It’s Time For The Death Of The Never-Ending Summer Body Quest

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What Is A Summer Body?

“Year after year, I hear people talk about ‘getting their summer bodies.’ They want to get their bodies right for the summer. They want to look good as the weather gets warmer. They want their hot girl summer and to live their best lives. The summertime is usually when everyone goes out more. They go to the beach, they go on vacation, they explore, they live it up, because they’re finally able to do the things they couldn’t do because of the cold temperatures. The summertime is a fun, lighthearted, and exciting time of the year. Which all sounds great; I mean, you should absolutely enjoy your summer as much as you can. So, what does summer body have to do with it? What is a summer body? Well, brace yourself, because truthfully, there is nothing fun, lighthearted, or exciting about what summer body really means.

When we think about what a ‘summer body’ is, we all tend to picture a certain body. It’s not just any type of body, it is a certain body type. That body type is usually along the lines of a flat stomach, an hourglass or ‘coke bottle’ body. The very same body some of our favorite celebrities have, certain models have, and the very same body society continuously glamorizes. We see people with this certain body type, and then we think to ourselves, ‘Damn, I wish I looked like that.’ We say this because when we look at those ‘summer bodies’ everyone is talking about, and then we look back at ourselves, we realize we look nothing like that. We may not have a flat stomach, a curvaceous body, flawless skin, and everything else. Therefore, we do not have a ‘summer body.’ Once that realization sets in, we frantically start to do something to change it.

body positivity activist in a white shirt taking a mirror selfie
Courtesy of Lio the Goddess

The Pressure To Create A Summer Body

Like clockwork, we see people ‘preparing their summer bodies’ and then we feel this invisible pressure to do something because we also want to ‘look good for the summer.’ After all, the summertime is the most revealing time of the year. Everyone starts to wear more clothes that reveal our body because of the warmer temperatures. This can cause a lot of anxiety for people who do not feel comfortable in their bodies or otherwise feel they do not have their ‘summer body’ yet. So they start preparing their summer bodies; they hit the gym, they change up their diet, and they try their best to change their appearance as fast as they can to make it in time for the summer. When they don’t achieve that goal, they become incredibly disappointed with themselves.

Dissatisfied with how they look, they blame their bodies for not measuring up fast enough, and they blame themselves for not working hard enough. They realize they won’t be able to wear the clothes they wanted to wear or do certain things in the summer, all because they feel they do not have the right body for it. They become depressed, insecure, and get anxiety at the thought of the summer approaching knowing how their bodies look. When the summer is over, they sit down and say to themselves, ‘Next summer will be our summer; this one wasn’t it.’ It’s a never ending cycle.

body positivity activist in a plaid dress with white undershirt
Courtesy of Lio the Goddess

The Problem With The Summer Body

This is where my grievance with the term ‘summer body’ starts. Summer body insinuates I need to have a certain body type in order to enjoy my summer. When people start to prepare their ‘summer bodies,’ they do this JUST MONTHS before the summer starts. I see everyone put this insane pressure on themselves to lose/gain weight as fast as possible so they can have the ideal body. More often than not, people will resort to doing unhealthy and dangerous diets/workout routines to get their ideal body because, otherwise, if they did it the healthier way, it would take more than just a few months. It might take a year, or possibly more than a year to get to that ideal body.

They don’t even take the time to really sit down and think to themselves, ‘What is this body I’m trying to achieve and why?’ Some of them do not realize the body they’re idealizing anyway may be damn near impossible to achieve because either: A: it’s their natural body, B: they got surgery for it, and it’s not really their responsibility to tell you, or C: it took years for them to gain. Remember, every body is different. Body size and structure is influenced by a number of things that are typically out of our control. With that being said, you may not be able to predict how your body will respond, or how fast or slow it will show results, or if you’ll even get the exact results you’re looking for. So why put that pressure on yourself?

body positivity activist in green fuzzy shirt holding an apple in an orchard
Courtesy of Lio the Goddess

The term ‘summer body’ deceives people and tells them ‘getting your body right’ is about being healthy. When in actuality, the term does not encourage nor promote real health at all. It’s about getting praise and the approval from others you may normally not get because of how you look. It’s about brands, gyms, and diet industries trying to take advantage, because your insecurity is their gain. Another issue is that ‘summer body’ favors thinner bodies and disfavors fat bodies. It tells them they cannot show off their bodies or enjoy their summer because they’re not thin enough to do so. It enforces the idea that their worthiness, desirability, and their value is based on their physical appearance. Which is no shocker, because if there is anything that people do not want you to be, especially during the most revealing time of the year, it’s fat. Let’s also not forget individuals living with disabilities, because summer body certainly does not favor them either.

body positivity activist in green dress with white flowers taking a mirror selfie
Courtesy of Lio the Goddess

We Need To Get Rid Of The Summer Body Ideal

Constantly idealizing other people’s bodies, favoring them over the other, dehumanizing fat individuals or anyone living with a disability… summer body ultimately triggers body image issues, eating disorders, depression and anxiety, fuels fat phobia, and is used as a gimmick to make profit. Summer body is a harmful and toxic term, and we have to either reimagine what it means or stop using it completely.

I know a change like this may take a while to implement in the world, but honestly, it starts with you. Pick an alternative to hating your body. Maybe it’s through practicing body positivity and learning to love your body. Maybe it’s through body neutrality and learning to simply accept and respect your body as a whole. Whatever you feel the most connected to, do that. The relationship you implement with your body is sacred and entirely your own. What’s important here is you’re not beating yourself up. If there’s anything I’ve learned, hating your body is exhausting and taxing on both you and your body. Perhaps it’s time for a change.

So, for the rest of the summer and every summer after this, I’m choosing to enjoy myself. Just enjoy yourself. Seriously, just do whatever you want. Your body is valid. Your existence is valid. It’s summer. You have a body. That’s all you really need.”

body positivity activist in a white swimsuit at the beach
Courtesy of Lio the Goddess

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Lio the Goddess from Massachusetts, USA. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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