It seems that summer has come early this year, and so has the added pressure to slim down.
With the natural shedding of layers as weather warms, many women are faced with self-consciousness about their body image. Going from being bundled up in the winter and early spring to wearing a bikini at the pool—around people—can be anxiety-inducing for many.
It certainly doesn’t help that most of us are bombarded with messaging in the media about how to get our bikini bodies back and lose weight. Headlines promoting getting your beach body and dropping ten pounds in just a few days don’t contribute to a body positive culture. It’s no surprise that diets have become a multi-billion dollar industry when we’re sold an idealized view of what is acceptable when it comes to how we look, and what is not.
If you’re feeling all the feelings around being in a bathing suit this season, you’re not alone. Research shows that 42 per cent of people are actively trying to lose weight. There are so many other ways to feel good in your body that don’t include restricting and obsessing over what and how much you eat. Ditching diet culture isn’t just an act of self-love, it’s one of taking your power back.
Of course, feeling good in your body is a great feeling—and health and wellness practices that support you in feeling your best are great tools to lean into. However, diets are something to beware of; 97 per cent of diets fail and as many as 65 per cent of dieters regain their weight. Not only do most dieters feel ashamed when their diet doesn’t work, many fall into a cycle of dieting and then regaining their weight. This is because the body isn’t meant to be in prolonged periods of restriction. When this happens, often the mind becomes hyper-focused on food, which manifests as overthinking and obsessing over what you eat. Further, diets can destroy metabolism and lead to body obsession and even eating disorders long term.
While it’s natural for people to feel self-conscious about their bodies at this time of the year, it’s important to remember that there are more gentle approaches to health and wellbeing than dieting. Remember: Being anti-diet doesn’t mean you’re anti-health. It simply means that you are approaching your health and wellbeing in a more balanced, holistic manner where the sole purpose isn’t to shrink your body
Here are a few ways to approach bikini season without crash dieting:
- Move your body daily. What is your favourite way to move your body? Whether you love a HIIT workout or a slow, gentle walk, moving your body is a great way to reduce anxiety, boost confidence, and feel good in your skin.
- Increase your water intake. Most of us are chronically dehydrated. Upping your water intake is a great way to improve digestion, boost metabolism, and increase the function of your body. Aim for 2.7L as women and 3.7L as men
- Eat consistently. One of the best ways to prevent overeating and binge eating is to eat consistently. Whether it’s consistent meals or snacks, organize your food each week to make sure that you have healthy options at-hand.
- Include protein at every meal or snack. This is key to help stabilize blood sugar and keep you feeling full. Just like eating consistently, adding protein to each snack or meal helps to prevent overeating and binge eating.
- Get support. We can’t heal alone. If you’re struggling with your body image with bikini season’s arrival, consider reaching out to a friend, family member, therapist, or joining an online support program, like health coach Erin Treloar’s Raw Beauty Food and Body Reset—a guided 8-week program designed to transform your relationship with food and your body.