Around this time of year, social media becomes saturated with posts about getting ready for summer. There are posts about summer vacation plans, the must-do hikes, the best beaches to visit, and how you have to look in order to feel good during summer.
All of the posts about adventures to do over summer are great, but what’s with all the garbage about summer/beach bodes?
Usually the post involves someone trying to promote a fitness plan or diet to help you achieve a “bikini body.” This year, instead of paying any attention to those posts, practice self-love and body positivity. Do NOT buy into this body shaming trap!! Remember: You already have a “bikini body” by just owning a swimsuit and having a body!
You already have a “bikini body” by just owning a swimsuit and having a body!
You will not be missing out on any fun, memorable times this summer by not having a six pack, I promise. You do not need to change your body to have a great time on a road trip, or go to the beach, or hang out with friends by a pool. Don’t let society make you feel ashamed of your body.
So, how can you combat the “bikini body” or “summer body” mentality?
1. Practice Mindfulness
Be mindful when it comes to thoughts about your body, food, and movement. What sort of negative thoughts creep up and how do those thoughts shape your day? Instead of jumping on the restriction, deprivation diet bandwagon, focus on mindful eating and adopting enjoyable forms of physical activity. There is no need to go on a diet to try to lose weight for summer vacation.
Trust your body and listen to when you’re feeling hungry, and when you’re not. Listen to when your body is craving certain foods, and satisfy those cravings. Eat those foods while paying attention – noticing the amazing flavors, textures, and the joy and happiness they bring. Don’t restrict yourself to try and fit into society’s unattainable expectations of how we should look. Aim for balance and variety, as you are able to, and sprinkle in some food pleasure too.
Don’t spend your entire spring season exercising to try to look a certain way by the time summer rolls around. Move your body in ways you enjoy, whether that is going to the gym, going on a walk, practicing yoga, or having a dance party in your kitchen.
Lastly, be mindful of the thoughts you have about yourself and your body. Try to catch those negative thoughts and replace them with positive or neutral thoughts. Celebrate being healthy, being alive, and being capable of doing the things you enjoy instead of shaming yourself for not having an unrealistic body size.
2. Go Shopping
Now is a perfect time to shop for a summer wardrobe that will make you feel confident. If you’re not sure how to do this, read last week’s blog post about how to be a body positive shopper. Find a cute summer dress that will make you feel comfortable and confident during your summer vacation. Shop for that bikini and make a choice to show up to your swim spot with an unapologetic confident attitude and totally rock it.
3. Surround Yourself with Supportive People
Having people around you that share the same body positive mindset is so important! They can be there to support you and help you when you are having bad body image days.
Find people that won’t push you to diet or participate in exercise that you absolutely dread, but rather celebrate how you look and your goals to lead a healthy, happy life. You can find body positive people right here on campus! Follow the NAU Body Positivity club on Instagram and join the club: @naubodypositivity2.0
4. Go on a Social Media Cleanse
Either take a break from social media completely or go through and unfollow all of those accounts that are telling you to change your body for the summer season. If you are constantly seeing posts about how you “should” look for summer, how can you expect yourself to not believe it?
Try to follow accounts that are body positive and encourage you to be mindful about your eating habits, exercise routine, and body image. Looking for ideas? Check out this blog for some accounts to follow.
And if there is only one thing you take away from this… remember that every body is a bikini body and don’t let anyone tell you differently!