Many of us feel pressure around this time of year, especially when the seasons change and it starts to get a bit warmer outside, to be in perfect shape. Due to the pressure, whether it’s caused from social media or tv shows, anxiety about having a ‘beach body’ ensues. Luckily, we spoke to a nutrition therapist at Breathe Life Healing Center, Ashley Lytwyn, RDN, about how to get over feeling nervous and how to not panic. First and foremost, Lytwyn explains that mindset is everything. “Try to stop yourself from thinking about the short-term, quick fix and consider what the long-term, sustainable changes might be. Anytime we set ourselves up for a quick fix, it usually backfires and leaves us feeling frustrated and hopeless, or can make us feel like we’ve failed and that we’re ultimately not where we want to be. Set one small goal and when you’ve created consistency with that, add in another small goal, rather than a huge overhaul all at once.”
Once you’re in the right mindset, Lytwyn explains, it is important to stop giving into fad diets so easily. Just because you see someone with a great body get to that weight from a fast weight loss program, does not mean it is healthy. “The Keto diet, intermittent fasting, very low carb diets, and no sugar diets,” she explains, are harmful to your health. “Most of these diets cut out food groups that will lead to deprivation-led-binges. Rather than cutting things out, think, ‘What can I add in to create more nutritional balance?’ For instance, can I create more balanced snacks around fruits and vegetables like carrots, hummus, whole grain crackers, or a piece of whole wheat bread with peanut butter and a banana?”
Incorporating fitness into your daily routine should never feel like a chore and should be something you genuinely like to do, because it ultimately makes you feel good. If you don’t feel that your exercise is coming from a healthy place, Lytwyn suggests, “Write down three activities that you love to do. Maybe it doesn’t look like traditional hours in the gym. Is it playing club volleyball, rollerblading, or going for a hike? Any type of movement is acceptable and incorporating things that you love will be easier to incorporate. Plus, you will more likely be able to stick to the incorporated fitness activities, if you are looking forward to them and enjoying them.”
Most importantly, though, Lytwyn states, overcoming the pressures of being “beach body ready” is ultimately realizing that you do not have to be “ready” for anything. “As the months get warmer and friends and family are ramping up for beach days, summer vacations, and BBQs, remind yourself of the purpose of these events. They are not to ‘look perfect’. They are an opportunity to be surrounded by loved ones in the months of beautiful weather. The pressure is derived from diet culture which is ultimately trying to sell us a new product, a supplement, or a gimicky way to live a better life. It is easy to forget that simply being with friends and family IS the better way of life, and you don’t have to change who you are to enjoy this,” Lytwyn shared.