During beach season, many of us may start feeling the mental pressure to do something about our bodies as we scroll through our social media feeds. Pictures, videos, posts, and articles suggest an ideal image of a summer body — preferably slim and toned, with tight abs. The weight stigma that comes together with hot weather can negatively affect our mental health and self-confidence, and we may feel frustrated that we haven’t achieved that “perfect summer body” that might let us sparkle in bathing suits.
The truth is, a “beach body” is any body at the beach and we all should be free to enjoy ourselves, all year round, with no pressure. We at Bright Side took a closer look at the reasons why we should stop using phrases like “summer body,” “beach body,” or “bikini body” for good, and here they are.
We don’t need to look a certain way to enjoy summer or any other time in life.
The concept of the “summer body” or “beach body” is a mental trap that can impose unrealistic expectations on us. The idea of the perfect summer look creates an illusion that we need to look a certain way to do certain things, i.e. we need to be thin and toned to put on a bathing suit, go to the beach, and enjoy summertime. When that goal isn’t achieved, it may lead to frustration, anxiety, or even eating disorders. The truth is, if you have a body and a bikini on it, you already have that “bikini body” and it’s perfect enough to go to the beach and enjoy summer to the fullest.
We should put our health first.
Many people can use the feeling of dissatisfaction and body shame that we get because of all that “bikini body” talk to offer us all sorts of dieting or workout plans, but it usually has nothing to do with health. What we need to realize is that we need to take care of our bodies all year round, and our main aim should be becoming healthier and stronger, both physically and mentally — but not looking better on the beach. Realistic and healthy goals — this is what we need instead of body shame and unrealistic beauty standards.
It’s time for us to change the narrative.
Experts suggest that instead of promoting the image of thin beach bodies, we should shift to body-positive thinking. This means appreciating your own body, enjoying dressing it, and realizing your body is already a good body, and it’s perfect enough for everything, including sunbathing on the beach.
Here are some practical things you can do to start thinking positively about your body and fight the “beach body” mentality:
- Trust your body. Be mindful about your eating habits, instead of just sticking to restricting diets. Listen to your body’s food cravings and satisfy them. Find an enjoyable way to do physical exercises and stick to mindful eating, physical activities, and other healthy habits all year round, not just before summer.
- Dress your body with love. Shop for the summer wardrobe of your dreams, put it on, and rock it!
- Filter your social media. You can take a break from scrolling your feed or unfollow accounts that promote unrealistic body standards and urge you to get that “summer body.” Surrounding yourself with people who have a body-positive mindset is also important.
So, please make sure you don’t miss out on any summertime fun this season because of someone else’s opinions.
What do you think about the concept of the “summer body”? Have you ever felt the pressure to change anything about your appearance to “look better” on the beach?