By Rajbinder Grewal
While summer days may turn to back-to-school, there seems to be no ending the pressure to keep that summer body. It can still be seen in messages sent by magazine headlines and social media articles that our bodies need a tune-up specifically for the season. As soon as the new year is rung in, there is a not-so-subtle pressure to start shaping up for your next beach vacation. We are told that we need to be thinner, more toned, to erase the cellulite from our thighs so we can wear the shorts and to eliminate the flabby arms so we can confidently wear all the tank tops. Apparently, we must be ‘summer body’ ready all year long. But not this year. This year we enjoy summer on our own terms, without falling to the pressures of this ‘summer body’ campaign, and here’s how:
- Re-define ”summer body”: For starters, we need a new definition of what a summer body is. Are you ready for it? Here it is: “ it’s summertime and you have a body.” Yay – I’m set, I’ve got that already! We all already have what we need! We’ve always had what we needed.
- Change your focus: This season it’s time to change the focus from what our bodies look like to what our bodies can do. Because frankly they are already pretty darn awesome and it’s time to honour their strength and beauty. Our bodies have given birth, survived sleep deprivation, worked 12-hour gruelling shifts, have fought back from illness, have healed from injuries and wounds. Our bodies are strong, capable, resilient and beautiful.
- Put the scale away: No seriously. Take your scale and put it in that closet in the basement that you’ve been meaning to reorganize one day. Then shut the door and keep it out of sight. We need to stop wasting valuable moments stepping on a scale, reading a number that either creates a false sense of validation or disappointment. After all, numbers are meant to fluctuate – that’s what I tell my husband when he asks about our bank account balance!
- Invest in yourself: In the warmer months, it’s much harder to hide behind layers of clothing. So find the items of clothing that make you feel good both by the way they fit and by the way they feel. Did you find the softest cotton t-shirt ever that hugs your curves in a way that you find flattering? Great! Then buy it in several colours. The same goes for swimwear. The best investment can be to get professionally fitted by someone who understands different body shapes and can fit the body you have (not the one you hope to have one day.) Find yourself a swimsuit that is flattering and makes you feel confident while wearing it.
- Be Active: Find an activity you love doing. Whether it be running, walking, biking, lifting weights, swimming, yoga – anything that gets you moving that doesn’t feel like an obligation. Then, do that activity for yourself, not because you are trying to shed some pounds or tone up. Make the goal of your activity to just get your adrenaline pumping, to relieve stress and to allow your body to show you what it can do.
So this year we made it our priority to take part in summer and the coming season and fully enjoy it. We are not going to obsess about trying to be our pre-baby weights again or cry over our missing so-called abs that have allegedly vanished, or hide behind our blanket scarves in the middle of a heatwave. Instead, let’s make a pact to embrace the reality of our bodies and honour them rather than trying to get them ready for a single season.
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