Summer is here and with that comes backyard barbeques, festivals, pool parties, and more. The hot weather means that jeans and sweatshirts are swapped out for shorts, t-shirts, and tank tops to keep cool. Swimsuits are a given whenever you’re going to be near the water.
But with that change in uniform come the anxiety and nerves caused by struggles with body image. Society pressures women to fit into a particular mold, one that is an unrealistic standard of beauty for most. The idea that you need to have a perfect summer body is a harmful belief that hurts millions of women across the country.
Women who battle body dysmorphia and eating disorders are especially vulnerable to the toxic idea of a summer body. These societal beauty standards are the main factors that create insecurities and negative beliefs about body image.
Whether you believe it or not, you already have your summer body. There’s no need to look for an unhealthy crash diet, start exercising compulsively or even hide under layers this summer.
You don’t have to do anything to change the way you look as you head into this summer season. Though it’s far easier said than internalized, there are some things you can do to make sure you have a good summer while keeping your eating disorder and body dysmorphia at bay.
There’s No Such Thing As a “Summer Body”
A summer body doesn’t exist. The concept was created as an essentially unachievable ideal to sell all sorts of products, from clothes to supplements, fitness plans to healthy foods. The less confident you feel, the more you’ll look to outside factors to “fix” it. It’s a terrible approach that some companies use to sell more products.
Look around the next time you’re at the pool or the beach. How many people truly look like the influencers and advertisements you see on your social media feeds? The majority of people make up a wide range of body types and don’t fit that singular mold you’re told to fit.
Once you start to realize and accept that a summer body is a misleading concept, you can begin to free yourself from that societal pressure. Most normal people don’t look like the models you scroll past on Instagram that are used to sell clothing and other products. You don’t need to starve or over-exercise yourself in the pursuit of a false illusion.
Wear Clothes That Are Comfortable For You
Simply knowing the fact that a summer body doesn’t exist doesn’t mean your insecurities will all suddenly melt away. It’s not as simple as telling yourself that you don’t need to meet the unrealistic societal expectations of beauty. If overcoming body dysmorphia were that easy then there wouldn’t be so many people battling those negative thoughts as summer approaches.
As you come to terms with the understanding that you already have a summer body, it’s okay to wear clothes that make you feel comfortable. It’s more important to keep your body dysmorphia and disordered eating behaviors in check than to wear certain types of clothes. You don’t need to wear tank tops and shorts if they leave you feeling exposed and uncomfortable.
Prepare Yourself for Gatherings
Summer gatherings often center around food. Barbecues, dinners with friends, home-cooked meals on backyard patios. People often come together over a meal which can be challenging when you’re in recovery from an eating disorder. Even if your behaviors are manageable, attending these food-focused gatherings can make you feel uneasy.
Prepare yourself ahead of time for gatherings that are centered around food. Don’t let them derail you from the positive habits that got you to the point you’re at. For example, it’s okay to stick to your meal plan while still attending events with friends. If it’s something like a lunch or a potluck, bring your own foods with you that are safe and non-triggering. Your friends would rather have you there with your own food than have you miss the event.
Recruit Your Support System
Recruiting your support system is the best way to keep yourself safe, sane, and centered this summer. You might find times when your body dysmorphia has you trapped in a negative thought spiral. Your support system can include friends and family, your therapist, a recovery group, or even an outpatient treatment program if you need additional support.
Selah House is a treatment facility located in Indiana that works with women who battle body dysmorphia and eating disorders. Our Christian eating disorder treatment program offers residential treatment and day programs for women looking to overcome their disorder.
Through a combination of individualized counseling, group therapy, nutrition coaching, holistic wellness, and more, we provide women with the tools to lay the foundation for a healthy life free from the cycle of their disorders.
Want to learn more about the programs we offer? Reach out to us today through our online contact form or by phone and admissions specialists can help! You never need to battle your condition alone again; Selah House is here.