This article was written by our writing leader Emily. Get to know our Summer 2018 Leaders here!
It’s summer, and for many, that means a period of heightened insecurity, with worries that you can’t step out to swim without a primed “bikini body.” The need for a flat tummy, a thigh gap, and the elimination of the “muffin top” have become staples of diet advertisements. These qualities have been flaunted as the epitome of skinny, the prerequisites of beauty.
Working toward these ideals alone, fueled by self-hatred, will never be healthy, even if it promotes a better diet and exercise than what you may have been practicing. The truth is, your body won’t always conform to those of your typical supermodels, even if you cut every carb, drink gallons of water, and live on a treadmill. Everyone’s body is different. This reality is why goals born out of comparison and negativity typically fail. When a diet doesn’t work out the way you envisioned, next can come the instinct to give up and turn back to the junk foods you had cut out while in pursuit of someone else’s body. That isn’t healthy either.
The world’s magnified focus on physical appearance alone has equated healthy with skinny. The reality is, you can eat well and exercise and be any size. An end goal of weight loss shouldn’t be the only reason to embrace wellness. So many other benefits accompany lifestyle changes – increased heart health, strength, even an overall increase in happiness on its own, just to name a few. These qualities aren’t readily apparent in the mirror, and if you’ve been making lifestyle changes without seeing the change you want in your body, it can be easy to retreat back to bad habits. Being skinny shouldn’t be your sole motivating factor in living healthily.
The frustration is natural. Sometimes the scale doesn’t budge. That doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong, or that you’re worth any less than another girl who weighs less. Everyone has a summer body and deserves to feel like they belong, whether its’ at the beach or in those high waisted shorts you want so desperately to love. Self-hatred shouldn’t be your driving factor to live well, because despite any results you may get, you can remain plagued by insecurity and dissatisfaction. Instead, let self-love drive you towards a better future. Self-love means you want to exercise and eat healthy for all of its holistic and inherent benefits, not for striving towards an impossible end. The reality is, the journey to a better lifestyle is arduous and requires dedication, which is much harder to obtain when you’re dedicating yourself for the wrong reasons.
How do you practice self-love? Comment below!
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Feature Image Credit: Ayo Ogunseinde via Unsplash