How to Avoid the Toxic Diet Trend as Summer is Approaching

Cayetana Jaramillo, Opinion Editor

How to lose 10 pounds in two weeks. Bikini body workout. No carb calorie deficit workout; these titles plague developing minds every year as soon as the weather begins to warm, causing some to believe they must completely alter their body to fulfill these unrealistic body expectations. 

The summer months of June, July and August involve outdoor activities that may require minimal clothing. This exposure may intensify insecurities and cause people to resort to harmful diets and impossible workout routines, perpetuating poor mental health and eating habits by thriving off people’s self esteem issues. Through dedicated focus, affirmations and social media cleanses, you can avoid the toxic summer diet trend.

It is easy to get lost in the sea of images depicting models in bathing suits and start comparing oneself to them or planning a diet to reach such unrealistic expectations. Before you start the one-sided competition with the mirror, it is important to remember: “What do I actually want to feel in this future situation?” Confident. Beautiful. Relaxed. Carefree. 

You can feel confident, beautiful, relaxed or carefree without fixating on your physical appearance — all it takes is a realignment of focus. A day at the beach or hanging out by the pool with friends does not have to be tainted by the constant focus on your body. Instead, dedicate your focus to the other elements of your outfit that make you feel beautiful. Allow the fact that you are spending time with friends and not doing homework dictate your relaxed and carefree attitude. In remembering the emotions you hope to feel, all it takes is finding different ways to achieve them without caving into the mentality that it must involve changes to your physical appearance. 

Realigning your focus away from the topic of body image – although effective – can prove extremely difficult. It is hard to completely ignore the topic when it drives many conversations during this time of year. Thus, including affirmations in your everyday routine may discourage those toxic thoughts surrounding your body. Affirmations include any verbal self-empowerment practice, but it is important to specifically think positive thoughts about your body and everything it does to prevent harmful tendencies. 

The main source of most insecurities in today’s generation is social media. Inescapable images of “perfection” and one-dimensional standards of beauty clutter our timelines and plant the seed of toxicity in young impressionable minds. A simple way to avoid this harmful chain of events is to limit the time you spend on social media. If you catch yourself constantly comparing yourself to images on the Internet, it may be time to take a break. Frequent social media cleanses help you detoxify and eliminate any negative thoughts that may interfere with your self-esteem. Take time to put things into perspective: you are not defined by your body. 

Summer is approaching, but it does not have to be a daunting time of year. Keep yourself in check and remember to focus on what is better for you.