Image Credit: summer sun via Duarte SantosBikinis & Bathing Suits, Toning Up, Beaches, Dieting, Friends, Losing Weight, Vacation & Watching What You Eat = Summer Fun! Wait a minute –something about that doesn’t sound fun (or healthy)!
That’s because it’s not. Summer is meant to be a time to enjoy warmer weather by engaging in outdoor activities like swimming, picnics, farmer’s markets, etc. Or perhaps it’s when you take a vacation to refresh your mind, body and spirit after the winter season. That all sounds fun, right? But how many of you know friends, family, or co-workers who ‘prepare’ for Summer by spending extra time at the gym to “tone up”; going on a diet, trying to lose weight, or watching what they eat so that they ‘look good’ in their bathing suit/shorts/summer clothes? Those things aren’t fun, and in fact, the “I’ve got to lose weight before I can enjoy Summer” mentality and subsequent actions can be very dangerous –especially for young kids who model these weight-centered thoughts behaviors.
It is important to understand that even what seems like a ‘simple diet’, can be very dangerous. Dieting can lead to weight cycling. It can wreak havoc on both the body and on the mind. Dieting disrupts metabolisms, weakens immune systems, and often is followed by “rebounding” gaining weight after the diet ends –which can lead to increased dissatisfaction with one’s body, depression, binges, and it can also lead to eating disorders. Negative body comments can lead to similar things, and can especially negatively impact young kids’ self esteem and their body image.
So what can you do to ensure that Summer doesn’t take you and those you care about down the path of unhealthy dieting and engaging in body despair?
You can sign and commit to upholding the “Healthy Summer Pledge”. It is simple but it is effective and it just might help you have one of the healthiest and most fun Summer’s yet. With younger and younger kids suffering from body image and eating disorders, isn’t it time we all commit to changing the way that society dictates ‘beautiful’? It is time to embrace all shapes, sizes, and teach ourselves, and future generations that: Health Comes in Every Size and Beauty is Not Defined by What You Weigh.
I, _____________________ (insert your name there) choose to refuse to diet, tone up, lose weight, etc. in preparation for Summer! And I ask my friends to join with me.
I choose to encourage myself and my friends to embrace our natural shape and size.
I choose to encourage myself and my friends to say only kind things about our bodies.
I choose to encourage myself and my friends to not spend time comparing our bodies to others.
I choose to encourage myself and my friends to stop and get help if any of us are engaging in behaviors like dieting for Summer or working out extra, as these are behaviors that can lead to disordered eating and eating disorders.
I choose to encourage myself and my friends to stop and get help if any of us are restricting what we eat in exchange for “drinking” our calories (alcohol)
I choose to encourage myself and my friends, especially young kids, to make self care, relaxation, and speaking kindly towards my & others’ bodies a priority this Summer.
And lastly: I choose to encourage myself and my friends to ban together in health and wisdom and not fall victim to the diet-mentality that plagues millions of Americans. I choose to love my body and recognize that My Body Is Beautiful Because it is Alive!
The Gail R. Schoenbach F.R.E.E.D. Foundation and created the “Summer Health Pledge 2012!” as way to encourage young women & men to choose better than a ‘quick-fix’ preparation (ie: diet/weight-loss/tone-up) for summer and rather, enjoy a summer focused on fun, health and relaxation!”
* Please pass this on, print it out, and sign it! Take it with you, post it on your mirror to remind yourself and others that this summer you will choose HEALTH!