While summer is the season of fun in the sun, it can also bring on a great deal of body image issues and insecurities. And the constant messages from the media shouting at us to “get the perfect bikini body” or “slim up for summer” don’t help the matter either.
According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), only one in five women are satisfied with their bodies, and a whopping 47% of 5th-12th grade girls reported the desire to lose weight after flipping through magazines. Not to mention, the season’s focus on pool parties, beach days, crop tops and bathing suits can quickly take a toll on the confidence you have in your own skin.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone! Today on the Vibrant Health blog, we’re sharing 20 simple tips you can try to embrace your body and prioritize self-love this summer.
1. Speak Kindly to Your Body
One of the most common setbacks we face when it comes to stepping into confidence is speaking negatively about their bodies. We are our own harshest critic, and some of the things we’d say about ourselves we’d never dare say to a best friend. Choose to speak kindly to your body, and incorporate tools to help you with this – like positive affirmations, quotes and mantras.
2. Ditch the Diets
While diets are a hot topic, especially during the summer months, they may not work for your body (especially fad diets promising a “quick fix.”) After all, what works for you may not work for your best friend and visa versa.
Instead of focusing on restricting yourself – which can lead to late-night binges, cravings and guilt – try focusing on improving your relationship with food and your body. Living a healthier lifestyle has many components, so instead of obsessing over weight loss or getting thin, focus on getting healthier – mind, body and soul.
3. Choose Nourishing, Seasonal Foods
Now that you’ve let go of the diet mentality a bit, it’s time to fuel your body with nourishing, seasonal foods. This way, instead of focusing on what you need to take out of your diet (deprivation mindset), you can focus on what you want to add in.
Fill your plate with healthy proteins like grilled chicken, fish or legumes, and mix in summer produce items that work for your body, such as berries, mixed greens, cucumbers, tomatoes and green beans.
While you’re busy nourishing your body with vibrant, in-season foods, don’t forget to stay hydrated! Not only is drinking enough water good for you, it can also help reduce bloat (as opposed to other popular summer drinks like sugary sodas and cocktails) and is linked to a healthier gut. Win, win!
5. Step Away from the Scale
While it may be tempting to hop on the scale, we challenge you to take a little break and instead go by how you feel. Are you happy, energized and treating your body with love? Do your clothes fit comfortably? Focus on those wins!
6. Focus on Your Strengths
It can be super easy to pick apart all of the things we don’t like about our bodies. Next time you find yourself spiraling down that path, take a step back and focus on your strengths. What do you love about yourself and your body? What’s your special sauce? Focus your energy on that!
7. Beware of the Comparison Trap
Speaking of going down the body bashing path, you’ll also want to beware of the comparison trap – that is, comparing yourself or your body to others. Know that everyone is experiencing their own struggles, and also be mindful that the perfectly glossy squares you see on social media are just the “highlight reel” of someone else’s life.
8. Hire a Body Confidence Coach
Just like there are career coaches to help you navigate job searching and finding the career of your dreams, there are also health coaches that specialize in body confidence.
Local Connecticut coach Erika Beal is a Body Confidence Coach and Self-Love Activator, helping women “get off the diet roller coaster and make peace with food and their body once and for all.” She offers free 20-minute discovery calls, group coaching and private 1:1 support to help you on your journey to self-love.
9. Be Mindful of the Media You Consume
As you work on developing more self-love for your body, you’ll want to be mindful of the media you consume – social media included!
In fact, this is one of Erika Beal’s top tips as we’re inundated with messages from diet culture literally everywhere. She recommends starting by unfollowing people or pages that make you feel bad about yourself. “And then start filling your newsfeed with people and pages that showcase bodies of all different shapes and sizes and leave you feeling inspired, not unworthy,” Beal suggests.
10.Wear the Bikini (and the Shorts)
This summer, push through your fears and wear the shorts, the bikini or the crop top – even if you feel hesitant at first. Erika Beal says, “I promise that you will find freedom in pushing the edges of your comfort zone. And women will look at you and say, ‘I wish I had her confidence.’” Trust us: no one is judging you and if they are, that’s their issue to work on.
11. Focus on Activities that Bring You Joy
Summer is so much more than food and body image. Instead of focusing on what you’ll look like in a bathing suit, shift your focus toward the seasonal activities that bring you the most joy – like BBQs, beach parties and dining al fresco. And thoroughly soak up the experience!
12. Try a Body Confidence Meditation
If you’re struggling with the mindset piece, you may want to look toward meditation. Not only is meditation a wonderful way to unplug and slow down, but studies show it may reduce feelings of anxiety. Give this free guided meditation from Headspace a go to boost your self-confidence!
13. Incorporate Movement that Feels Good to You
Many folks feel the need to “shape up” for summer to get that dreamy beach body. Rather than overexerting yourself or exercising in a way that’s not sustainable for you, be sure to incorporate movement that feels good to you – and have fun with it too!
Choose exercises that actually feel good in your body – be it long walks on the beach, yoga, or outdoor bike rides. And if you miss a workout, let it go and move on with your day! Exercise shouldn’t feel like another dreaded task on your “to do” list.
14. Write a Love Letter to Your Body
Last but not least, there’s no better way to show your body some love than by writing yourself a love letter. Spend some time quieting your mind, and then take out your journal or some paper to write a love letter to your body.
If you’re struggling to get started, think about what you appreciate about your body, everything it does for you each day (like getting you through your favorite yoga class), and what makes you unique. This letter is for your eyes only, so try not to judge what comes up for you!
Share how you’re treating your body with love this summer on social by tagging us @VibrantHealth
DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended as a substitute for advice provided by a competent health care professional. You should not use this information in diagnosing or treating a health problem. No claim or opinion in this blog is intended to be, nor should be construed to be, medical advice. If you are now taking any drugs, prescribed or not, or have a medical condition, please consult a competent physician who is aware of herb/drug interactions before taking any herbal supplements. The information presented herein has not been evaluated by the FDA or the Department of Health and is not intended to diagnose, prevent, cure, mitigate or treat any disease or illness.