Do you have a beach body?

As a matter of fact, there are a few things you can always count on in this world:  every four years, all media will be packed with an abundance of in-your-face political messages. Every Thanksgiving, you will see tons of advertisements promoting holiday gift ideas. And every spring, we all will be faced with a blizzard of ads and magazine articles warning that we may not have bodies worthy of taking to the beach.

This tradition of media-inflicted body-shaming (basically toward women) is so ingrained in our culture that–until recently–there was not a significant backlash to the assumption that everyone should strive for the long, thin, barely-curvy ‘perfect body.’ For too long we’ve all bought into the coercive power of these influences, while ignoring the more important aspects of health and happiness. My question to you: Will striving toward this ideal make you healthier or happier? Is your particular body even designed to be without curves?

A healthy and happy body:

It is clear to me–as a nutrition therapist–that what is most important for each of us is maintaining optimum health and happiness. Assuming your body is healthy, why sacrifice happiness trying to attain an unsustainable body appearance? Our bodies are beautiful; each body is a gift from G-d (or nature or whatever higher power you subscribe to.)

I teach mindfulness, which helps each of us connect with our own sense of acceptance and gratitude. So this beach season, instead of striving for a culturally-imposed look of beauty (supported by the multi-billion dollar beauty industry pushed by gyms/magazines/diet food corporations) my suggestion is each person works for a body that is healthy… and is appreciative and content with that, no matter how it compares to an airbrushed  picture of a model plastered on some billboard? After all, there is nothing sexier than a happy and confident mind in a healthy body.

Upcoming beach season:

So go to the beach, proudly, happily, no matter what your shape. Wear whatever feels good on your skin. Enjoy the sun, the sand, the water in the marvelous gift that is your body, no matter what the numbers on the scale say.

And as for the the question, “Do you have a beach body?”

The answer is yes…

Every body is a beach body.

See you at the beach!