Are you Summer Ready?
I know, it’s a terrible question, isn’t it? Now that summer is here (and especially after the horror show of the last two years) I think a lot of people are feeling the familiar, oppressive dread of needing to get ‘beach body ready’.
If you listen to a large proportion of the media, that’s defined as: lose weight, tone up, remove all your body hair (apart from on your head, that needs to get long and beachy and just the right tone of sunkissed), pedicures, manicures, an even tan (not too pale, not too orange), and you have to be able to look like a Vogue model when you put on a bikini/swimsuit/trunks. Once you’ve done all that, only then are you allowed to grace the public with your appearance.
Hardly realistic, is it? I think that most people rationally know that the images we see in adverts, in the papers, plastered across social media are unrealistic representations the average person, and yet we still torture ourselves for not looking the same. It breaks my heart when I hear my clients and friends saying terrible things about themselves: I heard one person apologising for their ‘bingo wings’ the other day and wanted to simultaneously tell them off for being silly and cuddle them for thinking their body was something to be sorry about.
It may seem easy for me to say that, but I’ve been challenged recently by my own negative self-talk. Due to a recent flare up of fibromyalgia, I haven’t been able to work out. Realising that I’m not the same shape I was a year ago really took me by surprise and I found myself being very self-conscious and self-critical. To combat those negative feelings, I really made an effort to be kind to myself: using positive self-talk, mirror work- working on self-acceptance and loving myself unconditionally. I’m using an app called Mantra that pops up with positive affirmations throughout my day - little reminders to be kind to myself which I love!
Alongside that I’ve been setting achievable goals and making a commitment to doing what I can to exercise a little more to look after my physical and mental health and feel good.
If you could use a bit of a positivity boost – take a look at my tips below!
1. There’s no such thing as ‘beach body ready’
If you have a pulse, then congratulations, you’re beach body ready! If you find yourself being bombarded with images on social media that make you feel bad about yourself, then unfollow, mute or just straight out delete an app, even if it’s only for a short while. Don’t torture yourself with unrealistic expectations: if you take a look around you, you’ll see that bodies of all shapes and sizes are celebrated around the world!
2. Walk, don’t run
I mean, run if you want! But if you’re beating yourself up because you’re not out doing a Parkrun every weekend, stop it right now. There are so many different ways to exercise – the key is to find what works for you and focus on how much you’re enjoying it, not how far you’re pushing yourself. Even mild exercise will release endorphins and automatically make you feel better.
3. Dress to impress (yourself)
To my mind, the key to summer dressing is to find something that makes you feel great. We’re constantly fed articles about ‘dressing for your body type’ and whilst some of them can be helpful (either encouraging you to step out of your comfort zone or introducing you to a great brand), the majority target our insecurities about how we ‘should’ look. Practise silencing that negative voice telling you a certain style won’t suit you – you’ll be amazed at how fantastic you feel when you wear what you want, when you want.
4. You are not a rabbit
While there’s no denying that a good salad is a thing of joy, only eating lettuce leaves in a bid to lose weight for the summer just isn’t healthy. It’s all about balance. If you want to eat a bit more healthily (for your wellbeing rather than for your waistline), there are some great food content creators on Instagram and TikTok sharing recipes that are simple, healthy and delicious – have a look and find a few that you like and get experimenting!
5. Mute your inner critic
When you’re constantly comparing yourself to other people, it can be easy to slip into a negative spiral – after all, as Theodore Roosevelt said, ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’. Be your own cheerleader and practise showing yourself some compassion. Stop focusing on what you see as your negatives and look at how they’re really your strengths. Look in the mirror and stop zeroing in on the things you think you need to change – see yourself how your loved ones see you, with joy and affection!