TW: Weight Loss
This summer was the first occasion we could begin to relax from the pandemic by going out and experiencing social life thanks to eased restrictions. This opportunity comes with many expectations and challenges. During lockdown many people turned to junk food for comfort, sacrificing physical activity with the excuse it would not have mattered this year, or believing there would have been time to make up for the indulgences. The social expectation of displaying a perfect body in summer resulted in many people taking quick fixes to shrink their figure or alter their appearance. Furthermore, going back to normality and enjoying other people’s company can constitute a challenge in itself, inducing people to either search for human contact in potentially unsafe ways, or alternatively remaining inside despite the ease of the government’s measures.
To address these issues, we firstly have to consider the culture we are living in at the moment. 2021 has been a difficult year for everyone body image wise, and two different currents have emerged: curvy VS. toned. The first current strives for curvy bodies that are hardly possible to achieve without any plastic surgery. One of the main icons that represents this ideal is Kylie Jenner, who insists her shape is only thanks to sport and nutrition. However, the photographic evidence that documents her changes through time shows unnatural progress in such a small time frame. On the other end of the spectrum there is the current that promotes health and an absolute acceptance of the body and how it looks. YouTube home workouts flourished during lockdown, opening a world to people that wanted to improve their body and be healthier.
Excess becomes a problem when people want to achieve the bodies our culture praises in a very small amount of time. Some people might have a body that through sport and nutrition can achieve that idealised Kylie Jenner shape. However, this body type is common in people of African descent due to a different body conformation. Consequently, wanting to gain that desirable body might not even be an achievable goal without plastic surgery. However, 2021 offers us the other end of the spectrum: exercise for health’s sake, not for looks. This objective might be seen as unattainable, considering that we are constantly bombarded with incredible images of beautiful models carefully chosen and edited by the industry that constantly reminds us what we are not. One of the main solutions to this problem is to unfollow everyone on social media that makes us feel insecure, and does not make us feel happy.
Secondly, we can try to fill our feeds with inspiring pictures of people that are where we want and achieve the body they have in a healthy and attainable way. We can slowly but surely try to implement healthier meals in our diet, at least once a week, adding at least a day of exercise per week. These small changes can seem small, but can help us to get in what Darren Hardy describes as “The compound effect” in his book named as such. This phenomenon is the repetition of small positive acts through time which ultimately leads to huge results in the long run. We can therefore take this principle and apply it to our life by trying to stick to at least one small action a day, setting a long term goal of a year, comparing us now to us in a year’s time by remaining consistent to the small changes. These techniques can lead us to a positive transformation that will help us to view this summer as a true “Hot Girl’s summer”, not one in which we were perfect, but one in which we worked on ourselves and did our very best.
To address the second problem, the endless battle between the will of meeting with others and the fear of doing it too much, we should strive to create a balance between the two extremes. If we mix with other people too often in unsafe ways, we should remember that we have to respect some simple social rules for our personal safety and that of our loved ones. Wearing a mask and sanitising our hands can go a long way while still making sure we can meet our friends and have fun without our behaviours being destructive. On the other hand of the spectrum, the fear of contracting the pandemic can motivate us to keep avoiding any social contact. This behaviour will isolate us even further, making us unable to join others even when the pandemic will be long gone. To avoid this excess we can start by reaching out for our family and then go on from there, meeting the closest friends to have in an outdoor space.
In every domain there are always ways to achieve what we want without ending up in excess, making a true ‘Hot Girl Summer’, the one where we make the rules!
– Lisa Greghi
Featured Image Source: Pexels