Is Every Body Beach-Ready? Social Pressures Around Dieting in the Summer

Shmuel Fischler, LCSW-C · May 22, 2019

Dieting in the summer

Even if you lacked a calendar or any sense of what time of year it is, you would immediately know when summer is only a couple months away. How? The influx of television ads, grocery store advertisements, social media posts and magazine spreads telling you how to get a beach-ready body! While diet and exercise are critical parts of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, dieting in the summer just to look good on the beach is not the healthiest perspective.

The Pressures Are All Around Us

Even if you’re a millennial, you’re familiar with the iconic images of famous women in the public eye wearing swimsuits looking perfect. That’s before you even make it to the grocery store, where products like SlimFast and Special K will remind you of the importance of dieting in the summer and magazines in the checkout lane will give you beach-ready body tips.

Partially as a result of these pressures, a whopping 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a “clinically significant eating disorder” during their lives. The median age of eating disorder onset is only 12-13 years old, and 42% of girls in 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade say that they want to be thinner.

The Signs You’re Not Dieting in the Summer for the Right Reasons

While there is nothing wrong with dieting in the summer to live a healthier lifestyle, improve your bloodwork or feel better, society can influence in sneaky ways. What are the signs that your dieting is merely to meet the expectations of everyone around you or the result of another issue?

  • You’re obsessed with the scale: When you’re trying to lose weight, it makes sense that you would need to weigh yourself on a regular basis. Are you treating the scale as a way to check in or the thing that defines your day? If you find yourself weighing yourself multiple times in one day or feeling angry or depressed when you haven’t lost weight, you should reevaluate your diet.
  • You’re scared to tell others about your diet: If you’re trying to live a healthier lifestyle, it’s common to share it with those around you. But, if you feel like you need to avoid eating around others altogether or are worried that they would be concerned your diet is too strict, you might be crossing over into more concerning territory.
  • You feel the need to edit your photos or obsess over how you look: The saying that the camera adds 10 lbs is true, and if you find yourself lingering over how you look in photos or radically editing them for a body that isn’t yours you might be experiencing poor body image.

Worried About Your Diet or Relationship with Food?

If you or your someone you love is struggling with dieting in the summer, body image or are interested in seeking therapy in Baltimore, we’re here to help.  Reach out to the CBT experts at CBT Baltimore at 443-470-9815. We would love to speak with you.