Eat Move Thrive Spokane
It’s here! Beach season. Bathing suit season (sigh). Notice how that makes you feel… also notice how you are talking to yourself.
What are you saying? Is this how you’d talk to your friend or your child about putting on their bathing suit? For me, the idea of having a “beach body” or “summer-ready body” evokes a visceral reaction. I am flooded with worry and wish for the sudden ability to freeze time because this world ugliness is something I don’t want my young kids to see yet. I’m not ready to take on the insecurities and toxic body image BS that diet culture will inevitably cause within them. Can I just shield their little eyes and ears?
The obvious answer is no. The diet, beauty, and even so-called “health” industries are here to plant all the seeds about potential hazards that may get in the way of that ideal summer bod. Chicken skin, strawberry legs, cellulite, stretch marks, veins, body hair, fat rolls, tan lines, chaffing, sweating… I’m sure I’ve missed plenty of others.
If you weren’t worried about strawberry skin on your legs, now you can google this like millions of people and hear about the unrealistic pressure women face to have doll-like smooth skin without the visibility of any pores on their legs. And these ideals are not solely for women. The beauty and body standards across the gender spectrum create seeds of shame in even the youngest bodies, beginning as early as four years old.
So I’m here writing this in a bit of desperation. I wish I could fix this before my seven-year-old comes to me expressing concerns about her looks or questions why someone said something cruel to her when she’s been taught that all bodies are unique and beautiful. But I’m out of time. Those little ears have heard too much already. I need some help. We need a movement.
It’s time for a No-Body-Shame Summer. No more bad-mouthing ourselves about our imperfections. No more Instagram comparisons. No more regret about the body you have today. Let’s be real about body diversity. Let’s celebrate the different bodies we have at the beach this summer in 2022.
Here are some real-life ways to have a No-Body-Shame Summer.
Opt out of talk about major physical transformations (i.e. “Oh my gosh, did you see how great X looks now that she’s lost weight?” or “Yikes, he sure aged over the pandemic!”). I’d suggest we just stop commenting about body size and age in general. Body sizes change and people get older, nuff said!
Don’t talk smack about your own body aloud in front of young ears. They are sponges and don’t need the toxic self-talk. Let’s end the body-shaming cycle that is passed down generation to generation.
Buy a new summer swimsuit/beach attire that makes you feel good about you! Embrace your size and shape and get something that flatters your body as it is. You’ll feel more comfortable in a swimsuit that you fit in, not the one you did years ago. Treat yourself! When you feel more confident in your beach attire, you’ll thrive.
Celebrate by moving your body. Challenge your body, as you’re able, to do something new. Your body won’t look the same at forty as it did as twenty-five. It also will look and feel much different at sixty-five and eighty! So use what you got when you got it! Go on the big hike, book the excursion, sign up for the race, plant the garden, and play baseball with the kids because today you can.
Commit to talking to yourself like you would your best friend. Self-compassion only this summer! Your best friend wouldn’t tell you how old you look or that you are too big to come to the beach. When that negative body-shaming voice sneaks in, remind it, this is a No-Body-Shame Summer, so buh-bye!
After growing up in the Inland Northwest, Monika Jacobson earned her Bachelor’s degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics at Washington State University. She moved to the west side and worked as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in a myriad of settings–from luxury health clubs, to coaching athletes with sports nutrition, to home health clinical nutrition and various start-ups in Seattle-focused scientific wellness and genetics. After moving to Spokane with her family, she created Eat Move Thrive-Spokane because she wanted to transform people’s lives by teaching them how to make healthy food taste good. At Eat Move Thrive-Spokane, Monika teaches adult and kid cooking classes (online and in-person) and coaches clients one-on-one with their wellness goals centered on nutrition. She discusses how stress, sleep, hormones, and overall mental health affect the decisions we make about food.