Summer officially begins with the Memorial Day weekend. We look forward to the benefits of summer with longer days, which enable more recreational activities and sunlight that often boosts our mood. Even the workplace seems more relaxed.
For some people, however, the beginning of summer triggers apprehension. It is nerve-wracking for many, especially those with a tendency to scrutinize or negatively judge their bodies. We may worry about how we will look in shorts or a bathing suit and berate ourselves for the extra pounds we may have put on in wintertime. The next thing we know, we are obsessing about finding the perfect weight-loss method. Should it be Keto, eliminating wheat, dairy, sugar, or flour? Or maybe one of the latest weight-loss drugs?
Before racing headlong into the odyssey of dieting, it is helpful to put the season in perspective. Even people who don’t typically deal with overeating often gain seven pounds in the winter. Instead of getting mired in regret about a few extra pounds, we can make the most of the summer—extra sunshine, outdoor activities, and more time due to the longer days. When we redirect our thinking, we will inevitably lose weight because our focus will be on summertime fun.
Four Tips to Take the Focus Off Your Body and Onto the Gifts of Summer
- Embrace the opportunity to move. Summer is a great time to get out that bike, dust off the tennis racket, simply hit the pavement, or walk in the park.
- Wear clothes that make you feel attractive. Take advantage of colorful, light, breezy summer fabrics and buy a few items that fit comfortably and feel good.
- Take advantage of the plentiful fruits and vegetables, including exotic varieties that may not be available at other times of the year. And don’t forget the outdoor grill for both healthy and tasty proteins like fish, chicken, and turkey burgers.
- Find new ways to enjoy the outdoors—many people who overeat tend to use food to fill a sense of emptiness. A trip to the ocean or the mountains can go a long way toward renewing our spirits and restoring a feeling of wholeness.
Remember, summer anxiety can be a catalyst to look at the real issues that drive our unhealthy eating behavior and body-image issues. Exploring deeply-held feelings with a qualified eating disorder counselor can help you get in touch with the reasons for the negative food behavior, find solutions, and start using food to nurture your body. If you address the deeper issues now, when Memorial Day rolls around again, you will be the first one to dive into the pool.