Right now my Instagram feed is flooded with ‘beach body’ plans guaranteeing to rid you of your rolls before you hit the sand this summer. But it’s got me thinking, having an ambition to live a healthy lifestyle (both physically and mentally) shouldn’t be one fuelled by the temperature outside? Sure, there are factors which adapt our way of thinking - as we think about stripping off layers, naturally we want to try and strip off the pounds too. But there are a few reasons why I think the mentality of losing weight for the summer is both an unsustainable and unhealthy way to approach health and fitness.
It focuses on short term results vs. long term lifestyles
The reality is most of the diets are strict, short and will ultimately give you ‘good’ results if you’re compliant because of the nature of their restriction. That being said, the harsh restriction often leads to it being unsustainable, meaning you’re unlikely to make any real ‘lifestyle changes’ which are the changes which will make a difference long term.
It has you chasing a purely aesthetic reward
It creates a mindset in which all you’re focusing on is changing the shape inside that swimsuit. You ignore all of the additional rewards and benefits of living a healthy balanced lifestyle. Yes, looking banging in a bikini is brill, but feeling brill - that’s another thing altogether. We so often see girls with ‘dream bodies’ and think we want to look like them, yet we know so little about how they feel.
“I’m on a diet”
It has you buying into the philosophy that it’s about a ‘plan’ or a ‘diet’ giving the impression it’s short term, a quick fix, a one hit wonder. It should be about a lifestyle, that doesn’t restrict you but instead educates you. It’s about making healthy, sustainable changes to your everyday life that work for you. Because what might be sustainable for someone else might not be for you. Don’t like salad? Don’t eat it. Don’t like weights? Don’t lift them. So often we worry about doing it ‘wrong’ when we don’t realise the only wrong thing we’re doing is trying to conform our unique likes and dislikes and shoehorn them into a cookie cutter lifestyle.
It hangs your motivation on a moment
It has you focusing all your energy on reaching the ‘perfect shape’ by this one moment in time. But what happens when that moment comes and goes? Chances are, you’ll have put back on the pounds by the pool and you’ll have lost most of your motivation to get back on track when the plane hits the tarmac. Smaller ongoing goals that contribute to the bigger picture of a sustainable healthy lifestyle are much more sustainable.
Whilst this post doesn't promise to shed the pounds, hopefully it does shed some light on why I think you’re much better to invest your time into changing your lifestyle as a whole, rather than focusing purely on obtaining a ‘beach body’. That being said, wanting to ‘step things up’ for summer is a perfectly natural and normal reaction, you’re wearing less clothes after all, that doesn’t mean you’re not confident in your own skin, just that you’d like it looking its best.
My advice? Get to the root of why you want to change - find the fuel and feed the fire. That’s your starting point, that’s the basis to work from. Start by analysing this and making sure you’re doing it for the right reasons, not because you want to have thighs like Claire on Instagram. But because you want to feel healthy, happy, strong, sassy, flexible, fast - whatever it is, make sure it’s for you and not anyone else. Then, equip yourself with the tools to get there, long term from sustainable sources with trusted practitioners. There’s no harm in wanting to step things up for the summer, but don’t let that be your only focus. It can spark the fire but you’ve gotta keep it burning.