The pandemic disrupted everything: our work routine, sleeping patterns, and most certainly our relationship with food is no longer the same.
For some of us, emotional eating became an inevitable habit. Who can blame us after all? We’ve been dealing with the anxiety of an uncertain future as well as the stress for our health and that of our loved ones, ceaselessly for over a year now.
With a lot of us spending more time indoors than ever before and saying goodbye to our gym subscriptions, naturally, lockdown weight gain became a thing.
To be fair, that’s not the case for everyone. While some of us alleviated our mood swings with an extra bag of chips and a few late-night snacks, for others the rollercoaster of emotions that came with the pandemic meant a loss of appetite. This means unhealthy weight loss, and at worst a trigger for eating disorders, which can be particularly palpable for Muslims during Ramadan.
But whether it’s overeating or undereating, our bodies have been subject to quite a transformation over the past few months; one that a lot of us haven’t necessarily welcomed with open arms. If this applies to you, you’re not alone. But let’s not let it get to the best of us.
With the promises of upcoming post-lockdown outings and the fear of missing out on yet another summer holiday looming over us, there’s definitely rising pressure on all of us to make the best of what’s already been dubbed ‘post-pandemic roaring 20s’. Along with it comes the burden of “getting ready” for summer.
But why is our mindset so rooted in the idea of having to change our bodies to be able to enjoy summer? Why should we magically transform before allowing ourselves to put on a swimsuit?
Despite the growing body positivity movement, the notion of a “summer body” still persists as a toxic beauty ideal that we need to fit into for the perfect summer look. That often means rejecting the rolls on your stomach or thinking you’re too skinny to look “hot” in a swimsuit.
For someone who has embraced lockdown as a time for reflection and developing self-acceptance, I have no intention of falling into this trap. The pressure of having to look perfect for a summer holiday that we’re only lucky enough to experience after such an unpredictable year seems like an unnecessary and harmful game.
That’s why it’s never been more important for us to treat our bodies with gratitude and self-love, especially after surviving so many challenges throughout the pandemic. It’s time for us to dismantle the notion of “summer body” from the narratives of body ideals and learn to accept ourselves without the anxiety of having to change for the sake of a hot girl summer hashtag.
Main photo: Nadia Aboulhosn