Do You Have a Summer Body?

After an exhausting school year, which somehow whizzed by as fast as the pen ink drying in our notebooks, it’s almost 11 days till summer vacation! Stereotypically, we associate summer with ice cream, travelling, spending time with friends and family, and especially going swimming in the lake or the sea. Or maybe you’ve already beaten everyone to it, and have already started swimming in the lake, experiencing the exhilarating amusement of jumping off the 10 foot platform in Lutry plage! As much as this sounds immensely fun for some people, it may be another’s biggest fear…perhaps maybe from the platform jumping, or the underlying anxiety of showing up to the plage in a swimsuit, feeling completely exposed… the anxiety of our body image. The eyes of others can feel like laser beams, and it’s our insecure selves that are being targeted. And the crazy part is, most of the time this isn’t even true, nobody is actually judging us…but us; it’s our distressed brains echoing this nonsense, saying, “Do I look chubby?”, “Are people judging me right now?”, “Maybe I should’ve hit the gym sooner”, “Do I have a summer body?”. These worries can be like a fly which keeps on buzzing in our ear; and for some it’s hard to kill this fly…this unease.  

So why do we feel like this? Well this could be rooted from what we consume around us. We’ve all been exposed to the notion of what the ‘summer body’ is; via magazines, billboards, social media, and other platforms. Even through our daily route to school, we may see a ‘get fit with us!’, “Get a summer body in only 14 days!” billboards in Flon from a commercial gym trying to wring money out of our pockets. In short, it surrounds us constantly; perpetuating in our minds that the lean, tanned, blonde haired woman, contorting her back and bum in the most uncomfortable positions is what society deems the ‘ideal summer body’. But this is a facade, a false presentation of what real human beings look like. And sometimes, as much as we’ve been told “It’s photoshopped”, “It probably took 100 takes to get that perfect shot”, “They’re models, it’s their job to look like that”, it’s hard to absorb these deflections, and be rational. And that’s completely okay. 

So how can we fix this? For one we must stop comparing ourselves to these unattainable beauty standards. Comparison is a curse, and the media has instilled in our brains that we can’t be content with the body we already have. And frankly it’s a whole lot of crap. So what if you don’t have a defined core like the lady you saw on that one billboard, or you don’t have the rounded hourglass figure you see from that one Instagram model on your explore page. At the end of the day, why should it matter? What difference does it make if you don’t look like these ‘uncanny valley’ people? The features which compose your unique self are still there, and no one should and can take that away from you. So if you want that tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, listen to your body and eat it. Trust me, the satisfaction of devouring that delicious treat will feel far more satisfying than what a digital device expressing a number dictates! Don’t let your body image destroy the simple pleasures of life, and the things that make you happy. There’s so much more to existence than your physical appearance, and more to enjoy for your summer. Don’t let that one completely natural belly roll you may see when sitting down tell you that you don’t look alluring in your bathing suit. Don’t let it be the fly which constantly buzzes in your ear! Ultimately, if you have a body, you surely have a summer body!