Do we really need to lose the “lockdown weight” before summer comes around? Elena Adams doesn’t think so.
After being in and out of lockdown for almost a year, it’s no wonder that people can’t wait until summer, that light at the end of the tunnel (hopefully) without the restrictions we’ve all become accustomed to. I’m sure that many, like myself, can’t wait to be able to spend time with our friends and family during the warmer months. But, I’m also sure that many, like myself, are feeling immense pressure to look their best. Who wouldn’t? We all want to project the best versions of ourselves onto the world, especially when it hasn’t seen much of us recently.
Since suggestions that we could have a lockdown-free summer started circulating, there’s been a wave of discussion both on and off social media to “lose that lockdown weight” to have a “hot girl summer”; a “glow up”, if you will. All you have to do is open Instagram or TikTok and you’ll be bombarded with quick weight loss tips and tricks, tips that often don’t work or leave you with an upset stomach. But what do these posts really communicate to the people reading them? The narrative that a thin body equals a beautiful body is dangerous and needs to change. We shouldn’t be teaching people that they need to starve themselves or go on a juice cleanse just to lose weight and fit into the societal idea of hotness.
Since last March there has been pressure on us all to use our time wisely; to “get your life together”, “get healthy”, and “lose weight”. I remember looking through my Twitter feed and seeing loads of before and after photos of people’s lockdown “glow-ups”. While it’s great that they felt more confident in their bodies, this idea that a glow-up is synonymous with losing weight is problematic. It’s not losing weight that gives you a “glow-up”, it’s the amount of confidence you have in yourself. So, if losing weight made you gain more confidence in yourself, great! But your body didn’t “glow up”, it lost weight, and there’s a key difference. I’m not arguing that you shouldn’t be healthy or lose weight if you want to, but that the narrative that looking beautiful means losing weight is harmful and needs to be challenged.
We’ve all been under a lot of pressure to use our time in lockdown productively, but lockdowns don’t magically give us more free time – not to mention the fact that we’re still living through a pandemic. At this point, not everyone has the motivation to push themselves to get out of bed every day, and that’s okay. On top of an already stressful situation, the last thing we need is anxiety about our weight and appearance. Even in our current situation, where things look like they could be getting better, the last thing that anyone needs to be worrying about is how they should be working out to prepare for a “hot girl summer”.
Now, with the possibility of lockdown restrictions easing in time for summer, it’s natural to have anxiety over socialising. We haven’t been able to properly socialise with our family and friends for over a year. So, when the time comes that we finally can, I very much doubt that anyone will care if you gained a bit of “lockdown weight” or not. I know that all I care about is being able to actually give my friends and family a hug and making better memories than the slightly lagged zoom ones I’ve had for the last year. Most people just can’t wait to have a normal summer and will be way too consumed in their own world to have an opinion on yours. And, if anyone does care, then they aren’t worth your time. Your body is your business and nobody else’s and if you think you’re hot then nobody can tell you otherwise.
However, this is easier said than done. Whilst it’s likely that your loved ones won’t think twice about your appearance, you might. We live in a world where the normative beauty standard is petite and thin – but this doesn’t mean that your body defines your worth. The next time you think you need to lose weight before June 21, remember that your body carried you through this pandemic and continues to allow you to do all the things you love. When you can finally hug your loved ones again, they’re going to be thankful that you’re okay, regardless of how much you weigh.