Stop obsessing over the ‘summer body’

With summer fast approaching, it’s almost impossible to scroll through Instagram or watch a television program without seeing an ad promoting weight loss or dietary supplements. These ads are usually accompanied by corny slogans like Take this pill and you’ll have a summer body in no time.

I realize that ultimately, a business’s main goal is to make money by persuading consumers to buy their product. However, the extent the business will go to conjures a message that is not only detrimental to the buyer’s health but toxic to their self-confidence.

These ads tend to air more during warmer seasons, after a long holiday season of feasts and sugary sweets. While there is nothing wrong with a person working out and eating healthy to be more fit, if a person is comfortable in their skin, they shouldn’t feel the need to conform to society’s harsh expectations.

Recently, television networks have denied Lane Bryant privileges to televise their lingerie commercial, claiming it was “indecent.” The commercial shows larger-set models doing everyday activities such as kickboxing while showing off the lingerie. In reality, the ad was no more indecent than any other underwear ad.

Victoria’s Secret, on the other hand, is allowed an entire fashion show to showcase the debut of their new lingerie.The only thing that a viewer could consider “indecent” with the denied ad is the scene which focuses on a mother while breastfeeding. Aside from that, the only difference between the commercials are the size of the models.

Some media, however, have taken a step in the right direction by embracing curvier women. Sports Illustrated’s latest swimsuit edition features plus-size model Ashley Graham, who has become known as an advocate for body acceptance.

While it may seem like I am advocating obesity, I am not. I acknowledge that being overweight can lead to various health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Just like the old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover,” a person’s size does not define their health. A visibly bigger person could be healthier than a physically smaller person.

Then the question becomes how does someone define healthy? Is healthy someone leaning over a toilet, forcing their lunch back up in fear of gaining a few pounds?

It’s time to face the fact that society’s “norms” have driven people to the extremes in order to lose weight.

It is easy for a person to feel inferior around this time of year when the pants become shorts and long sleeves become tank tops. That’s okay, but it’s also okay to be confident. There is nothing wrong with putting on that swimsuit this summer even if you don’t have the flattest stomach. What’s not okay is someone feeling like they cannot wear what they want because society has a different perception.