by Lindsey Mazur, RD
Around this time every year, we are bombarded with advertisements, television spots and magazine articles about the newest summer diet so we focus on our weight, working out, and attaining the ‘ultimate beach bod’.
What if we realized that these ads exist to make us unhappy with our bodies, so advertisers can sell us diet products that keep us in a cycle of gaining and losing weight?
But what if we were able to feel good about ourselves right now, be comfortable in our own skin, and take care of our bodies without dieting?
Here are a few ways we can focus on enjoying our summer without worrying about our weight:
1. Don’t Diet!
Did you know that 95% of people who lose weight on a diet, gain all the weight back and usually more? Instead of dieting and feeling ‘hangry’ (hungry+angry), let’s focus on nourishing ourselves regularly and enjoying our food – especially the delicious food that summer brings such as fresh fruit, savory BBQ, locally grown corn on the cob, frozen treats and cold drinks on a patio! When we eat regularly, with a variety of foods including sweets and treats we feel better, have better moods, and have more energy to participate in fun summer activities!
2. Ditch the guilt, enjoy your food!
If you have ever dieted, you have likely experienced some guilt with eating. Whether it’s a crisp summer salad or a yummy frozen dessert, try to savour and enjoy every bite! When we are feeling guilty about eating, the eating experience is not as enjoyable and we are less connected to our bodies-which means we are less likely to recognize our hunger or fullness. You can practice being present and mindful with whatever you are eating and enjoy it-one bite at a time!
3. Move your body for the fun of it!
Moving your body for the fun of it, whether you are enjoying walking, biking, swimming, and even throwing around a frisbee can provide mental and social benefits. Enjoying a solo walk in the park can be a great stress reliever. Outdoor sports or fitness class with friends or family can foster connections and lift our summer spirits!
4. Enjoy summer in the body you have now
It can be hard to feel good about ourselves in a weight-obsessed world however, the truth is, bodies come in all shapes in sizes. No matter our size, we might feel self-conscious and we may avoid certain events or activities because of how we feel about our bodies. By doing so, we could be missing out on the potential for all of the joy and pleasure summer can bring. This self-conscious feeling can be especially heightened when it comes to activities that require a swimsuit. It may be a challenge but hopefully we can all enjoy the summer fun in the bodies we have now so we don’t miss out on opportunities like picnics in the park, biking with friends, outdoor festivals, jumping in the lake, relaxing by local splash pad with the kids and more!
Every BODY deserves to enjoy the pleasures of eating well, movement for the fun of it, and to enjoy life in the bodies they have now!
Lindsey is a Registered Dietitian at Women’s Health Clinic in the Provincial Eating Disorder Prevention and Recovery Program. She recently won a Future Leaders of Manitoba award and is on a mission to let everyone know about Health at Every Size!