How to Release the Toxic ‘Summer Body’ Mindset and Build Body Confidence

body-positivity-beach
Image: courtesy of RODNAE Productions

While there are no quick fixes to heal your relationship with your body image, there are a few things we can do right now to start feeling more confident.

The summer months are upon us, and as the hot weather encroaches, that means we are all wearing a little less clothing and showing a bit more skin. With the past 2 years spent in a global pandemic, along with a healthy dose of collective trauma, perhaps your body is looking a little bit different than it has in the past. Maybe those shorts are a tad bit too snug, your waistline isn’t feeling quite as snatched as it used to be, or perhaps things are just feeling a little softer or rounder than in the past.

It’s not uncommon to start feeling the pressure to get your body “summer ready’’, and it’s easy to start googling for the quickest way to lose 10 pounds. Before you put yourself through any misery, I want to know two things: 

  1. Your body is already summer ready.
  2. Summer is going to get whatever body you are serving. 

The reality is, you don’t need to lose any weight to get ready for summer. You can wear the shorts, the tank tops, the crop tops, the cute skirts, the bikinis, and whatever else you want to wear right now, in the body you have. Although we have all been indoctrinated to believe that our worth is tied to how we look, the reality is that we are all inherently worthy because we exist. The size of our bodies don’t determine how valuable we are, and we don’t need to shrink them to wear the clothes we want—even bikinis. The key to achieving your bikini body is simple—have a body and put on a bikini and voila—your body is a bikini body.

Jaimmy Koroma, a body positive, self-love advocate, is an expert on learning how to embrace and love your body in all of its iterations. As she frequently discusses, she was once obsessed with shrinking her body and making it smaller but what she realized over time was that even at her absolute tiniest, she was still unsatisfied with the reflection she saw in the mirror. As such, she switched from obsessive dieting to embracing the body she has now recognizing that she was already worthy and enough, and she always would be. 

While this may sound good, perhaps you’re wondering how to feel comfortable in the body you currently have, especially if it’s changed over the years. While there are no quick fixes to heal your relationship with your body image—that work takes time and effort—there are a few things we can do right now to start feeling more confident in our bodies. 

Change your perspective 

As much as we all love social media, it can also cause us to fall into the comparison game. It’s really easy to hop on to Instagram or TikTok and start feeling unhappy with our bodies after scrolling through tons of images of people whose bodies aren’t  necessarily reflective of ours. Speaking of this, Koroma says, “It’s all about what we take in visually. Changing who I was following and following a variety of people with different body types and sizes helped me appreciate the beauty in all different types of individuals, which in turn, helped me appreciate the beauty in myself.” 

Dress your body in clothes that fit 

 Nothing is more disheartening than trying to stuff our bodies into clothes that are a size or two too small for us. While it can be tempting to try to hold on to old clothes that no longer fit or squeeze into them even though they are uncomfortable, purchasing clothes that fit our bodies comfortably allows us to feel so much better and more confident in them. Plus, while we’re picking up some new items, we can also lean into our own unique, personal style—whatever it is that makes us feel most sexy and confident. “In the last 3 years, my body has definitely changed. Exploring my sense of fashion and starting to really intentionally figure out what I like has really helped me see beyond my body. It’s been a source of joy, and in actuality, my body is just along for the ride. It’s just an extension of my expression,” states Koroma.

Remember that life is short 

If we have learned nothing else from the past 2 years, it’s that life is short, uncertain, and unpredictable.  Echoing this sentiment, Koroma’s goal is to embrace joy  in the body she has now. “Life is so unexpected and not guaranteed, and I just don’t want to live my life with any regrets. Every time I put on a swimsuit and feel myself starting to worry about how my body looks or what other people are going to think about it, I remind myself that I don’t really care what anyone else thinks. The only person’s whose opinion matters is me. I’m going to enjoy every single moment of this lifetime, and I’m not going to spend my life stressing about how my body looks.”

Yes, summer is officially here. Yes, we are wearing less clothes. Yes, our bodies may have changed. But the truth remains, you don’t need to “get ready.” Refuse to allow societal pressure to affect how you feel about your body. You are a masterpiece. A work of art. You are magic.

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