Believe Me, Torturing Yourself For The "Perfect Summer Bod" Isn't Worth It
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

Believe Me, Torturing Yourself For The "Perfect Summer Bod" Isn't Worth It

Trying to meet your unrealistic expectations nearly killed me.

Believe Me, Torturing Yourself For The "Perfect Summer Bod" Isn't Worth It

Dear Summer Body,

I remember the first time I saw you plastered on the cover of a magazine. You looked so natural, happy and free. I looked at the contents of the shopping cart as we paid and pulled out the ice cream and cookies— if I wanted to achieve “perfection,” I needed to start working immediately.

After all, summer was only a few months away and if I didn’t have a flat stomach by then, I might as well not wear a swimsuit at all.

Come May, I still couldn’t seem to meet your standards. I’d committed to working out every day, sworn off some of my favorite foods and monitored my weight regularly. I’d bounced from diet to diet, depriving my body of nutrition between sets of crunches and long runs.

The mirror soon evolved into the greatest judge of my worth because if I didn’t look like I was slimming down, I might as well be nothing at all. I hid embarrassed under large tee shirts and baggy dresses, trying to hide what I thought was a disgrace of a body. All I wanted was a flat stomach so I could have the perfect summer body— on the beach, at the gym, year-round.

Fighting for you was a long, draining battle. I spent that first summer starving myself all day if I knew I’d be wearing a swimsuit and holding breath if my friends wanted a group picture. The number on the scale was dropping, but my body never looked like the magazines, No matter how hard I tried, I was never good enough.

I obsessed over you for many, many years, wrecking my body for your unrealistic expectations. No workout regimen, diet or weight was remotely close enough to get that perfect figure, ever.

Nonetheless, I ignored the aches, pains, and pleas from my body to stop torturing it — if I was so committed to getting that beach, and everyday body, I wasn’t going to let up. I thought I was too far in to turn back. I was a slave to your picture-perfect appearance standards for seven years before I was able to let go. And truly, it took a lot to give you up.

I had no intention of turning back on “Operation Summer Body” until I found myself sitting in an eating disorder treatment center being lectured about the health consequences of torturing myself to look like a model on a magazine cover.

I was never happy when I was turning down sweets or running sprints or doing sit ups until I couldn’t keep track anymore — just convinced myself that achieving my perfect version of you would be the ticket to happiness.

To you, I’d like to say thanks for nothing. I cannot believe I wasted so many precious years trying to achieve your stupid standards when I could be happy with the body I have. When I was trying to look like a retouched swimsuit model, I was never so unhappy or insecure. I took the things a strong, nourished body can do for granted and weakened myself for a look that was never meant for me.

Even if I one day were able to get that flat stomach that I thought was a requisite for wearing a bikini, I wouldn’t be able to healthily keep my body in that shape. As a matter of fact, achieving that “summer body” would likely kill me. If not physically, most definitely metaphorically.

Malnourishment and over-exercise suck the life out of you. Seriously, if you’re starving yourself to maintain your figure, what kind of a life would you even have the energy to live?

So, summer body, this is me saying I’m done with you. I’d rather have curves and the strength to live my life and make memories than sacrifice my well-being for the sake of appearance. That’s not to say that I don’t feel insecure at times, but I’d take occasional insecurity and feeling alive over hating myself as I drive myself to a slow death any day.

I don’t have to be perfect to be happy. Despite the lies the media spread, true happiness has nothing to do with how I look. For me, happiness is watching the summer sun set in the sky, puppy kisses, cheering on my school at a football game and helping others.

None of the things that make me smile a genuine smile have to do with the girl staring back at me in the mirror— they have to do with the girl inside. And no matter what, that girl will never change.

In my years dying to have you, I lost a lot, but I learned things too. Because of you, I’m okay with letting go of something that will not serve me. When I see you on magazine covers, I roll my eyes and continue paying for my groceries.

Sure, I find myself glancing at you in line at the store, but I’m never trying to look like an airbrushed model again. My body is imperfectly perfect and fit for any time of year. I’m so glad I let you go. I like being happy way too much to waste time on superficial things.

Catch You Never,

A Girl Who Is Learning To Love Herself Again


Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses and while they may manifest in an appearance-focused struggle, are far more complex than a diet gone wrong. These conditions are both mentally and physically dangerous and best diagnosed and managed by trained professionals. If you or someone you know might be struggling with an eating disorder, please take refer to this brief online screening or visit for more information.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Being a pharmacy technician never held as many risks as it does now. Exposure too hazardous conditions were little to none, and garbing up was only conducted in IV compounding. But, now, in order to give nurses the medications they need to help their patients, they need us, pharmacy technicians.

Keep Reading... Show less

First and foremost, shame on you for encouraging the patriarchy and sexism as you police a female's clothing choices. You cannot control our bodies, but what you can advocate for is public health and safety. This includes demoralizing rape, slut-shaming, and protecting society from illness.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

Keep Reading... Show less

Picture this, we're settling into our date, the conversation is flowing, we're ordering drinks, laughing, and then it happens... the job convo.

