How To Be Body Confident For SummerApr 30, 2023
Most people experience a desire to get leaner for summer. You do not have to feel guilty for wanting to look ‘good’.
But that doesn’t mean pursuing a physique goal for summer is a helpful goal.
The reason that you feel more dissatisfied with your body around this time of year, is not because there’s anything wrong with your body. It has a lot more to do with the pressures we face from the media and the comparisons we make.
If you want to feel more confident in your body, it's not your body that needs to change. It’s your mindset.
Your Confidence Is Influenced By Your Body Image
Body image is a construct that encompasses the way we perceive our bodies, how we think and feel about our appearance, and the way we behave as a result . If I see myself as unattractive, I may think that I need to change my body in order to be happy, feel pretty ashamed of how I look, and go on a strict diet to ‘solve’ the problem.
Unfortunately, losing weight isn’t guaranteed to make us feel better about our bodies. One of the reasons for this is because we don’t always see ourselves accurately. No matter how much weight we lose, we can often still find flaws to focus on. The ideal physique becomes a moving goal post and we’re never quite satisfied.
Your Body Image Get Worse In Summer
Seasonal body image describes variations in body image satisfaction that occurs across the seasons . Around summertime, we can be more dissatisfied with our bodies than ever. Not because our bodies aren’t acceptable, but because body image pressures are stronger at this time of year.
There are four reasons why we feel more pressure to look good over summer:
- Appearance-related pressure from media advertisements
- Appearance-related pressure from peers on social media
- Feeling like your body is on public display
- Appearance comparisons
Seasonal body image is intrinsically linked to seasonal changes in social and cultural body image forces. During the summer, advertising is directed at getting you 'beach body ready'. Our social media is filled with bikini-clad fitspos dieting for summer. Summer activities like beach days, festivals and days out generally involve wearing less clothing so we can feel like our bodies are exposed.
Due to the above three factors, there are increased opportunities for us to compare our bodies to others. These appearance-related comparisons can exacerbate body dissatisfaction and disordered eating .
By understanding how body image pressures fluctuate over time, we can prepare and counteract these pressures.
Side note for coaches: Seasonal body image is stronger for individuals with greater muscularity dissatisfaction and body fat dissatisfaction. The clients who are more inclined to shred for summer are precisely those who are more at risk of body image concerns and disordered eating. If a client wants to shred for summer, it may be a prudent time for screening for these concerns.
How To Feel Confident For Summer
Become aware of these body image pressures in your day to day life. Expect to see an increase in diet and exercise related ads encouraging you to sculpt your body. You are also likely to see more of your friends with their bodies on show, whether it's at the beach, festivals or other outdoor activities.
A fruitful first step is to audit your social media feed. This is not a long term solution, but a way to help you reduce appearance pressure whilst you actively take steps to improve your body image.
Look for less:
- Standard fitspo that invites you to compare (e.g. what I eat in a day) or encourages you to diet, 'discipline' or ignore your body
- Posts that are heavily edited
Look for more:
- Accounts showing images of diverse bodies
- Posts encouraging you to think critically about health, appearances and well-being
- Reminders and advice for practicing self compassion and body appreciation (grab my free workbook HERE)
The second step is to work on our mindset when comparing ourselves to others. The pressure we feel at this time of year is more likely to affect us if we frequently engage in appearance comparisons and choose to view ourselves differently as a result. It is our choice whether or not we let these comparisons affect us. We can change the stories we tell ourselves about what we see.
Next time you make comparisons to others, follow this process:
- CATCH IT: Who am I comparing myself to? Are my comparisons helping me? Might my comparisons be biased?
- CHECK IT: How am I assessing this person? What do I know about this person? What do I not know? What am I failing to take into consideration?
- CHANGE IT: What's inspiring about this comparison? How can I use what I'm seeing to feel empowered or motivated?
These are some first steps you can take to help you feel more confident over summer.
Remember: If your confidence is contingent upon how you look, it’s not confidence.
If living your best summer is contingent on looking ‘better’, you are reinforcing the idea you can’t do certain things unless you look good. Other people will still be leaner and more jacked than you, and you’ll be back to feeling insecure again. If you can't maintain it year round, then the summer bod won’t last - and neither will your ‘confidence’. True self-confidence is non-contingent, which is what makes it stable and enduring.
Self confidence is not the result of achieving your ideal body.
True self-confidence is the result of a specific set of cognitive skills (aka your mindset). To develop confidence in your body that lasts year round, check out my Build Body Confidence Course. That’s the only preparation you need for summer.
 Cash TF, Pruzinsky TE. Body images: Development, deviance, and change. New York: Guilford Press; 1990
 Griffiths, S., Austen, E., Krug, I., & Blake, K. (2021). Beach body ready? Shredding for summer? A first look at "seasonal body image". Body image, 37, 269–281. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bodyim.2021.03.004
 Fitzsimmons-Craft, E., Bardone-Cone, A. M., Wonderlich, S. A., Crosby, R. D., Engel, S. G., & Bulik, C. M. (2015). The relationships among social comparisons, body surveillance, and body dissatisfaction in the natural environment. Behavior Therapy, 46, 257–271. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beth.2014.09.006
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