A personal insight into my thoughts surrounding the media and diet industry propagated quest for an ideal “summer body”. Why I once sought it out and now, why I’ll never have one.
It seems these days we can’t walk out of our houses, go to a store, turn on the television, browse the internet, flip through a magazine, or listen to the radio without hearing SOMETHING about dieting for summer.
There’s a million and one summer diet and fitness “challenges” going on right now convincing people that they are running out of time to change (or really FIX) their bodies before summertime. Heck, some of these challenges start as early as January every year. So basically, if you participate, you are spending half your year trying to make your body fit a certain beauty ideal for TWO MONTHS out of the year. Since when does a change of season or temperature dictate what’s acceptable for your body to look like?!
As much as I HATE this type of messaging, I will admit it can be pretty persuasive. Even the people with the most common sense and most contempt for what the diet industry promotes can get caught up in the bombardment of messages flowing from their media outlets. Myself included.
A few weeks ago, as the weather started to warm up, I was feeling very down about my body. I told myself “you’re not going to wear shorts or tank tops or any real summery clothing until you lose weight and are happy with what you look like.” I figured this would motivate me to work harder towards my goals, but in reality, it was just a form of self-punishment and negativity towards my body.
A few days ago I had a mindset shift surrounding this thinking pattern. I talked a little about this on Instagram recently. Basically, I came to the conclusion that I may NEVER be satisfied with my body. But guess what? THAT IS OKAY.
What it means however, is that I can’t stop living life or restricting myself (like what I am “allowed” to wear) simply because I am not comfortable with what I look like. I deserve to wear whatever I want, whenever I want. Especially in the summer when it’s hot and I don’t want to be sweating to death under long leggings and big t-shirts. Just because I am not where I want to be yet physically, doesn’t mean I have to hide my body or punish myself.
You don’t have to love your body or the way it looks, BUT you SHOULD appreciate for what it is and what it does for you in the present. I am a work in progress. We ALL are a work in progress (and if you’re not then you must be GOD!). So we shouldn’t fee shame or guilt for where we are currently. Like I said, you don’t have to LOVE. Heck, you can even want to change it! However, you should embrace it while you’re on the journey to being who you want to be.
In some instances, it’s good to be future-minded. But when it comes to your body, it’s not. If we think about what we will look like or what we will weigh sometime in the future, we become consumed with that and stop living for TODAY. There is SO much more to life than our physical aesthetics and when we stop focusing on that 24/7 we can actually enjoy our lives more…in whatever body we are currently in.
So yeah…I am no longer working for a “summer body”. Partly because the body I want is not going to come from some 2 week quick fix, but also because my body is not meant to be a “summer body”. It’s meant to be a “last till I am 100 and have experienced everything I’ve wanted to experience” body.
I am not living for a season…I am living for a lifetime.
How about you?
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