By Andrea Holwegner, Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc.
Summer is fast approaching! And if you haven’t yet thought of it yourself, some media advertisement or well-meaning co-worker is sure to remind you that “bikini season is upon us.” While you may feel like the bikini blues is a battle that you fight alone, it’s not – even celebrities and super-models struggle with poor body image (although lucky for them, they have access to photo editing and air brushing techniques that the rest of us do not!)
While it is tempting to use this time for crash dieting, restricting, depriving, or any of those other negative methods used in an attempt to shed pounds quickly, it’s unlikely that you will gain a lot of happiness from this. If you were 5 or 10 pounds lighter, would your job be more satisfying or less stressful? Would your friends love you more? Would your financial struggles be resolved? Would the daily household chores you despise magically disappear? The truth is, losing a few pounds can have an impact on your health and energy levels if you are overweight, but it won’t make all your problems go away. And it is crucial that this weight be lost in a healthy manner that will not pose more of a health risk to your body.
While losing weight can boost your self-esteem, it’s truly more rewarding to make peace with your body at any size. Instead focus on eating and exercising for health and enjoyment, rather than to meet an arbitrary number on a scale. Consider tossing the scale and focusing on different goals. For example, aim to eat at least five different colors of fruits and vegetables each day, or decide to try a new exotic fruit or vegetable each week. Promise to nourish your body by getting up 5 minutes earlier each day to enjoy a hearty and delicious breakfast. Plan to sign up for some new exercise classes that you would never have thought of trying before, or decide to join a new sports club or team in your neighborhood. When you are racing through the park on your bicycle, or diving for a volleyball on the sand, you’re likely having too much fun to worry about how your thighs or belly are looking. And you’re definitely having more fun than that person sitting on the sidelines who wastes the glorious summer days agonizing over how they look in a bathing suit.