Summer is most definitely my favorite season, but it’s also my hardest season.
I love the warm weather, the sunshine, reading on the beach, lake life…but summer certainly provides more opportunities for body image triggers considering it’s the season of fewer clothes.
Relapsing in the summer is unfortunately common, but I have some tips that I admittedly follow only 50% of the time. However- when I do follow them, I find a drastic shift in my mindset and focus on Recovery.
Skip the “summer bod”
I know- every single ad, commercial and social media post is practically begging you to lose weight. To shred for summer.
I know giving in and focusing on losing those “extra pounds” won’t get my butt anywhere but back in treatment.
But still, I find myself feeling guilty when I miss a workout and feeling pressured to change my body once it’s warmer. I know for me, the moment I even start to think about body goals, my eating disorder gets so excited and loud. Within seconds my head can be swirling with eating disorders thoughts, it’s so easy to fall back into your behaviors
I try to hold myself accountable by keeping the same workouts I’ve been doing all winter, no need to change it up just because it’s warmer.
I try to do the same with my diet. I don’t need to cut things out or change what I’ve been eating just because I’m about to be in a bathing suit.
This past summer I learned how rad it is to kick back on the lake and have a few beers with friends. Before then, I didn’t drink- too many wasted calories. And drinking in a bathing suit? Forget it.
But now I remind myself just how important being in the moment is. That these moments are more than a six-pack or a perky butt. It’s not worth my mental health.
Find Bathing Suits You’re Comfortable In
Please note- This is fucking hard when you have a body image issue.
For years I avoided all beach trips and bathing suit outings. I look back with such regret. I can’t say I’m strutting around in a tiny bikini but I’m thankfully at a point in recovery where I won’t not go just because I have to wear a bathing suit.
So I try to find a few bathing suits that I like, that I’m excited about & I feel comfortable in. As I said- this is really fucking hard. The other day my best friend pointed out that I’ve bought multiple bathing suits every week for the last 4 months. I then went through the multiple bags of bathing suits that I had ordered and guess what- I hated them all on! Each week I’d order some, like them, and hate them a week later. Order more- repeat process.
What I should do? Keep 3-5 bathing suits that I like the most, return the rest
What Will I Actually Do? Keep all of them and hope that I’m less bloated by the time I have to wear them
Real talk, I still hate wearing bathing suits in public BUT I am now at the point in recovery that I refuse to not go out or hang out just because I have to be in a bathing suit. Instead, I always buy some summer staples like shorts, board shorts, skirts and cover-ups (for the body I currently have, not one when I lose X pounds). That way, if I’m not feeling foxy, I can cover up enough to feel comfortable but still catch a tan!
Keep Your Focus On The Good
Two words: gratitude journal.
When the body image voice is chirping, I find the best way to shut it up is through gratitude. Again- not something I always follow through with BUT when I do, it’s life-changing.
Every day I would free write for 1 minute, listing everything I was grateful for that day. Day after day I built a novel of gratitude and I’m telling you my entire perspective changed.
It’s not necessarily that I learned I to be grateful for my body – yet- but rather that my life is actually pretty good. That things aren’t so bad- which calmed my anxiety- which lessened the body image voice.
Try it, it’s magic I’m telling you.
Keep Your Communication Open With Support
Another one I’ve been really sucking at lately.
Typically, it’s best to just keep it real with your supports. If you know this is a season of struggle for you, let them know you may need more support in the next few months.
If you feel yourself slipping into the summer relapse, say something sooner than later. It’s a lot easier to pull yourself out the sooner you seek help.
It’s also key to work with your team to create a plan to keep you accountable- but also take advantage of the challenge. Maybe work up to an exposure- like wearing your bathing suit to the beach or getting an ice cream in your bathing suit!