Are you feeling the pressure to slip into a smaller size as summer hits? Challenge your mindset, and put the focus on all the fun you’ll be having instead.
BY: SIMI BOTIC
What do you feel at the first sign of warmer weather? Is it a panicked pressure to lose weight for the many events of summer (from weddings to beach vacations)?
If you’re like many others who are struggling with the diet culture mentality, the impending doom of needing to be ‘bikini ready’ may be closing in. Whether it’s a pool party with friends, a beach vacation with family, or a wedding you’re in or attending, you may be plotting to lose as much weight as you can in time for it all.
Months, weeks, and days are spent pressuring yourself to get as small as possible in time for whatever impending experience is on your calendar. Your mind is preoccupied thinking about how your body measures up next to others. You might be worried about what people would think about how you look, and fear the shame, discomfort, and overall crappy-ness you will feel when you look at yet another picture where you hate the way you look.
Your sacrifice your life to damaging patterns of fear and shame, in hopes that you might feel OK for a single day.
But rather than rushing past these emotions and feelings, let’s take a minute to sit with them.
First — are any of those fears or feelings real for you right now?
Without judgment or the need to ‘fix’ the fear, simply acknowledge which ones are ringing true for you in this moment.
Second — think about how many others experience the same feelings as you.
Think about the women in your life who you love, and have also made comments around their bodies. Maybe your best friends, sisters, daughter, or your mom. Pick a few of the women who you love so deeply and fiercely and hold them in your mind right now.
Imagine them sitting on the other side of their phones feeling these fears, looking at their calendars — at an upcoming bachelorette party, wedding, or beach vacation — and feeling that who they are right now is not safe or worthy of having that enjoyable experience.
Is that a reality that you want for these women you love? What comes up for you? What do you want to say to these women who you love fiercely? What do you want them to truly and deeply know? Pause and write it all down.
Sometimes the most powerful thing we can do when it comes to our own bodies is to take ourselves out of the equation, and reconnect with our compassionate side. It’s often much easier to practice with someone else than toward ourselves.These compassionate truths you spoke when thinking of your friends are true for you, too.
Third — Reflect on the truth of your past experiences with intentional weight loss.
What were your past experiences with intentional weight loss actually like for you? What did it cost you in the months, weeks, days of trying to lose weight (those times leading up to an event)? Be honest about what these experiences were like for you in the past.
What was your reality like after the event? What opens up for you when you’re not intentionally pursuing weight loss? How might the next months, weeks, and days be different for you if you shifted your focus?
What do you gain back if you’re not intentionally trying to lose? If you weren’t focusing on body comparison or judgment at this upcoming ‘event,’ what would you be free to focus on instead?
Remember, our bodies are made to change.
Your body. My body. They will, they are, and they do! Your body expands and contracts, which allows you to experience so much of life: from healing to grieving to exploring to giving life and beyond. Think of all the ways your body has supported you and shifted to create space when you needed it most.
Many of the behaviors, inner thoughts, and habits we develop to try to get ‘event ready’ actually detract from true health and long-term, sustainable habits. Rather than feeling distracted or isolated, self-care that prioritizes your personal values and allows you to show up more fully in your life are much more sustainable to your health.
This summer, spend less time looking at your body,
And more time living in it.
Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: JAKOB OWENS
Simi Botic is a certified holistic health coach, speaker, and the author of “Letting Go Of Leo: How I Broke Up With Perfection”, a memoir about overcoming her decades long struggle with feeling like she wasn’t enough. Through her work, she helps women all over the world ditch perfection and heal their relationships with food and body image so they can begin to embrace their beautifully imperfect lives. She made you a free guide, The First Step To Breaking Up With Perfection which you can grab here. To learn more, visit her at www.simibotic.com and @simibotic.