on diet culture, not your body. We have been conditioned to think our bodies MUST look a certain way to do certain activities, but this just isn’t true!
As Chelsea Kronengold says, “Change the culture, not your body! Speak up and be a voice in the movement against these unrealistic ‘summer body’ and ‘beach body’ pressures. You are enough — and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!”
Seeing diet culture when we are in it can be a challenge, but once you see it, you can’t unsee it.
And to learn how to recognize it, I suggest you check out tip number two!
2.Change your expectations by changing your social media
Body-positive and anti-diet messages are going to be crucial in shifting your body image towards a more loving perspective.
As Taylor Wolfram says, “Fill your world with as much non-diet & body-inclusive messaging as possible.”
This means that your Instagram feed, your Facebook page, and more should be filled with people talking about diet culture, feminism, body acceptance, etc. Expose yourself to images of different kinds of bodies, and interrogate your own discomfort with fatness. Be critical of your own expectations of your body, and of the beauty ideals we currently hold as a culture.
3.Buy clothes for your body as it is right now
It’s important to have clothes that fit your body right now, not clothes that you have from last summer or spring season that you’ve promised yourself that you’re going to fit back into one day. Our bodies change! And if we keep clothes that just make us feel ashamed of our bodies, we’re just doubling down on the body shame and judgment that we’re struggling with.
If you have the financial means, head out and find some clothes and bathing suits that make you feel awesome and powerful and beautiful. There are some amazing plus size options out there right now, so be sure to check out designers like Gabbi Fresh!
And remember, thrift stores are always a great option, or clothing swaps with friends.
4.Just do it
It may sound cliche and simplistic, but the act of just doing it, going out there and wearing exactly what makes your feel comfortable, can be a radical, life-changing move.
As Melainie Rogers, founder of Balance Eating Disorder treatment center says, “A ‘beach body’ is whatever state your body is in right now.”
For more on having a body positive summer free from dieting, check out the recent twitter chat hosted by @BALANCEedtc by searching #dietfreesummer on Twitter.
If you’re looking for more body image tips, be sure to tune into my Facebook live event with body image coach, Holly Toronto, on Wednesday, May 16th at 12pm!