Just stop right there.
Yes, it’s that wonderful time of year, the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, the weather is warming and pure dread begins to seep into our bodies. Before we’ve even had a chance to pack up our cosy winter wear or put away our Christmas trees, we are all of a sudden embarking on a new venture: The perfect summer body.
So it begins, we are bombarded with advertisements; ‘the best detox,’ ‘the number one diet,’ fat loss, weight loss and ‘the must have toning tips’ because God forbid you have cellulite or wobbly bits on the beach (you know, those natural things that many healthy bodies have!) I mean the list is endless. People all around are discussing in depth what they must change about themselves before they can even think about a summer holiday, tips are being exchanged on the quickest ways to loose weight and exercise routines are being shared and evaluated for the fastest results.
It’s a painstaking process, involving hours in front of the mirror, poking, prodding and pulling at what you think of as ‘unwanted’ lumps and bumps. Then trawling through the internet in attempt to find the ‘ultimate diet’ which of course is destined for failure right from the word go (why do you think the diet industry is such a big money maker? Because up to 95% of these diets don’t work!) and lets not forget the hunger, misery and obsession with food that come hand in hand with this culture. Sounds great right? I mean who wouldn’t want to spend half the year picking apart their appearance and trying to change all aspects of it? Where do I sign up?
We are stuck in an industry which is feeding us (or not feeding us!) this awful notion that we are not enough as we are; we are not pretty enough, skinny enough, tanned enough and we buy into it. Of course we do. The way we are manipulated on a whole is scary to acknowledge, which is maybe why so many of us choose to ignore it, or maybe we just don’t realise? Do you think that these companies who are pushing products or diets are doing it because they are worried about us? Or do you think they’re doing it to line their pockets with money we have spent on things that are encouraging this hate of ourselves?
‘Americans spend over 60 billion dollars per year trying to shed their ‘excess’ flesh.
-The Religion Of Thinness (Michelle M, Lelwica THD
Now that’s an awful lot of money from an awful lot of people who are desperately seeking an unattainable pot of happiness at the end of an unrealistic rainbow.
I’ve experienced the pain and discomfort myself. I’ve spent countless hours obsessing and worrying, sleepless nights and exhausted days letting this idea of being ‘beach body ready’ take over and ruin my summer months. I missed out on events, I was miserable and anxious on my holidays, I felt embarrassed by my pale skin and little belly rolls and what kills me is that I still feel this way to some extent. I’ve noticed over the last few weeks, that for some reason I can feel that all too familiar, gut wrenching panic. I’ve caught myself comparing my body to other women’s, I’ve lead myself back to believing I’m not beautiful without wash board abs or golden brown skin and I’ve been trying desperately to work out why this is happening, why is this happening to me, who is supposedly recovered? It’s because I’m not giving myself enough credit. This is my first summer or run up to summer where I haven’t been engaging in disordered eating habits. This is my first summer in years where I am being truly and honestly me and it’s terrifying.
But what I’ve come to realise is that it doesn’t matter. Our bodies have always been ready, it’s our mindsets that are not. You don’t need a ‘summer body’ to survive the summer, the body that has carried you through the previous seasons will work just fine. In fact it will work better than fine; carrying you through you new adventures, caring for you and supporting you. A starved and deprived body will not. So lets take a stand, lets stop buying into the poisonous culture that tells us we are not good enough as we are! Lets enjoy the run up to summer, full of happiness and sunshine. Lets kick ‘beach body readiness’ to the curb and rejoice in all the things our bodies are capable of and lets start loving the parts of our bodies that we have been so cruel to previously.
pale skin and belly rolls makes me, me!