With spring break winding down and temperatures going up (hopefully!), it won't be long before our insidious diet culture starts bold marketing campaigns all about how to get your body beach or swim suit ready for the summer season ahead.
Next to the national dieting month of January, the up-coming late spring months are the next prime time to hear messages about how your body needs to "be toned (read improved), look it's best for the summer season, or get ready for swimsuits and short shorts."
Here's the thing, the billion dollar diet industry realizes that by this time in the year, you may have forgotten about your New Year's weight loss goals and now you need the reminder (read they need to boost sales for the second half of the year).
That being said, let's take a step back and remember that over 90% of people who start any type of diet, discontinue the diet/restriction within the first 1-2 years. Of those people, 60% will regain any weight lost along with a few extra pounds that weren't there to begin with. Also important to note, this weight cycling is a greater risk factor for being diagnosed with diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers - not to mention creating a mindset ripe for disordered eating, body shame, and potentially an eating disorder.
So, how can we embrace this seasonal change without participating in the "beach body ready" hype? Continue to practice routines of self care, which incidentally, will work wonders for your psyche and physique. Seasonal self care practices for the spring season include;
*Getting enough rest to gain more energy for greater enjoyment with outdoor activities in the increasing warm daylight
*Find water wear that you feel comfortable in be that a 1-piece, two-piece, shorts and Tee, fun ruffle water skirt - whatever feels right for YOU
*Lathering your body in your favorite lotions after bathing to support skin health (my personal fav is anything from Wild Carrots Herbals)
*Finding (and using) a sunscreen that you enjoy
*Staying hydrated to combat sun exposure, a drying climate, or movement in warmer temps
*Enjoying seasonal favorites such as fresh berries (with fresh whipped cream of-course!) brilliant greens, and fresh herbs for anti-oxidant richness important for combating free-radical caused by play in the sun
*Wild salmon (just about to start running in the Pacific Northwest) for a boost of body positive mood enhancing omega-3 fatty acids.
Most importantly, embrace this seasonal change to spend more time doing activities you love and missed during the winter months. The "perfect beach/swimsuit body" is the one who gets out to play, spends time with family and friends. Honestly the ocean waves or lake ripples won't notice or care how toned you are, only that you're there, sharing their space, enjoying their cooling sensations.