It's almost here. The season of beaches, bikinis, and BBQs is upon us. And if you're not spending your time getting ready for it, you should question what the hell you're doing with your life.
Everyone else is gearing up for it. You don't want to be left behind, do you? All unprepared and walking around like it's still January.
Get with the program.
Don't you hate this kind of stuff? I know I do. I'm talking about the avalanche of "slim down for summer" programs for sale on the internet these days.
It seems like everyone with a Facebook page or an Instagram account is either selling something or shelling out advice on how to get rid of your dreadful winter fluffiness.
SPOILER ALERT: I'm not one of them.
I've spent most of my life on some kind of diet or weight loss plan and I'm done with it. I now realize that dieting is absolutely dehumanizing and I want no parts of it...even if it's repackaged as a 'lifestyle change'.
So I'm not going to add to the sea of voices screaming "Summer is coming!!! Time to fix your body!!".
Instead I'm giving you 5 things you can do that:
a. won't cost you any money (well, depending on what's in your closet you may have to whip out your AMEX for tip #3)
b. won't make you eat out of little, color-coded containers
c. won't have you spending hours doing 'fat-blasting' workouts
d. can be applied all year round
Essentially, this is an alternative to the usual "lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks!!!!!!!!" hoopla that we're bombarded with every day.
I hope you'll see this as the breath of fresh air I intend for it to be.
Oh! But first, you've got to do the 1-day detox. This will make the rest of the steps a little easier.
ONE DAY DETOX:
Unsubscribe from and unfollow any websites, newsletters, and social media pages that constantly push the idea that you NEED to do something about your body just because the weather is changing and that you're a loser if you don't.
You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
Once you've done that, the detox is over.
Ok, so here are my 5 no-nonsense ways to get ready for summer 2016.
1. Listen to your body. Yes, I know this can be scary as hell if you've been following diets and plans for most of your adult life, but now is a good time to start to trust YOU. Our manipulative diet culture has convinced us that we can't be trusted and that we have to depend on weight loss gurus and experts to tell us what's best. Bullshit.
If you want to walk around carrying a little piece of paper with your meals written out for the rest of your life, be my guest. If not, starting taking the steps to tune into what your body wants and needs.
Practice sitting still and listening in to your body...believe it or not, it's designed to tell you what it wants; you just have to trust it. If you need help with this (and many people do), reach out to a therapist, coach, or non-diet dietician who specializes in intuitive eating.
2. Move in a way that feels good. Exercise is not supposed to be torture. You shouldn't feel beat down after a workout. The extreme fitness culture has been selling the idea that you're not working hard enough if you can still walk when you leave the gym. Find something you love to do, makes you feel good, and is sustainable for more than a week. Burpees schmurpees (unless you love them).
3. Buy and wear clothes that fit your NOW body. Not the body you had last summer or the body you hope to have this summer. Don't try to squeeze into shorts that are a size too small. For goodness sakes, give your crotch a break this year. Here are a few things you can do with clothes that don't fit anymore.
4. Free your mind. We all have a lifetime of learned fat-phobia and weight loss obsession, so deprogramming and reprogramming our brains is essential. It's a daily practice for me. You can start by following non-diet, weight-neutral advocates, listening to podcasts (Food Psych w/Christy Harrison, Life.Unrestricted w/Meret Boxler, and Reclaiming You w/Sarah Vance) reading articles (I highly recommend anything written by Rachel Cole, Hilary and Dana from Be Nourished, and Virgie Tovar). Joining Facebook groups can also give you a supportive community to help you through the process. Virgie, Jessamyn Stanley, Ashleigh Shackleford are my favorite fat acceptance/body acceptance activists who tell the brutal truth about the fat-phobic culture we live in and enjoy their lives without apology. Your perception of fat bodies will change drastically...I promise.
5. Be kind to yourself. Talking about how bad you've been because you had a bagel or you skipped a workout is NOT motivation. Negative self-talk hasn't worked before and it's not going to start working now. Practice kindness and compassion with yourself. If you can't bring yourself to be positive right now, that's ok. Try to be neutral instead. Start off with something like: "Hey, you're awake and breathing and doing your best today". That's it. See how easy that was?
**For best results, practice these at least twice a week, then gradually increase to daily use.**
NOTE: You are a human being, therefore you're not required to be perfect. Do your best.
If you don't take away anything else from this post, I want you to know this:
- You actually DON'T have to slim down for summer. A smaller body is not a requirement for shorts, tanks tops, and flip flops.
- If someone is using your 'flaws and insecurities' to sell you something, run in the other direction.
- There is nothing wrong with you. Nada. You're not broken, so you don't need to be fixed.
Our culture is what needs to be changed, so let's work together on fixing that instead.
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