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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Brown chapter.

It’s that time of year again, rumblings of getting “in shape” for summer, an inundation of Instagram ads for “de-bloat” supplements, influencers touting the latest “wellness” trend – gluten free, high protein, pilates. Despite the recent shift towards body acceptance, discourse around glowing up for summer is still shockingly pervasive on the internet and in our social groups as well. An estimated 45 million Americans diet every year and spend an astounding $33 billion annually on weight loss products and programs. The weight-loss, wellness, and dieting industry is steadfastly lucrative despite the clear evidence of its chronic failure. 

Research shows that diets are largely not sustainable, as 95% of all dieters regain the weight they lost within five years. Not only does yo-yo dieting not work, but it is correlated with negative health effects, such as increased risk of heart disease, muscle loss, and hormonal changes.

The wellness and diet industries feed off of Americans’ insecurities, profit off of ineffective supplements and programs, and then blame the consumer for the failures of their own products. 

We didn’t try hard enough, we weren’t committed enough, we slipped up – the blame placed on the consumer leads to an endless cycle of shame and then jumping back on the next weight loss trend. 

This year, as juice cleanses, pilates routines, and 75-hard challenges fill my social media pages, I have decided to scroll past. In years past I would have lingered, mulling over whether I should eat less sugar, go dairy free, or replace pasta with a salad during my next meal out. I would have stared into my phone screen and wondered how I could achieve the body staring back at me. Could I eat like her? Work out like her? Have the discipline she inevitably had? Never did it cross my mind that it could be genetics or expensive personal trainers and nutritionists. Never did it dawn on me that maybe the girl in the frame staring back at me was struggling with herself and her image just as much as I was. 

This year, I will not be buying into an industry that only seeks to degrade one’s confidence and ensnare consumers in comparison traps. This year, I will be buying into something we all lack – and it’s not abs. I will be investing in self- compassion. I will exercise and move my body not to achieve some unrealistic ideal, but to appreciate what my body can do and relish the extra endorphins. 

I will eat both salad and pasta because carbohydrates are an essential macronutrient and I deserve to be nourished. I will bake gluten-filled blueberry pies and lick up dairy-laden ice cream cones because what is summer without juicy in-season fruit and ice cold dessert?

Most importantly, I will treat my time and my money as the valuable resources they are. They will not be frittered away on things that fail and lead to self blame; they will be spent lavishly on all that nourishes, satisfies, and fulfills me. 

Alexandra Tucker is a writer at Brown's Her Campus chapter from Boston, Massachusetts. She writes on style, culture, food, and Providence. Alex is currently a junior at Brown University, concentrating in Public Health and Health and Human Biology. She is a volunteer at The Miriam Hospital in Providence, is a member of the Women's Health Advocacy Group, manages the social media account of Fashion @ Brown, and belongs to the Kappa Delta sorority. In her free time, Alex enjoys doing yoga, frequenting cute cafes around Providence and Boston, doing New York Times crossword puzzles, and exploring Brown's campus on foot with a good podcast.