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Why articles on how to be beach-ready are damaging our self confidence

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Every summer, without fail, we find ourselves inundated with articles promising that we can achieve the perfect beach body in as little as seven days. 

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One of the biggest ruses of all time was, for a while, when the Allies during WW2 tricked the Nazis into thinking that religiously eating carrots made them see in the dark.

Naively, and far too easily, they were duped.

In much the same way, many of us still fall for a slightly more modern hoax: “how to get your dream body in a week”.

Summertime comes along bringing tan-lines, sunscreen, blooming flowers and anxiety.

Every year, right before the first heat wave hits, when Apérol Spritzes and Pimms are spotted all over parks, we realize we missed our chance, yet again, to get in shape for the summer.

The extra tummy rolls we gained over the winter from hibernating in times of storms, can’t be hidden under cozy knit sweaters anymore.

Equally, the weight you didn’t actually want to lose becomes a burden when layers of clothing aren’t covering your silhouette anymore.

Naturally, insecurities come and go, depending on factors too many to name, including seasons. We resort to uncountable, unreasonable and irrational ways to get what we want as fast as possible, by, for example, googling ways to get your dream summer body in a few days. 

However, being “beach ready”, as some call it, is an inappropriate term to start with.

There’s no such thing as being “hiking ready” or “tennis ready”, and the idea of being "beach ready" indicates that you should be worried about how you look, because going to the beach demands a certain body type.

As if finding a swimsuit that makes you feel good about yourself isn’t a hard enough task to overcome, you also have to worry about fitting into the category of beach readiness, meaning if you don’t look good, then who cares how you feel.

This stigma reinforces the idea that women are here to compete, rather than complete each other with their differences.

Besides, the only steps you absolutely have to undertake before going to the beach are packing your sunscreen and preparing for a possible sunburn, which will hurt way more than not being as “fit” as others.

It’s these “others” that brings us to the core of our problem.

“How to get your dream body in a week” articles are the first things that cause us to think that in fact, there is only one type of dream body.

For decades now, civilizations have been dealing with what writer and storyteller Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie calls a “single story”.

She refers to our vulnerability in the face of prejudice, and how humans have developed an impressionability, a blind trust in ideas and stories we hear, becoming slaves of our own inexperience.

These articles we read, promote the acceptance of a single body image and by suggesting that you can achieve this in just one week, they’re giving out the idea that there’s a specific, uniform set of ways that work for everyone.

Whereas, realistically speaking, one method cannot possibly be applied to such a complex diversity of female bodies.

Women lose and gain weight for different reasons, at various speeds and in dissimilar areas. Keeping track of all these circumstances is much harder than just categorizing body shapes into “overweight”, “underweight” and the “perfect” middle.

Also, it's important to pay brief attention to the fact that some of the methods suggested are absolute nonsense.

“Drinking water” is by far my favorite.

Scientifically, yes, a healthy lifestyle consists of hydration, but water isn’t an elixir or a magical potion. It’s one tiny factor between many others in being healthy.

Equally, avoiding junk food may help, but again the advice is not only assuming every woman is trying to lose weight, but also that food is everyone’s issue.

Some websites also recommend a food diet under x and y calories, which is completely inappropriate, considering we all function differently and only a certified dietician that knows you can effectively judge.

As for workouts, whether it’s flattening your tummy, getting rid of wobbly thighs or toning your arms, they should be personalized.

Our endurance is different, and one set of exercises simply can’t work for everyone. It takes time and care to perform them successfully.

All in all, women’s body shapes cannot be labeled and classified under one scheme, where the perfect middle is a silver lining for everyone.

We all have different expectations for ourselves, and a random website should never be allowed to set them for any of us. 

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