Him: "So what do you do?"
Me: "I'm a dating and relationships editor."

Keep Reading... Show less

I've always been a huge Disney villain fan — whether it was for their cryptic one-liners, enviable outfits, or sidekick banter. Some of the most iconic lines from cinematic history have been said by the characters we love to hate and occasionally dress up as once a year.

The fear-mongering Gaston I now find hilariously cringe-worthy is now charming and oftentimes considered by fans as rightfully justified in his actions. Die-hard fans of the Disney villain fan club claim alternate egos in their favorite evil characters, adopting their hilarious witticisms into everyday life.

Keep Reading... Show less

- I have extremely sensitive skin, which is why I have always resorted to a plant-based organic beauty line such as Radha Beauty.

- Radha Beauty won me over years ago when I was looking for organic skincare brands.

- I was so excited to see they launched a new line incorporating USDA organic rosehip oil, so when their PR team sent me some, I could not have been more thrilled.

- After a week of using the products, my face felt as smooth as a baby's, looked more glowy than ever, and even cured some of my summer sunburn.

Radha Beauty isn't just a best-selling beauty brand on Amazon — it's a USDA-certified organic beauty brand I live by, and anyone who knows me knows I am all about holistic wellness.

Typically, it only takes three days for me to tell if a skin product is working or not because I have extremely sensitive skin. It's also why I have always stuck by plant-based organic beauty lines such as Radha Beauty.

Keep Reading... Show less

Anyone who goes to Panera Bread will tell you that their mac and cheese is to die for. If you're a huge fan of their mac and cheese, you won't believe the new recipe they're coming out with!

Keep Reading... Show less

I have definitely had my fair share of breakups. I broke up with my high school sweetheart my second semester of college (he was cheating on me), I had a breakup with another guy I thought I was going to marry, and others in between. Regardless of whether you're the one doing the dumping or being dumped, breakups can HURT.

Keep Reading... Show less

I Asked My Boyfriend His Opinion On Liking Other Girls’ Pictures, And, Spoiler Alert, It's Cheating

"When you get into a relationship and you're in love, you have to realize that liking photos is for the single lifestyle."

Ladies, listen up. If you are in a relationship with a guy and he is liking other girls' pictures on social media, then it's a red flag. A man who can look at someone else and show interest by liking it means he doesn't care about your feelings AT ALL.

Keep Reading... Show less

Epic Activewear Deals Every Leggings-Lover Needs To Know About From Nordstrom's Biggest Sale

Wearing my pleather Alo leggings till someone physically removes them from my body.

I'll be the first to admit I'm not an athletic person, at all. Since junior high school, I've been happily cheering my friends on at their football games and soccer matches from the sidelines as long as I could go home to my yoga mat and spend Sunday mornings at Pilates with my mom's friends.

Weekends are often spent in my casual wear, from the second I throw them on for morning meditation through running errands and evening walks. No, I won't be running a marathon or joining my friend's volleyball league anytime soon.

Keep Reading... Show less

TikTok was banned by the president, but Instagram is here with its newest feature called Reel. Many of us are still wondering why TikTok was being banned in the first place. Was it all the dangerous TikTok trends? It was because of a security concern, but not in the way you might think.

TikTok is owned by Dancebyte, which is a China-owned company. Basically, just like any other app, TikTok collects the user's data. The main question to ask yourself when investing in any app or marketing tools who will be owning my data? So yes, China currently owns all the TikTok user's data worldwide.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Reasons To Put The Damn Mask On, And Stop Fussing With It

COVID-19 is real people, do your part to protect yourself and others.

Ilana Stein

With the ever-changing reality of our world due to COVID-19, there has been one constant throughout these past unforeseen months, masks. Ever since coronavirus hit the ground running in the US, the CDC has been recommending social distancing and mask-wearing to stop the rapid spread.

Many people have been great about adhering to these policies, mandates, and suggested uses, but others, not so much.

Keep Reading... Show less

I've been an athlete my entire life. I love movement and I've been jumping, kicking, swimming, dancing, throwing, you name it since I was in diapers. I'm also pretty competitive and probably went through a few sore loser phases. What can I say? I like to win, and losing can sometimes feel like I've failed. Especially, when your competitor is your best friend or someone that you worked all year long to defeat.

Keep Reading... Show less

Social media is something many of us have been addicted to (whether we want to believe it or not) since the moment we got it. I remember getting Facebook at 10. Instantly I was hooked. I loved being able to share my life with people, a little too much in my opinion, and I loved being able to see how/what other people were doing all the time.

Keep Reading... Show less

I am not in any way any sort of medical expert. These are just some tricks that work for me and have worked for others who also suffer from anxiety. These may not work for everyone, but I do hope these help some people in their fight against anxiety.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments