And here it comes again… the time where we ditch the chips and ice cream and start a month-long diet and workout routine to get our bodies in shape for the summer. With this, comes anxiety, embarrassment, and distorted versions of beauty and health from largely edited pictures that are plastered on our social media feeds and magazines. But there is no one-size-fits-all for the summer, or any time of year for that matter, and everyone’s ‘bikini body’ will look completely different. And guess what? That is completely okay.
For decades we, especially women, have been told to look our best for the summer and lose all of the extra (wonderful) pounds that helped us get through the many cold months. But the ‘bikini body’ is just a figment of someone’s imagination that only one body type is suitable for the summer and there’s no need to perpetuate this negativity. Instead, let’s learn how to love and embrace our bodies all year long by eating healthy, doing the right amount of exercise for our bodies, and using supplements to enhance our body’s natural tendencies.
First things first, you have to figure out what works best for your body, everyone is vastly different. Because of this, everyone’s eating and fitness routines look a little different, and again this is completely okay, in fact, it is encouraged. There truly is no one-size-fits-all plan and all of our bodies need different workouts, nutrients, and care. To begin this journey, try these three things that you can do today to find out what works best for you and your body:
Try different workouts
Some bodies require less cardio exercise than others. For example, as someone with a petite figure and a visible bone structure, I have a difficult time keeping weight on and tend to focus on workouts that use multiple joints and muscle groups, such as weighted squats. For others, cardio may help you to feel your best! Trying out a few different types of workouts or even talking to a professional will help you get the most out of your workout while feeling so great afterwards.
Focus on nutrition
Just like fitness, every body needs a different meal plan and the best way to figure this out is by listening to your body. After you finish a meal, reflect on how it made you feel and which foods made you feel better or worse than others. Above all, stick to natural, whole foods that are full of amazing nutrients. One of our Red Leaf Ambassadors, Savannah Dysard, is an integrative nutrition coach and founder of Wellness By Sav. Check out some of her delicious, nutrient-packed recipes here.
While testing your nutritional and fitness boundaries, it is crucial to have a journal where you can note your findings. It’s nearly impossible to remember each individual ingredient or workout that your body likes or dislikes, so write it down in a personal space. You can also use this journal to reflect on a deeper level on how exactly these changes are affecting your body and what your body is telling you throughout the process.
Rushing into a new fitness or diet plan just to look like the falsified version of what a ‘bikini body’ is supposed to look like, is not only bad for our bodies but our mental health. There are continuous feelings of anxiety, that we don’t match the girl on an Instagram post or that we’ve lost enough weight to look ‘good’ in a bikini. Once you listen to your body and recognize its wants and needs, you will feel good in your bikini AND your winter coat.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and we wanted to chat about the effects of body dysmorphia on our mental health. If you or someone that you know is struggling with anxiety, depression, an eating disorder, or any other mental health-related issues please call (800) 950 – NAMI or text “NAMI” to 741741. You can also visit/donate to The National Eating Disorder Association here. Thank you ♡.