10 tips for summer body confidence
It’s officially summer! Who doesn’t love the extra long days, the feel of sunshine on our faces, fresh foods and perhaps even a chance of a holiday. All good things right?! But, among the joy there can be a LOT of challenges for those of us on this journey to body acceptance.
During summertime, we get extra bombarded with images of bikini-clad gals and ripped torsos guys (Love Island, anyone?!) Diet talk goes EVEN MORE mental as people feel the pressure to drop a dress size, get 'beach body ready' and get rid of their ‘orange peel’ thighs. Ergh.
At summer, it's vital to keep those healthy boundaries around comments on our bodies.
We’re expected to throw off our clothes, frolic in the waves and reveal our skin to the world carefree, when inside we're often feeling uncomfortable, sweaty, too big, too fat, too hot and secretly wishing for Autumn when we can pull out the chunky knitwear again. Am I right?
And don’t get me started on group holidays with friends and family? Yikes. They can be a minefield for anxiety-inducing comments on your food or weight. I have experienced my own share of insidious comments, (the worst one, ‘you have such a pretty face’ haunts me to this day) 'harmless' suggestions and unsolicited 'concerns' about my health. In those times when your Mum/Cousin/old school friend/<insert frenermy here> feel that it’s alright to make a comment, I know that you just want the world to swallow you up.
All of these things can really put a dampener on the summer season like a down-pour at the Wimbledon final.
Body confidence and body acceptance come over time. So don't beat yourself up if you're still at the start of your journey. Just keep going.
Here are some tips to help with body confidence this summer and to stay strong in the fight against diet culture and weight bias:
- You have the right to wear what you want. Those feelings of being ‘too fat’ are down to the demons in your head making you feel shit about yourself. You can be happy at any size, seriously. And you can wear whatever the fuck makes you happy. Clothing is an expression of your personality and babe, if they’re making it in your size then damn straight you can wear it! Don’t let anyone make you feel less for wanting to be extra.
- Meet yourself where you're at. Saying that though, please choose clothes that you feel comfortable in. If you don't want to show your arms or belly then you're not a failure for that! You don't have to put a bikini photo on Instagram to be a body-posi warrior. Just be kind to where you're at. Baby steps are the way with all these things!
- You have a right to eat whatever you want and enjoy yourself. This is hella important to remember. And can become a solid mantra amongst the summer body bullshit messages. You have the right to eat, the right to take up space and the right to enjoy yourself. Summer BBQs, overindulging on holidays are part of LIFE. You are allowed to partake in pleasure, in fact, it’s one of the Intuitive eating principles. I know that it’s super hard to let go of those fears that people are making judgements about what you’re eating - but fuck‘em. You know whether you’re eating for your body and it’s none of their god damn business.
- Have a ‘pre-game’ strategy. If you have a holiday coming up or a summer event, then set aside 20 minutes to an hour to strategise about how you’re going to take care of yourself before, during and after. For example, if you're going to the beach what do you need to make yourself feel as confident as you can do? Invest in a new swimsuit, buy a wind -breaker for more privacy on the beach maybe? Buy a fabulous pair of sunglasses. Write a few strong one-liners for when critical comments come up so you don't have to panic in the moment and scramble for something to say if bodies, diets or food choices come up. For example, you could go straight in with simply, ‘Thanks but I’m not discussing that with you’. Or go quick, smart and funny, such as: ‘You do you X, I’ll do me’ Write your script in your voice and practice it
- Stick to your boundaries. You are never obligated to spend time around people who bring you down. If you feel you would like to educate the ignorant folks around you, then explain how you’re rocking this body positivity thing and you would appreciate if they would respect that by reigning in the negativity. If you don't want to hang out in the sun with someone, then don't!
- Tell it like it is. You also totally have the right to articulate your feelings and be unconcerned about how others feel about it. If someone is being insensitive, rude or inappropriate - saying things about what you’re wearing or eating then you 100% have the right to say that you aren’t accepting their shit. This doesn't have to be a huge confrontation, you can say fuck off with a smile.
- Walk away. You do not owe anyone anything and you do not need to make a stand unless you want to. I know, it’s exhausting and quite frankly something you shouldn't have to do at all. Never forget no one else's opinion matters. I always say it, you are multi-dimensional unicorn of a human.
- Don’t forget, you are not your body! Don't waste precious time or energy thinking about how you look through other people's eyes. Comments people make reduce us to obsess about our bodies and this is total BS. Try and stay in the present moment to stop those unhelpful thoughts spiralling. Make a list of all the things the people who love you would say about you and refer to it often. Going to the beach or to the pool is something anyone is entitled to enjoy without fearing other's opinions.
- Remember that this society’s ignorance. Diet culture is everywhere. Often when someone is making a comment it’s about their own insecurities and internalised ideas around health, beauty and food. It’s not about you. (This doesn’t make it right but it can be helpful to remember that this is a war that will take a long time to win).
- Follow positive inspirations. Fill your social feeds with body positive bloggers, non-diet nutritionists and other awesome body acceptance accounts who are embracing the warm weather. These people are getting their skin out and are giving zero fucks about what anyone else thinks. And if they can, so can you! Allow these to help give you strength when you’re feeling on your own. (And detox from anyone who triggers you.)
Summer fabulous doesn't have a size, babe.
The warm weather can be such a joy, but I know too well that there are a LOT of challenges too. Hope these tips are helpful. Why not drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me which resonated most.
Love Harri Rose x