I recently came across a headline in an Australian newspaper stating that the race is ON to shape up for summer.
The ridiculous headline went like this: ‘Shaping up for summer. The race is on to get a beach body’.
I seriously wanted to hit my head on a brick wall.
Let’s be clear, the race is ON for those to get a beach body if they CHOOSE to be running the race. See here for a post about how you always have a choice about whether to be on the ‘wagon’ or not.
Here’s the thing about this so called ‘go to get ready for summer’ bikini body crap that nobody seems to really talk or think about……no one is really doing it just for some beach frolicking under the summer sun fun. The whole idea of getting ‘in shape’ for summer is yet another way the diet industry lures you into dieting (and giving a shite about how your body looks).
So in other words the ‘shaping up for summer campaign’ is just another great excuse for the diet industry to get you re-addicted to dieting.
…..It’s another way for Personal Trainers to boost the number of people in their programs.
…..For books with titles like ‘The Great Aussie Body’, ‘The Ultimate Diet’, and ‘Detox’ and ‘Summer Body’ diet books to start making a sale.
…..And for gym memberships to skyrocket (only to be left empty not long after the sun dies down).
But what triggers this obsession with the bikini/ summer body?
Sure- it’s summer and you know ‘more’ of you will be on public display (which makes MANY people shit scared…and I would know because I used to be the #1 fan of ‘can’t strip me of my layers even in this heat’ club).
However, as much as we are scared, fearful, see summer as the time where our vulnerabilities are played out on our beach towel, the obsession with having a bikini body stems from a desire to control your weight. And furthermore a belief that you can control your weight.
This is the stimulus which triggers the diet –> which then triggers the resulting behaviours (e.g. signing up for the ‘summer body program’, going on ‘x’ fad diet and choosing to restrict your food in line with some new (crazy) program your colleague at work has recommended) –> ultimately triggers you to restrict your food (AND your life) –> results in ‘falling off the wagon’ sooner or later (which for many of us- here’s the reality- looks like emotional eating…more on this to COME!).
In summary: You can’t control your weight. Even another program marketed with new words like ‘summer body’ don’t work.
But don’t just take this from me. I happened to ask clients and friends:
Q: “Why would you consider enrolling in a summer body diet program?”.
A: Invariably… “I’m afraid of gaining weight for summer. I want to look good in a bikini for the beach/ holiday etc”
The fear of gaining weight controls us and it is especially ramped up over summer.
So again, the fear of weight gain makes us think that we don’t have a choice about how we look after our body.
Being thin is the only way to survive. It’s the only option. (blah!).
When you let yourself be controlled by your fear of gaining weight, because you believe that life just won’t be as good otherwise/ you won’t survive/ it’s too scary/ it’s the only option dammit!….that’s when the urgency to sign up for a 6 week program, a new diet, a new clean eating cookbook and beach body boot camps ramps up.
And all the while to get the body you ‘hoped for’ you:
….Can’t help but to judge every bit of food that passes your lips
….Obsess about your food
….Spend half your life googling paleo, raw vegan and sugar free recipes
….Restrict and shame whole food groups
….Flog your body at the gym
….You wind up wondering when you will feel the ‘glow’ you thought you’d feel
Is body acceptance something you are willing to work on? What are you willing to let go of so you can approach times like summer without starting to freak the hell out?
If you’re ready to take action and start to actively work on changing the way you feel and experience your body then I would love to help you out. See here for ways which you can work with me.
If you know someone freaking out about summer and who needs a reminder that the diet isn’t really worth their while, send them or share this post. If you like what you read and want to hear more form me exclusively (in other words content I don’t share anywhere else) then pop your details into the form below.