Hooray for summer coming up… Boo to the body anxiety that can come with it! Between the shorts, swimsuits, and pushes to get a “summer body,” that’s completely understandable. I hope you’ll be gentle with yourself and resist the urge to try to feel better by restricting or dieting. It’s tempting, I know, but won’t help in the long run.
Instead, here are some tips to help you continue working on body acceptance…
Stop body bashing. Talking negatively about your body will only deepen your body shame. I’m not saying you have to start talking positively about your body because I don’t think that always works. Although if you want to try that, cool. But at least stop bashing your body, because that makes you feel worse and, honestly, your body deserves more respect than that, regardless of what it looks like.
Clean out your closet. Donate or sell clothes that don’t fit anymore. Consistently seeing old clothes you wish you could fit into is always going to create negative feelings. If you’re not ready to completely let go of those clothes, at least pack them away out of sight.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is toxic, short and simple. Someone else’s beauty or success has no bearing on your own. And anyway… you don’t have to be beautiful or successful to be a worthy, loveable person.
Focus on other things. It’s ok if you’re not at a place yet where you don’t care what your body looks like. At the same time, you can choose to put your focus and energy into other things. For example, instead of spending 30 minutes changing outfits and picking apart your reflection when you get dressed, commit to putting on only one outfit and then leaving your closet, regardless of how you feel. Remind yourself you have more important things to do and then get distracted in something.
Get support. This can be a tough journey in a culture that gives us 1,000 reasons a day NOT to feel good about ourselves. I suggest following body acceptance accounts on social media, working with a body image coach or therapist. You can connect with someone on our team here.
I know it can be tough to overcome all the body anxiety summer brings up. It can feel like a really vulnerable season since we’re less covered up by clothes. Do your best to tune out all the messages about getting a “bikini body” and losing weight for summer, and remember that you don’t need to have a flawless body to have a fabulous summer.
But you do have to get over the temptation to sit on the sidelines and opt out of all the fun because you’re worried about your appearance.
The good news is, the more you show up, the easier it will get.
I’m Cherie Miller, MS, LPC-S, founder of Nourished Soul Center for Healing and @foodfreedomtherapist on Instagram. We offer therapy and nutrition counseling for chronic dieting as well eating disorders like Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder, Orthorexia, ARFID, and other food issues. As anti-diet professionals, we are passionate about intuitive eating and Health at Every Size philosophies. Contact us here to schedule a therapy or nutrition appointment.