In Opinions: How to get the perfect summer body or not…

Illustration by Olivia Madrzyk | The Signal

It’s the season of endless beach trips and bikinis, and it’s also the time of year when we set our fitness goals. So, how do we define a summer body? 

The “perfect summer body” trend is a collection of photos of women and men with unrealistic body goals. Instagram has only reinforced the idea that bodies have to look a certain way in order to be ready for summer. They leave the user with self-doubts about how they look. For me, the ritual was the same: I started training for summer in order to get in shape and stay focused on my goals. 

Soon after, I stopped and reverted back to my old habits. I currently have a gym membership I rarely use. Getting that perfect summer body always had a crash course with high-intensity interval training accompanied by a healthy lifestyle nutrition plan. The calorie counting became too much, and it left me burned out. I couldn’t keep up with it for more than a month at a time. 

In the culture we live in now, body positivity movements have been widely misleading and uplifting to our audience to believe that all women are beautiful. Instead of focusing on how beautiful they are, they are only looking for women who are 5’9” and skinny. The idea of a perfect summer body, created by the media is simply not true. It was created to make people feel like they have to change their bodies in order to fit in a bikini. Simple things like stretch marks, stomach rolls, hip dips, love handles, flappy arms and a slight stomach were seen as problems by the media and dieting industry who slammed people with weight issues.

Having a goal for weight loss is not body positive. No one can get rid of a pound in two hours. You can’t get rid of 10 percent of your body fat in one month. True body positivity means doing something to your body with love. Doing it for yourself is okay if you need to lose weight for various health reasons. The idea that people are ashamed of putting on a bathing suit is just plain wrong. As someone who struggles with body image issues, I can understand why people would be reluctant to do this. It doesn’t matter if your jean size is a size 2 or a size 20, we all have insecurities.

Let people work on their bodies whenever and however they want. You can still be beautiful no matter what. Perfect summer bodies are not realistic. Our bodies are not subjected to seasonal trends. Instead, they are our sanctuaries and safe places. We should treat them with respect and build healthy relationships. 

It’s time to say goodbye to that old friend who always pushed us to the limit. It’s time to start living life with purpose and confidence.