As we break out of the Winter and permanently escape the clutches of the Beast from the East, it's getting warmer, summer is nearing which means I am seeing more "Bikini body in 10 weeks", "15 exercises to give you abs," and "Get your summer body ready" *sh!t. The constant focus on our looks and our physique by mainstream media can definitely have a detrimental impact on mental health.
Magazines and newspapers, even some social media influencers who are pushing quick fix weight loss tips/diet supplements need to stop. It actually makes me so angry to have to be bombarded on my walk to work with constant images of airbrushed and clearly digitally enhanced women selling the latest fat loss tip or fad workout.
There is no place for airbrushing or digitally enhancing women's bodies anymore. It creates unrealistic expectations of what women's bodies should look like. Industries thrive on making the consumers feel bad about themselves and we need to try and break out of this and really be conscious of what we subconsciously or consciously consume in our social media, magazines, TV and online.
Even though we know that most of the photos in magazines have been digitally altered, it still sends us messages that that is what we should look like, especially if we want to be as 'successful' as all the women in the magazines or with thousands of followers on instagram. I'm guilty of editing photos to smooth out my skin or remove a spot in the past, I mean I even played around with cinching my waist in, but now really I don't see the point, I get spots, I have rolls of fat and extra skin, I am a REAL person and I am WAY more than the blemishes on my face or unflattering angles.
According to BEAT 1.2 million people suffer from eating disorders in the UK and this figure is increasing year by year. It's not bluddy surprising given the obsession with Victoria's Secret Models or even the much curvier Kardashians in today's society. We often forget that these people have had a lot of help through plastic surgery or really expensive personal trainers and food diets. They make everything about appearance. Not intelligence or kindness or all the other qualities and attributes people have apart from what they look like.
Something that I have to keep reminding myself is genetics. In the past I have tried to slim down so I could look like the girls in magazines. But our bodies are made completely differently and we have to respect that. No matter how hard people try and diet they will never be able to get the figure of someone else simply because of GENETICS. If you're 5 ft 4 (like me) no matter how much you want it, you will not be able to change your body dimensions to look like Karlie Kloss who is over 6ft!
In addition, when I was at my skinniest I still wasn't happy, I still had feelings of insecurity. We often think that if we lose weight ,our lives will change and we will no longer be jealous or feel inadequate but this is just not the case. Our focus is all wrong, we need to focus on our mental wellbeing first, our feelings of inadequacy and comparison will slowly start to fade away, not all the time but enough to stop wanting to change our bodies to look like others.
There has indeed been a big movement in the industry to use bigger models. While I am absolutely for the success that some larger models are having, such as the gorgeous Ashley Graham, there doesn't really seem to be anything in the middle in mainstream media for people who are neither skinny nor more 'plus size'. Additionally, these women are still airbrushed and digitally enhanced with bigger breasts but a small waist, which again brings the focus onto the physical.
I have recently started to delete my Instagram on days where I am feeling a little bit vulnerable to comparison. Because this happens, there will be days when you are absolutely 'feeling yourself', feeling mighty fine about your body and your life, but some days where you just wake up and it's the complete opposite. It's on the days when you feel vulnerable that you need to look after yourself just that little bit more.
So for once this year, before I go to Bali, I will not be partaking in my usual pre-holiday detox in a desperate attempt to "look good in a bikini" . No that doesn't mean I'm going to stuff my face with junk food (as that's not a form of self love either). It means I'm going to really try and listen to my body and try and feed it what it wants whether that be vegetables and fruit to cake and cookies.
So let's not get sucked into this whole 'Summer Body' phase, let's look after our bodies all the time, not just so we are physically healthy so we can do all the things we love but the mental aspect too. A 'bikini body' won't make us happy if we don't love ourselves or see our worth not just by what size swimsuit we fit into or how many abs we see on our stomachs.