Updated: Nov 10, 2019
Bikini Body, Beach Body, Summer Shred, Toned in 10.... Do these all sound familiar? Yep, that's because right now, at this time of year, they are everywhere. 'How to look good for the summer' is a hugely lucrative industry, fitness models and influencers make millions selling plans on how you can shed the unwanted pounds and feel and look good for the summer... And we buy into it, every flipping year. Picture this: It's April (or May if you're a slacker like me) and you panic about what you're going to look like in that new Top Shop bikini that was modelled by a skinny teen in the shop window and you tell yourself you have time to lose weight before you go to Magaluf with the girls or Greece with the family. Well, apologies for the blunt approach here; you may not look like her and that's certainly not a bad thing. For one thing, you won't have been airbrushed and ushered and placed into a position that makes everything on her body look like it belongs to a Barbie doll. The second thing is you've hopefully been eating a healthy balanced diet over the past 6 months and when I say balanced I mean veggies, fruit, healthy proteins, wine and cake! Socialising with your friends and family over the weekend has to be done to keep you sane and happy and that should stay the same no matter what month it is.
So why am I writing this blog? Well, I'm sick of these programmes and 'quick fix' diets that are advertised to make people (mainly women but I'm sure the odd man as well) jump head first into a gruelling workout plan—after sitting on the couch all winter— and boring calorie restrictions. This industry has come off the back of society's need to look a certain way. Flat stomach, small waist, lifted buttocks etc but the people who look like that generally make a living out of looking like that. It's not necessarily sustainable for a working mum with three kids, two dogs and a hamster. And that's why we've been sucked into these short 'summer ready' programmes. They make us believe we can look like that bikini model in Top Shop or on Instagram in just 6-10 weeks. And while there is no doubt that while following one of these plans you may lose weight and get fitter but as soon as you go on holiday and sit with your bucket of gin and tonic and platter of nachos every night you will come back from your holiday looking about the same as when you started the plan. So I ask you this? was it worth it?
Now, I'm not saying that all these plans are terrible and bad for you (some are so please be careful. Surviving on lemon water and cayenne pepper has never been healthy for anyone... ever!) And while you might lose weight and feel you look better in your bikini, I am more concerned that it's reinforcing the terrible and unhealthy relationships that so many of us have with our bodies. Who said that in April you didn't already have YOUR perfect bikini body? Why do we feel we have failed when it's taken us longer than Beyonce to get our pre baby body back? Fashion and society have shaped our bodies and placed them into labelled boxes. Some of those boxes are worth more and some worth less but why? Every body has a huge value. Think about what it does for you every day; breathing, walking, protection, rejuvenation and so much more. Everyone is a different shape, everyone has different abilities and we should be proud of these differences.
The above picture was taken of me in 2014. Can you believe I was so self conscious? Hated my body. I was incredibly fit and completely physically able for pretty much anything I wanted to do but hated the way I looked. This is so wrong! Don't you agree? Society and the fitness industry made me feel that way so now I'm fighting back!
While being an advocate for embracing our bodies, I am by no means saying thats it's ok to lounge in front of the TV, eat all the snacks and live on fast food and beer. Live more, move more, be outdoors, love and be loved and stop being your biggest enemy when it comes to how you look!!