Updated: May 14
As many of us are delighted that the end of the lockdown is now in sight, after over a year of adjusting and adapting to a different way of life means it does not come without its pressures. Living through a pandemic has not been easy and we have all done what we have needed to make it through these stressful and anxious times. Living through a total upheaval and change to the world as we know it, we have had to understandably do different things to cope – one thing in particular that has affected a lot of people has been their relationship with food.
Since the announcement that June 21st could be the date where all restrictions are lifted, social media has been inundated with wild diets and excessive workout routines. You cannot open an app or magazine without seeing someone talking about their “Lockdown pounds” while promoting a “Flat-Tummy Tea” or diets with promises to “lose 10lbs in 2 weeks!” In fact, a lot of these diets are promoting a dangerously lower intake of calories needed for that of a toddler! The results of some of these crash diets can be low moods, low energy, irritability, and profoundly serious medical complications. It is so important in the run up to June 21st that we are gentle with ourselves as we adjust back to venturing outside and socially interacting again, and the added pressures from seemingly every avenue to be “summer body ready” are unhelpful in so many ways.
Of course, it is always great to exercise and eat well when and if you are able to, but it’s important to not drastically cut calories and portions and start exercising at a level you have never exercised before. Your body will need time to adjust to new levels of movement and it is always best if your desire to move is motivated for multiple reasons – not just to lose weight. The benefits of exercise go far further than just weight loss. there are so many physical and psychological benefits that have very little to do with the size of your clothes. For example, movement can help with mobility, mood, sleep patterns, productivity and confidence – all things which I’m sure many of us feel like have slumped a little during lockdown. And as we start to move around more, we will definitely need more calories than we did being sedentary during lockdown, so try not to restrict them – your body needs the energy!
It is also vital to fact check what you are reading on social media. Any company or brand that is promoting ‘fat burning’ ingredients is a red flag because simply put: ingredients cannot burn fat! Brands that are promoting diets of 1200 calories or less are also not to be trusted because this is not a safe amount of food to be eating unless you are a toddler. Anyone can claim to be a “nutrition coach” by taking an online course, but you should only be taking specific advice from a licensed Nutritionist or Dietician with a recognised and licensed Degree who is tailoring your diet to you. To try and gain or maintain a healthy relationship with food, keep your meals balanced with foods you know you enjoy and will keep your mind and body satisfied and energised for the day!
Another important thing to remember is that we all have insecurities. We all have something we do not love about ourselves but the strongest thing you can do is work towards accepting that flaw. Nourish your body with food instead of restricting it. Your body has got you through a global pandemic! Look after it.
So next time you see a post promoting how to get the perfect ‘summer body’ just know it is a marketing hack - most “summer bodies” are made with some help from photoshop and filters. All our bodies are Summer bodies, because they will be the ones we have in Summer and they are all okay! Say no to that impending doom of the 21st and how you may look, and instead look forward to all the new opportunities and beginnings happening as we leave lockdown. There is nothing wrong with the way you look and do not let the bombardment of ideocracy tell you otherwise. We have been told for years and years from society and marketing that losing weight will make you happy, but in reality, the only thing that will make you truly content is embracing and accepting yourself for who you are. It is a lot easier said than done, so remember to be kind to yourself as we venture outside again. Social media is fake, you are real and that is beautiful.
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