Summer is almost here, and after months of hiding under protective layers, many of us feel anxious about getting half-naked on the beach. The summer months are, above all, an opportunity to flaunt your “bikini body”, right? Wrong.
If you’re not one of those people who actually achieved your fitness goals for Beach 2014, that’s okay. As a matter of fact, you’re probably better off.
It’s probably not exactly news that dieting is often a precursor to eating disorders. The National Eating Disorders Association reports that “35% of ‘normal dieters’ progress to pathological dieting and that 20-25% of those individuals develop eating disorders”. Furthermore, the exercise compulsion behaviors are becoming a huge problem. And it’s no wonder, seeing as fitness and weight loss is such a large part of our culture. We’re incessantly judged by our appearance and we’re so afraid of body fat we’re prepared to do whatever it takes to be able to flaunt that bikini body. Anything is better than having fat on your tummy, and we’re not even noticing we’re going too far. Pathological dieting is so normal, no one notices the disordered eating.
The Skinny on Fitness Stress
If we fail to adhere to the fitness norm and have the courage to actually enjoy our bodies instead of using them as something to be shown off, there’s a feeling we’re not welcome on the beach. Well, we are. Whether you are big or small, puffy or fit, you have as much right to the beach as anyone. And honestly – would you really have more fun this summer if you were fitter? I don’t think so. Actually, I think you’d feel more restricted, always worrying about what to eat or not to eat. Especially if you’ve been down this road before.
Focus on the Fun
There’s this expression I just love. “How to have a bikini body? Put on a bikini.” Simple as that. Some of us are thin and fit, some of us have a little fat. Some of us have a lot of fat. So what? Are you brave for going to the beach in a bikini, if I don’t have the “perfect body”? It’s just clothing. In that case, I’m brave for putting on a rain coat when it rains. It’s still clothing. A bikini is two pieces of fabric. Why is there so much pride, and still so much shame in those small pieces of fabric?
Enjoy this summer. Enjoy the beach, warm evenings and ice cream. Enjoy barbecuing, bicycling and hiking. Eat well, exercise – take care of yourself. Do it without feeling ashamed of your body. I bet you’re already healthy, and you don’t really need the abs to prove it.