Get Summer Body Ready
Updated: May 22, 2019
What is your summer body goal?
Mine is what I like to call the, “curvy ghost” body.
You know, large boobs, Kardashian ass, and non-existent everywhere else.
You could also call this the, “only available on Instagram” body.
Speaking of Instagram...I had an epiphany recently about the “How to Get a Summer Body” craze. The realization came in two stages. The first was while laying in bed scrolling through Instagram. I follow a “health enthusiast” named Jeannette Ogden, aka shutthekaleup, who responded to a fan’s question about how she gets bikini ready. She said:
Summer’s coming...but what the hell happens in the fall and winter time? Don’t let your lifestyle be dictated by 2-3 months out of the year. Making small changes, understanding your body’s needs and thinking long term rather than a quick “summer bod” fix is much healthier for the mind, body and soul. Work on YOURSELF for YOURSELF all year long.
I read this, and a seed was planted in my brain.
The second stage of my epiphany came while listening to a podcast called “Diet Starts Tomorrow.” Betches Co-Founder Aleen Kuperman said, “Why do people need to have a summer body? Your bikini body is your body in the winter. It’s the same. You’re always in this cycle that you need to prepare.” For some reason her saying that sprouted the seed that Jeannette planted, and made me think...
Summer bods are BS.
I mean...what even is a summer body? In my opinion, it’s getting as skinny or jacked as you can so OTHERS are attracted to the way you look in a swimsuit. It’s less about being healthy, and more about getting positive feedback; which leads us down a path of constant comparison and negative self-talk.
Some of you may be thinking, “Oh, here’s a skinny girl talking about body issues. What does she know?!”
Even as a slimmer woman, I still have insecurities. My body is curvy, but athletic, so people assume staying slim or fit comes easily to me. Even if that were true (which it’s not), it doesn’t erase the fact that I’ve seen the same images as every women around the world has their entire lives.
As a child, I saw retouched images of celebrities on magazine covers and “news” segments about fad diets that triggered me. As an adult, it’s mainly Instagram that’s filled with filters, fillers, and facades. Not even the most body-positive person (again, not me) can go unscathed in this world.
I’ve obsessed over having a bikini-ready body for as long as I can remember, but never thought of it as negative until now. I somehow tricked myself into thinking it was a healthy lifestyle choice when in reality it was often an undercover issue. Although nutrition and well-being are a year-round concern for me, the weeks leading up to summer I push concern into obsession.
The podcast and insta post opened me up to that realization, and caused a floodgate full of summer body memories to open. Here are a few examples...
As a 6th-grader, at the public pool, I bought a Chick-O-Stick instead of a Choco Taco because I didn’t want to look bloated in my swimsuit. I compared myself to the other girls in swimsuits, and wanted to look best. If you only knew what 6th grade Avary looked like...all ghost, no curvy.
During my junior year of high school, I began a party phase where my girlfriends and I went out several nights a week. We’d stay up until 4 a.m. and wake up the next day after noon. Because I was too hungover to work out, I strategically maintained my body by only eating ONE meal a day. Facebook and having older friends played a huge part in wanted to look slimmer than usual.
After college, I moved to Los Angeles where it’s literally summer year-round. Coming from Iowa where I could hide my non-bikini-ready-body in a burlap sack 6 months out of the year, this was a daunting idea. What I ate and how often I ate turned into non-stop concerns because someone could ask to go the beach at any moment. LA is full of models and millionaires, so looking great was always on my mind.
Can you think of any times you pushed yourself pre-summer just to look good in a swimsuit?
My summer body revelations/memories could go on forever...
Behind each one of these stories, is a girl who wanted to look good for others. Not someone who wanted to feel good for themself.
The point here is, the best way to get bikini-ready is to stay aware of how unattainable images and negative self-talk pressure you into ideologies like “the perfect summer body.” Don’t spend 4-weeks stressed out about looking good for OTHER PEOPLE. Instead, focus on what makes YOU feel mentally and physically happy all 52-weeks out of the year. It is important to prioritize health, as long as it’s for the right reasons.
HELPFUL TIP: For all of you Insta-lovers out there, I suggest creating rules for yourself to avoid destructive self-comparison. Here are my social media rules:
Don’t follow anyone who provokes negative thoughts, or portrays a “perfect” life. I avoid celebs/bloggers/influencers who make health and success look easy.
Follow people who both celebrate successes and are transparent about struggles. When I’m interested in a topic, I follow the industry experts because they often share research and tips that keep me grounded in reality.
Share more, and consume less. There are 5 people’s accounts I look at daily, but other than that I try to only log onto Instagram to share, not scroll. I do this because these 5 individuals meet my other two rules, and inspire me to be kinder to myself.
Along with following my social media rules, I’m making a pledge to myself to pay closer attention to the voice in my head to ensure it says, “be healthy” instead of “be a curvy ghost.” The summer body is overrated, but a body-positive mind never goes out of season.