Whether you're inundated by social media posts or another detox cleanse, it can be challenging not to feel overwhelmed by thoughts of losing weight for the summertime. And no matter if it's the pressure of fitting into a smaller-sized swimsuit or losing weight before that family vacation, you're not alone.
There's nothing that takes away from the joy of summer more than feeling uncomfortable in your own skin. But weight loss isn't always the answer to feeling better.
According to some studies, rapid weight-loss methods can have adverse effects — like regaining weight, negatively influencing your metabolism and an increased risk of developing disordered eating behaviors.
Instead, if you are in a healthy weight range, drop the pressure to lose this summer and replace it with another solution: Preparing your mind for positive thinking. Here's how to practice (and master) it.
There's a principle called self-compassion, marked by expressing gratitude and appreciation for yourself beyond your appearance. One way to practice self-compassion is to talk to yourself the way a good friend would talk to you. It might not be easy today, but it can be a skill you learn over time.
Simply start by acknowledging your admirable attributes, like your efforts, your kindness and the valuable role you hold in your family. This will begin to expand your self-identity beyond your appearance, which can help build the right foundation for changing behaviors slowly — and happily.
Focus on small changes
Fad diets can't outsmart proven science. Fast weight loss usually isn't sustainable. Instead, people who opt for slow and gradual weight loss are more successful in keeping it off long term. Go for changes that are small and simple — like having fun.
Evening walks, playing with the kids or grandkids, or learning new hobbies are all options to getting active this summer that have more to do with enjoying the season, and less to do with fitting into a swimsuit or clothing size. Added bonus? You'll feel better, have a healthier heart and increase your body's natural calorie burn.
When you feel confident, you'll experience an elevated mood and a heightened sense of self-esteem. And according to experts, confidence is even linked to weight-loss success. With the internal belief that you can achieve your goals, you're more likely to do it.
Inner confidence can be developed in numerous ways, like surrounding yourself with encouraging family and friends, daily affirmations and in setting realistic goals for yourself.
Do a social media detox
It should come as no surprise that scrolling through photos on social media is correlated with body dissatisfaction and lower self-esteem.
One study found that observing comments left on appearance-related photos led to greater body dissatisfaction, even when the comments were positive. This could be tied to the concept of body surveillance, or monitoring your body's appearance, rather than the task or activity at hand.
Try cutting back on social media to curb this not-so-helpful source of unattainable body standards. You'll be less tempted to compare yourself to others, while gaining mental freedom to make the healthiest changes for you.
This summer, remember that healthy changes take time, and some of the most important ones aren't related to appearance at all. By focusing on confidence, self-compassion and living your summer to the fullest, you'll realize the greatest foundation to your summer is a healthy, positive mind.