Spring Break is on the horizon, and with it comes the exodus of college students from their cinder-block dorm rooms to bright and sunny Cancun, parties that go on for days until they all blend together in one drunken blur, and, of course, the awakening of the ever-present demon that returns once a year to feast on vulnerable college girls: the Spring Break Bod.
I would be lying if I told you that I have never fallen victim to the alluring clutches of the Spring Break Bod: an intricately defined, curved-in-all-the-right-places, shrunken-in-all-the-wrong-ones, glowing and bronzed body, all in exchange for just a short period of physical and emotional torture. It's certainly compelling...but why? To rock that new bathing suit in a few Instas and Snaps, only to return to that cycle of self-loathing once your tan starts to fade and your body starts to sink and curve back in all of its old places?
That cycle is the problem of the Spring Break Bod. It's not that you want to look and feel your best in that new bathing suit, but that every year there seems to be an alarm going off in every college girl's head signaling that it's time to distort your body to fit into an unnatural mold so that you may participate in the tradition of Spring Break. The goals of the Spring Break Bod are never long-term — that's why its regime consists of crash-dieting, fasting, and overexercising. It's short-sighted and unsustainable; its very name indicates a starting point and an expiration date. I mean, after all, we don't call it the "Year-Long Bod."
So, no, I don't care about your obsession with the Spring Break Bod, because you clearly don't understand how detrimental it is to your body and the bodies of people around you. I don't care for the way people who are already conventionally thin find humor in captioning photos of them on the beach "going for the 'beached whale look' this year," because those jokes come at the expense of every single person who is heavier than they are. Stop masking your insecurities by reinforcing the existence of ideas like the Spring Break Bod, and start doing something to dismantle the expectations they have come to represent.
Own the skin you're in and don't change it for anyone or for any internalized idea of what beauty is supposed to be. If you want to make healthy lifestyle changes, go for it. But do it because you want to feel better; if you do it for any other reason, you are never going to be satisfied and you're going to torture yourself trying to fit into a mold you are not made to fill.
Be kind to your body and honor the ways it carries you around in the world. Punishing it for not being "in shape" for Spring Break is an insult to all the other ways it has served you, so stop being complicit in the notion that the only function of your body is to fulfill a certain aesthetic.
Self-love and body positivity are lifelong journeys that require constant work. Residing to the idea that you have somehow failed because your body doesn't look a certain way for Spring Break means giving in to the social systems that want you to punish your body. Don't let those unrealistic ideals win — love and respect your body unapologetically, because contrary to what the Spring Break Bod myth tells you, your weight does not define your worthiness to enjoy that beach in Cancun.