On All That “Bikini-Ready” and “Get Skinny” Propaganda
Summer is a time designed to bring rest, joy, and memories.
As I reflect back on elementary summers I remember the long breaks, camping trips to the beach with family, extra time I got to spend with friends, sleepovers, the joy I’d feel waking up and having nothing to do, and the excitement that would arise as a fresh brand new school year would approach.
Summer is designed to feel good. I’ve always loved the summer – it’s quite possibly one of my favorite times of year. That said, I’ve also had my fair share of less-than-the-best-ever summers.
I’m sure many of you will relate, but as I entered my high school and college years, my summers began to feel more stressful, anxiety filled, and less flexible. Thanks to dieting, over exercising, and obsessing over my body.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy them. I did. But if I were to reflect on the things I missed out on as fell deeper and deeper into being concerned with calories, the hours I’d spent in the gym that week, and what size pants I wore… Man, those things really add up.
I had nights where I’d miss out on dinner with friends because I hadn’t made it to the gym that day and I was “committed” to my workout schedule – I “had to” fit it in.
There were many mornings where I’d wake up, do a body check in the mirror, and pick myself apart before a beach day with friends. “What will I look like in photos? What can I eat this morning that won’t make my stomach bloat? Should I workout before I go? Or, will that make me bloat too?”
Sometimes, I found myself thinking: “It would probably just be better to stay home and not mess up my progress…”
After too many summers being consumed with how my body looked, how much exercise I could fit in, and what the weight on the scale would say every morning, I finally began to crave a change. I got to a place where I said what the hell.
I don’t want to live like this anymore.
However, I didn’t really know another way. I had no role models who were proof that you could feel good in your body, and say “YES” to all of the things (vacations, BBQ’s, nights with friends) at the same time.
Instead all I saw: everyone on a diet, one way to look in a bikini, and one way to feel confident in your body (to be skinny). I must say, there are MANY more positive role models out there today.
But do you know what I mean? Do you ever feel this way?
I knew I wanted to feel normal and just be kind to myself for once… But HOW? It was almost TOO scary to risk the unknown – “what if I gain weight?” “what if I spiral out of control?” “what if people judge me?”
It took me years to get to where I am now.
What I want to tell you now: There is a different, better way to live. You DON’T need to get caught in all of the diet hype to feel healthy and good in your body.
What if I told you your summer could be more full of joy, you could feel happier, you could eat more of what you want while maintaining a healthy feel-good weight, AND even surround yourself with women who have the same mindset?
Looking back, I learned everything on my own. I read books, experimented, tried different things, and went up and down quite a bit. Sometimes I felt awesome, other times I felt like I had no idea what I was doing and it was scary.
I made ALL of the mistakes you can make and got through to the other side (a totally free and fun relationship with food) – you can trust me to support/guide you to do the same.
Not only have I gotten through it myself, but over the past five-years, I’ve coached hundreds of women to do the same. To eat in a way that rids restriction, calms your mind, and takes the focus AWAY from food.
And when you do that, your body follows. Your body WANTS to feel good.
As most of you know from reading my story, I dieted and restricted to keep my body at an unrealistically-low weight for six years. I felt distracted and generally unsatisfied with my body (no matter how small it got).
Today, as I write, I feel free, normal, and the best I’ve ever felt in my own skin. I’ve grown to love myself. I regularly eat my favorite foods and now in my fifth year of coaching, I’ve been able to help hundreds of women do the same (saying this is the most rewarding part of my job).
Here’s an example of a client who never thought she’d be able to stop dieting, and then finally learned how to look & feel better than ever:
“…I never thought I would get to a place where I’d be able to watch people try new diets and not want to jump on the bandwagon. I never thought I would be able to eat what I want, and not finish the whole package. Some of my favorite foods used to be off limits because I thought “I had no willpower,” but as it turns out, I really didn’t even like many of the foods I had restricted myself from!
Today, I finally feel happy, and my ONLY regret is not starting with Paige sooner. If you are questioning starting health coaching with Paige, just go for it! She is amazing!
Being happy after so many years of being miserable because food took all the power in my life is the greatest feeling in the world. I am in control of my own life and I have Paige to thank for that.”
Do you want to feel how Margot feels?
I know I would have when I was in the midst of my struggles. But, I also know that it would’ve felt out of reach. So, if you’re in that space now, where this IS what you want, BUT it feels out of reach, hang with me… trust me here…
As summer approaches, I bet you’re seeing A LOT of “bikini ready” and “get-skinny” propaganda out there. Right? How do you feel when you see these messages? Like you’re not enough as you are? As if your body isn’t allowed to be seen in a bikini yet?
You guys… do you know the damage this does to our confidence on a subconscious level?
Can you feel in your gut how bad, heavy, and burdensome this feels?
It’s okay to want to feel good in your body and we’ll talk more about that in the next post, but this whole body shaming, you’d-better-diet and get-skinny talk is not helping any of us.
Do you want the perfect recipe to be pre-occupied, self-absorbed, unhappy, distracted, and set up to miss out this summer? Then go on a diet that takes up all your time and thinking-capacity and leaves no room for the joy and freedom you could have instead.
However, if you want a recipe to ENJOY your summer and do something different this year…
Do something for me, for the next three minutes I want you to completely let go of dieting, restriction, and the intense desire to change the way your body looks.
Right now, just for a moment, let ALL of that go.
For the next three minutes, envision that you fully accept yourself. Right now, say to your body: “You deserve to be treated well. You deserve to feel good right now, in this moment. Go ahead body, feel wonderful. You deserve it. You deserve to enjoy every part of this summer, and soak up all of the experiences that are already there waiting for you. How exciting that you don’t even know what they are yet. You have permission, right now, in this moment, to let go of restriction. Instead, welcome abundance. You have permission to live a little more, to let go of the things that don’t bring you joy, and embrace a new way of experiencing yourself. A new way of expressing yourself that allows you to feel fully alive in who you are right now, because who you are is worthy, and fully loved and accepted, right now, in this moment, without changing a thing. You are worth it.”
How does that feel?
Some of you may be thinking… “Gosh, that would feel amazing, but it feels SO out of reach.”
Fear is just excitement on pause. Go with it…
Now, imagine that you could have anything that you wanted. Your summer could look EXACTLY how you hope for. And, you had permission to want anything you want…
What does your ideal summer look like? How do you want to feel? When you visualize yourself full of joy, what are you doing? What are you wearing? What is the expression on your face? Who are you surrounded by? Where are you? What else do you notice?
Does it feel good to visualize?
Tough to actualize?
If your brain is shouting objections at you… they may sound like this:
- I have to diet, otherwise I’ll lose control
- I have no clue how to listen to my body
- I’ll never be able to eat normally
Fear? Objections? That’s okay. Even MORE reason to be thinking about this. You’re in the right place.
Here’s what I want you to ask yourself:
“If I were able to commit to have a different mindset/focus this summer, and everything were to turn out okay, and I was able to come out on the other side of summer saying ‘I enjoyed this summer more than any other,’ would it be worth it for me to let go of the reigns a bit, and have FUN? To embrace who I am, and start living in a way that allows me to soak up the life that is available to me?”
If you answered yes, then any fear you have is just the stuff you have to work through in your way
Fear is excitement on pause.
This week I’ll provide you with a fun summer commitment statement to commit yourself to have a better summer and do things differently!
Until then, make sure that you sign-up for mine & Abby’s free 7-day #MyBestSummerYet2017 challenge where we’re going to help you to intentionally set up and think through YOUR best summer yet.
Remember, the first step in getting what you want is KNOWING what you want!