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Let’s do away with “Spring break bods”

Students at Body Project peer facilitator trainings

Students at Body Project peer facilitator trainings.

Well. It’s about that time of year again. And no, I don’t just mean the time for The Rec to become so overwhelmingly packed that you feel like a sardine (although that is true, too). It’s the time for:

Spring Break Bods.

You’re going to start seeing the advertisements everywhere: “8 Weeks to a Better Spring Break Body!”; “The Ultimate 4-Week Spring Break Workout Plan!”; “Get Spring Break Ready in Two Weeks.”  Next, you’ll hear snippets of conversations from either your friends or strangers passing you on the Quad. They’ll be exchanging tips on how to tighten their cores, how they are managing to avoid carbs, or which protein brands they are switching to in order to get the best ‘pump’.

As a student majoring in dietetics, I am all for encouraging others to change their eating habits to the healthier side of things. However, there is a fine line between changing your diet or exercise plan because you want to feel good about yourself and changing your diet or exercise plan so that you can achieve an almost impossible goal.

Before you know it, you’ll feel like you’re surrounded by Cancun Spring Breakers in the middle of February just because of the overheard conversations.

As a student majoring in dietetics, I am all for encouraging others to change their eating habits to the healthier side of things. However, there is a fine line between changing your diet or exercise plan because you want to feel good about yourself and changing your diet or exercise plan so that you can achieve an almost impossible goal. For women, that impossible goal might be squatting until you have the shape of a Kardashian or skipping meals until you have the stomach of Gigi Hadid. For men, that impossible goal may revolve around lifting multiple times a day so your biceps bulge with every move you make like Captain America or dropping Benjamins on different supplements to help boost your body’s natural fat burning abilities. And this brings me to my main point: who cares? Spring Break is not—or at least should not—be about how defined someone’s abs are or how fantastic their body looks in a swim suit. Spring Break should be about making memories with your friends or going to explore places you’ve never been to before.

Plus, the crash diets that many people follow in order to obtain their ideal Spring Break Bod can actually hurt your physical health rather than help it. Additionally, the calorie-restricted diets that you may set for yourself or the binge-purging activities you may engage in because of you ate something that wasn’t part of your diet plan could actually lead you to an eating disorder. Did you know that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate among any mental illness? Bit alarming, don’t you think?

Courtesy of the Body Project here at Illinois State, a program focused on promoting positive body image, I have personally been able to gain self-confidence and security with my body. If you are an ISU woman struggling with body image issues, I encourage you to get involved with this program because it is time your body receives the love it deserves. Register today!

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