As we move further and further into spring, you’ve no doubt seen the headlines popping up across the web: “10 Steps to Your Summer Body,” “30 Second Abs,” “Celebrity Secrets to a Bikini Body That You’ll Definitely Implement.”
Those magazines, those articles, those writers… They’re all trying to fool you into thinking there’s some sort of secret. Really, what they’re advocating is limiting your portions and exercising when you don’t want to, but so what? They’ve got articles to sell, and they know that you’ll click on it.
Let’s just cut to the chase. Most of us don’t lose that winter weight anyway. But that doesn’t mean we’re unhealthy or unattractive. It just means that we don’t like the way we look in a swimsuit, just like 98 percent of the population.
So, knowing that you likely won’t get the summer body you’ve always wanted, how do you proceed?
Step 1: Realize that Everyone Else Feels the Same Way
When was the last time that you scoured the woman next to you for stretch marks? Or judged someone curvy for wearing a two piece? We’re afraid of being judged, but rarely do we judge others nearly as badly as we do ourselves.
Social media has, without a doubt, worsened our obsessions with body image. We compare ourselves to polished selfies, but we don’t compare others. So judge your own body like you would judge someone else’s: with understanding that you’re not a movie star, you don’t get paid to keep up your physique, and life is better with a few indulgences.
Step 2: Prioritize Happiness
The costs of getting lean are probably more consuming than you think they are. Yeah, we’d all like an effortless beach body, but most people aren’t willing to put the work in for it. And that’s okay! Think about all the good times you’ve had with your friends eating pizza late at night, drinking Long Islands, or having a movie marathon. Should you always do those things? Probably not, but most people would rather have memories like that than look good in a swimsuit.
This isn’t a put-down on fit people. You can be fit and balance the rest of your life, but the truth is that it’s just harder for some than others. If you’re really going to commit to a “bikini body,” ask yourself: what really makes you happy, and what can you give up?
Step 3: Don’t Be Extreme
Okay, so it’s tempting to have this “all or nothing” mentality. Like, you can either look like Gal Gadot or Jabba the Hutt, and there’s no in-between. That’s not the way it works. Both sides of the coin can be hurtful. Fats can be harmful, but some fatty acids are necessary for proper brain development, a process that doesn’t stop until your mid-twenties! Exercise is important, but too much of that can hurt your mental health.
Instead, try to be happy in the middle. It pays off to care about the little things. Work out every once in a while. Drink less soda. Eat more veggies. These are small compromises that are manageable over time. Practice moderation first, and you’ll be a lot happier with your body in the long run.
Look, maybe you don’t have to hate your body all summer; you don’t have to pretend that you always love it either. It’s easier and healthier to practice body acceptance or body neutrality. There will be some days you slay the beach scene, and others when you’re embarrassed to sit down because of tummy rolls. These three steps don’t eliminate either one of these feelings, but they’ll make your summer less turbulent overall.