Kim Yawitz, RD
Last Tuesday, I nearly lost my shit. My day started out fine—I poured myself a coffee and began my new daily ritual of decluttering my inbox for 5 minutes. That’s when I saw them. FIVE emails about getting a “summer body ready” in one day.
“Kim, Get Beach-Ready Glutes in 30 days.”
“Want a Perfect Beach Body? Better Start Today!”
“Bikini Ready by Memorial Day? Click Here for a Special Offer.”
No amount of deep nasal breathing brought my hackles down after that onslaught.
(And, between you and me, I totally had a moment of self-doubt, in the form of gazing over my shoulder at the mirror to examine my tush for dimples).
Today, I’m going to give you my dietitian perspective on why you should also throw a few F-bombs at those summer body ready emails.
What’s Wrong With Those Summer Body Ready Emails?
What’s so bad about those summer body ready emails?
Well, for starters, the entire concept is dumb.
The shape of your buns has no bearing on your ability to attend a cookout, or play tag with your kids, or swim in a pool.
But this whole idea that your body needs to look a certain way for three months out of the year has much bigger problems than just semantics.
Here are just a couple.
Fitness is a $96 billion per year industry, which means there’s a LOT of competition in the space. Some players in the game know a dirty little secret about getting customers—that making you feel like shit about the way you look also makes you more likely to hit the purchase button.
So, they pester. They sit on your shoulder, whispering in your ear that you’re not good enough. They create a sense of urgency by putting you on a deadline.
Does it get them customers? Yes. Is it sleazy AF? Also yes.
But here’s another important question: Does their strategy work for you long-term? Unlikely.
We’ve talked in the past about the power of positive self-talk for weight loss, and “you’re not good enough” isn’t a great starting point for lasting transformation.
For one, emails about being summer body ready typically don’t send the message, “hey, you’ve got this!” If you want to lose weight, you’ve gotta believe in yourself.
At the risk of sounding woo woo, losing weight and keeping it off requires digging deep and doing the emotional work. This means looking at all the stressors and negative experiences in your life that make you more inclined to inhale the whole damn box of Chips Ahoy while listening to “Nothing Compares to U” on repeat at midnight.
I don’t know about you, but having someone (even a random internet stranger) suggest that I’m not good enough just throws gas on the emotional fire. In the short term, it might motivate me to take action, but messaging like this always makes me doubt myself in the long run.
Yuck, right? But that’s not all.
Extrinsic Motivation Doesn’t Work.
What do you think of when you think about being summer body ready?
Do you think about having all eyes on you at the pool? It’s okay if you do—lots of us do it!
But if that’s your only motivation for dieting, then your odds of long-term success aren’t very high.
Validation is a type of extrinsic reward—something you receive from others. And studies consistently show that extrinsic rewards are less powerful than intrinsic rewards for long-term behavior change.
Look, I’m not here to tell you that wanting to lose weight is wrong. I help people do it for a living! But do it for you—not because some asshole on the internet says you’ll get more approval from others if you lose 10 pounds.
Do it because you want to have more energy for your long-distance hike, or you want to be able to chase after your kids in the yard. Do it because you want to feel more confident in your skin.
What’s the Long Game?
So let’s say you buy one of these programs aimed at getting you summer body ready.
What happens September 1st?
One of the biggest bummers in weight loss is that you have to keep up with the changes you’ve made if you want to keep the weight off. And so, the best weight loss programs are designed with maintenance in mind.
You can’t just go hard for 12 weeks and then go back to your previous lifestyle. It doesn’t work that way.
I don’t want to paint with broad strokes, because there are some good and effective weight loss protocols out there. But the five emails I received were promoting quick, restrictive protocols.
And in my experience, the more restrictive the protocol, the more you backlash when it ends. This means you’re more likely to gain the weight back later (and sometimes, a few bonus pounds).
It also means that you’re more likely to repeat this vicious cycle in May 2022.
Focus on habits that support long-term success. Pick an approach that promotes gradual weight loss. And, most importantly, find a strategy that you can stick with forever—that allows you to enjoy life in the process of losing weight.
This is where working with a coach can help. I often compare nutrition coaching to relationships, explaining that a good nutrition coach is both a matchmaker and a therapist.
Your coach should help match you to a plan that works well for you, then check in on the feels along the way and help you explore and troubleshoot any issues that come up.
Now, there are some good self-guided programs out there, and they might work just fine if you have the diet skills and are in the right mindset for it. Just be sure to pick one that has a clear plan for after Summer, like a maintenance phase.
Your Body is Already Summer Ready
So, to recap, those summer ready body emails are dumb because they prey on insecurity, they come from a place of negativity, they focus on extrinsic rewards, and they don’t focus on the long game.
Plus, the whole idea of a summer ready body is silly.
Hit spam on those emails, and share this post with a friend who needs to do the same.