If summer body pressures are getting to you, it’s important to take a closer look at why. Here’s what it really means, and the mindset to overcome it.
Summer is coming.
And as we head into the warmer months, you are starting to see more messages like, “Get your bikini body now”, or “Lose the last x pounds by buying our products”.
First of all, please know that you have permission to reject those messages.
The diet industry is worth over $70B, and they literally profit off of making people feel poorly about themselves.
Second, if your body has changed and you find yourself needing new clothes or a new swimsuit for the summer, you may find it to be a stressful time. But let’s take a quick step back and understand why these concerns are coming up for you in the first place.
1. YOU’RE COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS THAT YOU FEEL HAVE A MORE “IDEAL” BODY TYPE.
This is a good time to pause, and breathe. What are you thinking? What are you feeling? Are those things actually true?
For example, if your immediate thought was: “OMG she looks so good, I could never have that much confidence,” were your subsequent feelings of shame, anxiety, or guilt?
Ask yourself: Is that really true? Why should I try and look like her? Where did I learn that that is the “ideal”? Who profits off me thinking that? Why can’t I be that confident now?
The reframe to have in this situation is to know that your here-and-now body is just fine without the stress of trying to reach a certain shape or size. Remember, you are not your thoughts. You don’t have to believe everything you think, and can train your brain to recognize these thoughts that turn it into something more positive and productive. Practice, practice!
2. YOU MAY BE COMPARING YOURSELF TO A YOUNGER VERSION OF YOURSELF.
Just a reminder folks – bodies are meant to change. The body you had as a teenager, or in your 20s, is going to be different than the body you have now. And that’s OK.
If your body has changed because you graduated college and you now have a desk job, that’s OK. Think about how much you have grown as a human, and try to extend more kindness and understanding to yourself.
3. YOU MAY BE AFRAID OF WHAT YOU WILL LOOK LIKE IN PICTURES FOR IMPORTANT EVENTS.
Seeing a photo of yourself that you don’t like as much is an opportunity to practice more kindness, and more self-compassion. A picture is literally just a snapshot of a tiny moment in time.
Remember that everyone sees pictures of themselves they don’t love, and they are more likely thinking about themselves than you. Challenge yourself to think about what you are actually feeling, how much you’re enjoying the event, and identify ways that you can take care of yourself best in this moment.
4. YOU MIGHT FEAR WHAT OTHERS MAY BE THINKING OF YOUR BODY.
This is hard, but know that you can’t control what others think. You just can’t, and trying to do so will only bring you farther away from yourself.
Also keep in mind that if someone else is “concerned” with your body, it’s more about their personal insecurities and biases than about you. What you can do is live out your life in a way that feels good for you.
5. YOU ARE CONCERNED WITH WHAT YOUR PARTNER THINKS ABOUT YOUR BODY.
This is similar to above, but with another level of depth and complexity. However, would you really want to be with someone who only loved and appreciated you for what your body looks like? Is that truly what you want in a partnership?
Can you talk to your person and explain what you are feeling and what you might need to move through this? Communication is so key in this situation.
What’s helpful is to remember that everyone has insecurities about their bodies in some capacity. Everyone.
We all share a common humanity in this experience. If your best friend or sister was struggling too, what would you say to them? This is how you’ll want to practice talking to yourself too.
You don’t have to love, or even like, every inch of your body. But you can choose to respect it, and fully participate in the things that make you happy –
No matter what your shape or size.
Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: EKATERINA MOLCHANOVA
Rose Mattson, MS, RD is a private practice dietitian who runs a Salt Lake City-based nutrition practice, through which she sees clients both locally and virtually. Specializing in Intuitive Eating, sports nutrition, and digestive disorders, Rose’s mission is to help people find satisfaction and joy in eating all foods, without unnecessary restriction or deprivation. When she’s not working, you can find her outside in the mountains, at the local farmer’s market, or scoping out the most delicious meals in the area.