I Don't Care About Your Idealized 'Spring Break Bod,' And Neither Should You

I Don't Care About Your Idealized 'Spring Break Bod,' And Neither Should You

Your body is made for more than fulfilling a certain aesthetic.

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.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty / Instagram

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It's Not About What You Wear

Connect with the people you love and everything else will melt away

As a young girl, fashion played a big role in my life. Of course, looking back now, I don’t think I can necessarily call my clothing choices“fashion.” But that never stopped me. I loved dressing up and acting mature, or just dressing down and acting like a complete fool. Whatever I put on, I felt comfortable in. However, that all changed as I began growing up. I started to notice all of the ridiculous standards girls my age were expected to reach: size zero waist, big butt, large breasts, big eyes, small nose, full lips, and long legs. It was overwhelming. My self-esteem that was once so high began to drop further and further down with every little comment or criticism about my body. It got to a point where I began to become convinced that everyone was making fun of my appearance behind my back or at least thinking it. I understand how self-obsessed and narcissistic that may sound, but paranoia really does take over. I pined after the pretty girls I saw on social media with their perfect bodies and fulfilling lives. I was so uncomfortable in my own skin that I dreaded leaving the house. The stress of finding something to wear with the intent of hiding or essentially blurring my body became onerous. I hated looking at myself, feeling embarrassed and angry that I let myself look and feel this way.

As I started my infernal journey through high school, my self-esteem began affecting other elements of my life. I started to blame every negative aspect that occurred towards my weight. My life was turning bleak and my existence was becoming questionable. The infliction of insecurities unfolded into something deeper and darker: depression. I looked back and yearned for the 7-year old that was fearless and worry-free. The 7-year-old who was comfortable in her own skin. I soon got myself stuck in a dark hole so deep, it felt inescapable and suffocating.

As I slowly started to approach my final years of high school, I met a group of people in band class during my junior year. Through multiple classes and countless hours spent together through the band program, we became a close-knit group, almost like a bunch of peas squished together into one small pod. As cliché as this may sound, they changed my entire outlook on the world and even on how I viewed myself. The world was gaining back its vivid colors and the rope was being rolled down into my deep dark chasm. I realized that my life is precious and important. I have meaning and purpose. Something as little as my appearance should have no effect on the achievements I wish to pursue in life. The simple act of surrounding yourself with positive vibes and good people can make a whole lot of a difference. However, it is not only about the people around you. It took me a long time to realize this, but the most imperative and influential addendum is your mindset. After months of controlling my anxiety by spending time with convivial people, I started training my mind. I reminded myself of my importance and the people in my life that cared for me. Although my 7-year old persona is not back and may never return, I learned an even better lesson and have become a new person. I got back my sense of importance and meaning. I now see that such insignificant factors, such as how you look or how you dress, should have no correlation to your success in life. The part of me I once pined for has learned to not look back, but to move on forward and focus on the bigger things in life. It has also learned to work that much harder for the things it truly wants.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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My Diet Is Eating Whatever I Want Whenever I Want

Eat what makes you feel happy and healthy because, in the end, it is your body and nobody else's.

When I was about 15 years old, I became a little too health-obsessed, to the point where I developed an eating disorder. I restricted my calories and ate a low-carb diet. I became extremely underweight and developed other health issues, such as almost being anemic. This was quite a dark time in my life, however, through familial support and a change in mindset, I was able to overcome my anorexia.

After being "cured" of my eating disorder, I still did not have a healthy relationship with food. I saw food as evil, for I believed food would make me fat. I did want to eat but did not want to gain weight. I began looking for different diets that would make me feel satisfied while allowing me to keep my belly flat; I happened to stumble upon the vegan diet. In particular, I stumbled upon Freelee's Youtube channel, in which she advertised the vegan diet as a magical diet in which one could eat as many carbs as one wanted while still remaining lean.

And so, after watching countless of Youtube videos on veganism, I go vegan. I stop eating all animal products, even honey. I was a strict vegan. I would make a lot of my own foods because a lot of foods like granola bars, for example, have dairy or other animal products in them. I am not going to say I hated the vegan diet, or that I ever felt restricted because it was a wonderful experience that I would never take back. I learned that you can make good food without having to use animal products. I was vegan for about a year, and then I stopped.

To be completely honest, I do not know why I stopped being vegan, but I just remember saying I just wanted to eat chicken again.

When I went back to being an omnivore, I noticed I gained a lot of weight and felt uglier and more lethargic. I did not like this feeling of feeling heavier without energy, however, I remained an omnivore.

It was not until I got to college that my diet would again change. In my dining hall, there is a lot of vegan and vegetarian options. When the options are available, it is difficult for me to resists them, since I naturally have a tendency to eat fewer animal products. Currently, I have not been eating meat, and only eat either fish or eggs. However, the majority of the time I eat tofu, fruit, vegetables, and rice. I also don't consume dairy products because they upset my stomach.

I like my new diet, and I used to want to label myself as a "vegan" or as being "dairy-free" however, I don't care about those labels anymore. I eat the foods I like; I eat foods that make me feel happy and healthy.

In addition, I eat whenever I get hungry. If it is midnight and I am studying for an exam, I will go buy some chips and eat them, because I am hungry or I will munch on an apple because I can.

So, that is my diet, my diet is eating the foods I like and eating them at whatever time I want. If you do happen to follow a strict diet, like a vegan diet, I do not shame you for it, I think the vegan diet is a great diet. On the other hand, if you love steak or hamburgers, I do not shame you for that either, at one point in my life, I also ate steak. My point is, eat what makes you feel happy and healthy because, in the end, it is your body and nobody else's.

Cover Image Credit: Lizbeth Ibarra

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