Summer is in full swing and that means beaches, bathing suits and for many, belittling their own body images. As the spring weather warms and they begin to shed their winter clothing, many people worry about that layer, or layers, of excess body fat that have stayed hidden for so many months. They struggle with having to bare their arms, legs or midsections in front of friends and family members. And they begin to degrade themselves and focus in unhealthy ways on achieving an unrealistic body image in order to satisfy their own mental perception of what they should look like.
Thereís absolutely nothing wrong with trying to get fit and healthy, any time of year. But it is not okay to engage in extreme dieting behaviors, negative self-talk, or social isolation because of a poor body image. Instead, take advantage of the summer months to do things that positively affect your sense of self.
Celebrate Summers Harvest with Healthy Eating
You may not be thrilled with your outside appearance, but doing something great for your inside will boost your self-image and improve your health physically and mentally. Take advantage of the many flavors of summer by creating fresh salads and wonderful summer meals that are good for you. Experiment with seasonal fruits and vegetables you have never tried, and fire up that grill. Getting outside will expose you to more sunlight which is a natural mood booster. And grilling eliminates the need for cooking oils and fats that will add calories to your diet. Eating a colorful, delicious summer menu will keep you looking and feeling great!
Spend Time with Friends who Love You on the Inside
Plan a summer vacation with family members or friends who love you unconditionally. Thereís nothing better than spending time with a friend who cares more about your personality than your pant size. Surround yourself with people who lift you up emotionally, not those who compare and criticize your physical attributes. Summer is the perfect time of year to engage in a new, healthy activity. Begin a walking program or start swimming every day with a friend. Not only will you be engaging in something that will improve your body image, you will be motivated to keep moving by an ally with a common goal.
Enhance Your Best Physical Attributes
If you have acne, cellulite, or dislike your hair, you still have many other physical attributes that can be enhanced and shown off during those warm summer months. Treat yourself to a pedicure or manicure. Spend a little time and money on yourself and invest in some retail therapy with some new summer shoes or purses. Or allow yourself to be treated to a beachside day spa. Give yourself something to look forward to this summer by planning a warm weather retreat that is designed to improve the whole you, spirit, mind and body.
Focus on the Inside
When you focus on something, you get more of it. Itís the law of attraction. If you continue to think negatively about your body, you will continue to have those negative thoughts. So make a commitment to get out of your head this summer. Make someone, or something, else, your pet project. Plant a garden and watch it bloom into a glorious display of textures and colors. Your attention will be centered on creating something of beauty. Join a literacy program and help someone learn how to read. I can guarantee you that when that person remembers what you did for them, the last thing they will recall is what your waist size was. Knowing that you are doing something constructive and productive to enhance the lives of others, who may be feeling a little less than thrilled about their own images, will have a monumentally positive effect on the image you have of yourself.
Summer is fleeting. And so is your opportunity to seize it. You can make a difference and do something to improve your sense of self and the lives of others. Or you can count the days until the leaves change and the sweater weather arrives. And donít worry if you make the wrong choice. You get to choose again next spring, and the spring after that, and the spring after thatÖ