## The Truth About “Beach Bodies” and Healthy Living
As summer weather arrives, many people start to worry about their “beach body” and fall for claims that a particular diet or workout can transform their body in just a few weeks. However, this is not only impossible, but it’s also unhealthy at its core. The focus on aesthetics distracts from the real purpose of our body and the functionality of fitness, exercise, and nutrition.
### The Problem with Aesthetics
The obsession with having a certain look distracts from the real purpose of our body. Instead of focusing on whether we can take off our shirt or wear a bikini, we should focus on feeling strong and healthy within our body and being able to do what we want to do with it.
### The Danger of Unrealistic Goals
Many people fall into the trap of setting unrealistic goals, such as getting a six-pack in a short amount of time. However, this is unhelpful, unrealistic, and unhealthy for most body types. Visible abdominal muscles require an extremely low body fat percentage, and genetics also play a role in where we store fat.
### The Importance of a Sustainable Approach
Rather than following the latest fad diet, it’s important to have a sustainable approach to nutrition and exercise. Consuming more calories than you spend is likely to make you gain weight, while consuming fewer will help you lose it. Excessive calorie counting won’t lead to healthy eating habits, but having a rough idea of how much energy is burned with exercise can be helpful.
### The Challenge of Healthy Eating
The challenge is to not feel like we’re being deprived or that we’re “dieting.” It’s important to read the labels of food packages and avoid ultra-processed foods, which trick our bodies into overconsuming. Instead, we should fill up our diet with grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and unprocessed ingredients.
### The Importance of Exercise
Daily exercise is a much better approach to managing low emotions than turning to food for emotional comfort. The health benefits of an active lifestyle and balanced diet are clear: we live longer, reduce our risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and strokes, and maintain our independence with aging.
### The Socioeconomic Correlation
Unfortunately, the advice above is geared towards affluent, time-rich people who have the bandwidth to focus on a good diet and physical activity almost like a full-time job. There’s a strong socioeconomic correlation between body mass index and wealth, and the lack of choice locks in unhealthy eating habits early.
### A Functional Version of Body Image
Instead of striving for a certain size or shape, we should focus on a functional version of body image that helps us live our life in the way we want to. Rather than obsessing about a “beach body,” we should aim to feel happy and strong enough to go for a swim or a long walk, play sports, or just sit and read a book on the beach.
In conclusion, healthy living is not about achieving a certain look or size, but about feeling strong and healthy within our body and being able to do what we want to do with it. It’s important to have a sustainable approach to nutrition and exercise, and to focus on a functional version of body image that helps us live our life in the way we want to.