For anyone who diets, struggles with their weight, body confidence and relationship with food — SUMMER can cause nothing short of fear and panic. Daily, we’re marketed to with tactics to get that “summer body”, shape up and lose weight SO we can be happy, run on the beach, and have the summer of our lives. It’s no wonder we think if we don’t do those things, we can’t be happy. And as those activities creep closer and closer and we don’t have the body we think we should, we feel stressed, anxious, and I’m willing to bet start making any excuse to get out of going.
One of the most common things I see women going through (and I used to be there myself) is the fear of being around friends and family who haven’t seen us since our weight has changed. We are overwhelmed with fear of judgement or comments and thoughts from loved ones that we’ve “let ourselves go”. More on this in a sec, and I also encourage you if you’re here in this headspace to read my blog post “How to let go of your “old” body and weighing less”.
Food can also be a pressure-cooker situation. Vacations, BBQs, beach days, summer girls nights and date nights all throw us off our routine and therefor, out of “control” — that all-encompassing safety net that most of us lean on and rely on to feel sane. Summer is a big driver of black and white behavior with food. Either we’re on, i.e. sticking to the diet, or we’re off, i.e. it’s a free for all (which causes the guilt, shame, and blame that revs back up the “on”). Can you relate to this madness?
Soon, the beach day doesn’t become about the beach, and water, and sun…but about you not eating that day, feeling too fat to wear your bikini, and paralyzed by what everyone else is going to think of you in that bikini.
And your family BBQ isn’t about hanging and laughing with your family…but about the willpower you’re going to have to have not to eat any of the carbs, workout you’re going to have to do beforehand to earn the calories, and hyper-aware of what your most critical family member is going to have to say about what’s on your plate or your current weight.
These thoughts are suffocating. And steal 100% of our fun. And since we put the exact same pressure on ourselves at the beginning of the year, and holidays, before you know it — it’s the ENTIRE year that your mindset, insecurity, and anxiety about food and your body keeps you isolated, unhappy, and missing out.
What’s going to change? Do you really want to keep going like this? Look around you. There are women of ALL shapes and sizes enjoying their lives and enjoying their summer. That CAN be you too. Is it worth it to keep punishing yourself, just to meet some standard society tells you, you need to meet before you’re content? Before you can be social? Before you can play on the beach and enjoy your vacation? Well, you get to decide. But maybe I can help. Here’s what helps me, and what I know can help you too. My advice isn’t going to be the secrets to losing weight fast to fit in the suit, nope, it starts with you — with your mindset and perspective.
1. Stop obsessively monitoring your weight and food intake
This is a big one. And whether it’s summer or not, I encourage you to consider how often every single day you are clocking what you eat, what you weigh, what your stomach or thighs look like, what you used to weigh vs. what you weigh now, how your clothes fit and how you aren’t happy in the body you’re in now.
Excessive monitoring of these things, not only keeps us obsessed and in a disordered state, but it also blocks us from creating any sort of intuitive relationship with food or positive connection with our body (like how we feel, compassion, and support for our body vs. just what we look like or weigh).
As a reminder — you do not have to “earn” your food, earn your day in your bathing suit, or punish yourself for getting “off track”.
We have to begin to crowd out some of the noise, so we can listen to our own bodies. Are you tracking your food intake, weighing your food and weighing yourself? I want you to ask yourself why? And consider how freeing it may be to let go of some of these things. You will set yourself up for far less for self-hate, negativity, and feeling like you’ve failed.
If you’re not so closely monitoring what you eat and what you weigh, you can begin to celebrate other aspects of yourself — like who you are, what you like doing, and the type of fun and fulfillment you want to create this summer.
There will start to be SPACE for other things besides the desire to eat and weigh less, and only that. (There’s a whole fuller life out there!)
I know it’s scary. But challenge yourself! Here’s why — how many times have you woke up feeling good, then stepped on the scale, not saw what you wanted to see, and it ruins your whole day? How many times have you felt good, then looked at your tracking app and saw you’re already over your calories or macros for the day, and now have to restrict yourself even though you’re still hungry (which is frustrating, and makes you miserable.) These behaviors destroy our mood. They keep us stuck. They keep us unhappy.
Create some space this summer and start day by day by simply listening to your body.
Do not overcomplicate it. Honor hunger, slow down, focus on how you feel (or want to feel) vs. the number on the scale and see how your mood and overall wellbeing begins to shift. It’s with these shifts that you’ll look forward to the events you this summer more and more and more.
2. It’s not about you (it’s about them)
I know how you feel. When I gained 40 pounds post-college I was absolutely terrified to see my friends and family. I was paralyzed by the possible judgment so I found every excuse to say no and stay home from outings.
I wanted to stay home till I “got my body back.”
My desire to get my body back, triggered the next 5 years of debilitating disordered eating and self-hate. And saying no caused me lose close friendships and miss out on being with family.
I literally put my life, joy, and connection on hold. Just because of my body size.
I want you to really hear this: no one is judging you. They’re judging themselves. Anytime someone makes comments about our bodies, weight, or what’s on our plate, they are projecting. If it’s healthy, they may bring you down, because they don’t think they could ever choose the healthy option over the not. If it’s your body, maybe they hate their own, or feel insecure, or uncomfortable and are trying to bring you down, to make themselves feel a little better.
It’s not about you.
And YOU are so much more than your body, weight or food habits.
So embrace these other things. Let em’ shine! Are you funny? A good storyteller? A great listener? Bubbly? Adventurous? Be yourself and relish in it! If you stand in your light vs. your shadow…no one will have ANYTHING to say. Yeah this is what I’m eating! Yeah this is what I look like in my bathing suit! Yeah, I’m not going to let anything stop me and I’m going to have fun! Don’t you like this version of you so much more!? ME TOO.
3. Life is short! Change your perspective and don’t waste another minute
I’ve missed out on so many things because I didn’t like my body, or was scared of eating around other people, or because I didn’t feel good enough or too insecure.
The entire reason I started nutrition with chelsea, and help women make peace with food, is because I don’t want you to miss out like I did for so many years.
In order to overcome these fears we’re having, we have to crowd IN the perspective we want, to crowd out the ick. This is my go-to method in my private coaching practice. It makes it far easier then just not thinking negatively. Because the reality is those negative thoughts exist for a reason. How you grew up, what ingrained in you, society, marketing, social media, ALL OF IT. The best thing you can do to make a shift here, is slowly but surely, focus on something different. Something productive. Something positive. Something in alignment with sure, maybe who you’re not quite ready to be yet, but who you want to be.
Here’s some places to start:
Focus on what you DO like about your body not what you don’t
Focus on what you’re doing and how much fun you’re having vs. what you look like, weigh, or are eating
Focus on how you feel and other aspects of health vs. just the size of your body or number on the scale
Focus on fun summer foods you’re excited about (like grilled veggies and fresh fruits and ice cream) vs. the ones that create so much fear to eat
Get outside and move because it feels amazing and get some sun vs. do cardio in the gym just to burn calories
Alright now I want to hear from you! Was this helpful? Share with me your aha’s! And if you need more support book a free 30 min discovery call with me to discuss 1:1 coaching.