Be body positive this Spring Break

Aubrey Shanahan

Rather than a list of activities to do during spring break, I decided to take the time to discuss the issue of healthy body image in relation to this time of year.

Last week was Body Acceptance Week, which makes you wonder, why are we limiting it to a week? While the week helps bring awareness to the concept of body positivity, it is concerning that we aren’t celebrating these ideas on a more regular basis.

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With break fast approaching, I have seen and heard countless examples both locally and nationally of women going on extreme diets and compulsively exercising. For years, it has been emphasized that a good figure is essential to a good time, and it’s just not the truth. Images of bikini-clad girls and shirtless guys on the beach flood our minds when we think of spring break, and that is a massive problem.

While it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, there is a fine line between healthy and unhealthy. The idea that we are supposed to get our bodies in shape for spring break, or “bikini season,” starts blurring that line.

It doesn’t help that the magazine articles promoting these ideas are being published only a few weeks before spring breaks take place, leading to unrealistic expectations for physical improvement.

You simply cannot expect that any exercise regimen is going to change the way you look in a matter of a few weeks or days, and it will not be able to change your overall routine. Routine is key when we discuss exercise, as it allows you to form habits that stick and fit with your daily routine.

A crash course diet or workout is going to disrupt your daily life, not make it better. You have to take care to work out at a time that will work consistently with your schedule, and you have to ease into it, especially if you are new to regular exercise.

If it’s not a commitment you are ready to make, don’t stress yourself out. If you are concerned about your health, that’s another matter. Make better meal choices and start physical activity, but don’t prevent yourself from living the way you want. Do what you can and ease into it. Chances are, when you make slow and steady diet and exercise changes, your body will feel better, even if you can’t see that six pack yet. Feeling good is the key—not looking like a model.

If you are reading this, you need to know that no matter what you look like in a swimsuit, it does not determine your worth as a human being. You are good enough, pretty enough, handsome enough and whatever else you need to be to have a healthy mindset. If someone makes rude or arrogant comments about you this break, or any other time, just remember that they are likely insecure about themselves, and the best thing to do is ignore their disrespect and focus on your own happiness. Only you can be the true judge of how you look and feel.

Go out and enjoy your spring break. Jump in the pool or the ocean and enjoy yourself without thinking about the opinions of others. You only get one body and one life, and you need to love them both unconditionally.

My final piece of motivation: “Life is too short to spend another day at war with yourself.”

Remember to love each other and have a safe and fun spring break, Rams.

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Collegian A&E Writer Aubrey Shanahan can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @aubs926.