Eating Disorders and Body Image: Surviving the Summer Season

Summer poses a lot of unnecessary triggers and stressful situations to those struggling with eating disorders. These can range from social pressures to the uncomfortable heat! So, we have compiled some tips to help you and your loved ones through summer 2023.

‘The summer body’ is an ideal that is pushed from incredibly early on through many different channels and it is simply not true. Trying to slim down and get in shape for summer pushes for unhealthy restrictions and stress and pressure on a ‘deadline’ for weight loss. It does not promote changes in place for health and wellbeing. Therefore, switching to positive affirmations around your own body and self-esteem and rejecting the summer body Is a positive step forward everyone should make this summer. Surround yourself with phrases like ‘I have a healthy body,’ ‘Every body is a summer body’ etc.

It is also important to understand the stimuli around us. So, it may be worth this summer to look through your Instagram feed and clear any unnecessary triggers and switch out the diet pages for body positivity! This will help you more easily surround yourself with these positive affirmations and focus more on your mental health and body image supressing that ED voice as much as possible.

Through this summer body stereotype harmful thoughts may arise when the heat waves come, and baggier comfort clothes become unbearable due to the heat. Although pushing to feel beautiful in your own skin is a major goal it may not be achievable for everyone by summertime so remaining comfortable and wearing more familiar ‘safer’ outfits however adapting them to become breathable may be the way to go. For example, trading in the beloved joggers for some airy linen trousers may be more comfortable than opting for the jean shorts.

Especially when in recovery specific food times and meal plans are important. So, these becoming threatened by summer activities can lead to increased stress around meals which should be avoided. But ditching plans is not the way to go, if you are looking forward to an activity it is important to redirect thoughts to the excitement rather than stress around food options. Also, there is no need to ditch safe foods and try and keep disturbances to a minimum, this could just be packing a familiar snack. Also, many activities can be planned that do not need to revolve around food, these can help you get back to socialising more often, being a great gateway to enjoying more activities with friends and family.

Needing support to cope with the stress that comes with summer is completely understandable. When someone close to you like a family member understands your struggles, they can help you deal with difficult triggers and maybe even schedule summer activities around your needs. This can be in several ways like redirecting emotions, breathing exercises etc. If you are currently seeing someone for your struggles it could be helpful to even devise a summer guide and plan what to do when coming in contact with difficult environments and experiences.

Allow yourself the experiences this summer that you might have been denying yourself. Use the tips from this blog and the help from people around you and have a great summer 2023!

Contributed by Emma Fratanolo