Truths to Set You Free From Unrealistic Summer Body Expectations
Summer is around the corner and, while we wish marketing campaigns were more focused on upcoming organic produce and awesome hiking trails, it’s not often the case.
Summer in the USA means magazines racks displaying tanned, overly photoshopped men and women at the beach and with very little clothing. Bikini commercials advertise tiny models dancing around in the sand or hanging out with other skinny friends (who are not you). Summer can be a time of self-shame, frustration with our bodies, and unhealthy eating and/or fitness habits. I need a few more cardio sessions, we say. I can’t eat anything at the summer BBQ, we tell ourselves. Can it just be legging season already? we plead.
Dear Vukoo tribe, please stop. Stop with the negative self-talk and fear over bikini season. Stop with the binge cardio and #summerbody plans. Wanting to look good is one thing. Sacrificing your internal and mental health for an unsustainable physical goal is something entirely different.
So, to help those of you who may be feeling anxious about shorts and swimsuits and warmer days, here are some truths:
Step Off the Scale and Look Inward
Health can often be overshadowed by killer abs, toned legs, and skinny waists. Marketing campaigns, Instagram accounts, and media portray “healthy” as “skinny (or ripped)” - which is not entirely true. Health is a long-term, internal and external transformation. While working toward your ideal body is not a negative goal, it should not be the only one. Eating real, healthy food, getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, and taking care of your soul are all a part of what it means to live a healthy lifestyle.
Say No to “Cheat-Days”
As mentioned above, health goals are not and should not be short-term. Terms like “cheat-days” can mess with your mental state and cause binging or dangerous eating habits because you are creating a diet plan that is not sustainable. Eating in moderation and until you are full, as well as fueling your body with real, organic foods, are sustainable practices that will contribute to a long-term healthy lifestyle.
We love the gym. With so many amazing facilities, classes, resources, and more, the gym is a great place to exercise your body and work toward your fitness goals. Sometimes though, the gym can become a place of comparison and negative self-talk. We may not be seeing physical results as quickly as other members and begin talking down to ourselves or envying others. This is why we love Colorado and the many outdoor physical activities it offers. Exercising outside has been proven to improve mental health and researchers have discovered that just five minutes of exercise in a green space can improve mood and self-esteem.
Most of all, remember that life is short and you are beautiful. Health and fitness goals are a great thing, but they should never make you feel anxious or less than amazing. Start this summer by loving yourself and your body, right where it is. Love yourself by getting outside and eating delicious, organic veggies. Love yourself by staying hydrated and protecting your skin from too much sun. Love yourself by hanging with friends and family and exploring the mountains. Love yourself by speaking positive words over your mind, body, and soul.