In a world booming with social media influencers, most of the body images we see online are tweaked in some way, or are achieved through personal trainers and extreme dieting. The summer months always bring fear and anxiety, as more skin is typically to shown and less clothing is worn. It is also a time many people decide to get into shape and set the tone for the rest of the year. There are many practical and achievable ways to do so, without harming your body or working it past your capacity. Having a healthy mindset is important for evaluating not only what you put into your body, but also the exercise you do.
Spoiler: Every individual body needs different nutrients and has different strength levels. We need to let go of the "perfect" workout routines we see on Pinterest and the various health influencers' ideal dieting plans we long to follow. Instead, as an individual, you should look into the foods that make you feel good and the foods that don't. Dieting is not always the healthiest answer to getting in shape. Sometimes all it takes is eating less sugar or trying to eat more protein. Being too harsh on yourself and limiting your food options to extreme levels will only cause you to dread completing your health journey. Practicing healthy eating habits in the summer will help you figure out what works best for you.
Sometimes the hardest part of wanting to get fit is the motivation to actually begin and follow through. Paying attention to your own body and your own needs is a good place to start. Taking small steps in the summer sets up a routine for the rest of the year as well.
Starting out small is the best way to find a routine that works best for you. In truth, working out isn't always fun. It takes work and energy, while also taking time out of your day. If you work in the summer, it can be even more difficult to make fitness a priority. The most realistic way to go about a routine is to set aside at least 30 minutes a day to do something active. Then add or reduce time as your days go by. If working out bores you, ask a friend to be your workout buddy or go on a bike ride or hike. There are so many ways to stay fit and active in the summer, all it takes is a little intentional time set aside for it. It may also take joining a gym, or a specific fitness class to get you motivated.
Another way to keep up a summer fitness routine is to look for inspiration——not comparison. It is so easy to compare ourselves to other bodies we see on social media. It can also be a huge downer in completing a fitness journey if you are constantly pointing out your flaws and comparing them to pictures you see online. Instead, look up to people who lead inspiring lives and are real online. There is nothing better than actually feeling empowered to work out or eat a healthy meal, rather than degrading yourself and feeling bad about the way you look. Maybe find a fitness youtuber who posts workout videos you enjoy doing, or follow someone's feed who makes good looking and easy to prepare meals.
Most importantly, give yourself cheat days and be kind to yourself. Improvement is not always seen right away in the mirror. Each body shows different results at different rates of time. Whatever you strive for may take months to achieve. But the most important thing to remember is to keep your body healthy and hydrated as you strive for your goals.
The hardest part in developing a healthier mindset is letting go of your expectations. Sometimes this means being okay with certain parts of your body or realizing that some workouts just might not be for you. It takes practice, strength, and mentality to keep up a fitness journey, but it is doable! With the right approach, you can start developing a healthier lifestyle. The summer is the perfect time to start because there are many opportunities to get outside instead of going to a sweaty gym. Set goals that you can actually see yourself completing. Feeling true accomplishment can be the best motivator.