By Yako and Krystal

June 14, 2017, 2:29 pm

 
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Krystal:
It’s summer, which means one of two things for each and every one of us: We’ve either worked on our beach body, or drowned ourselves in excuses for not working on our beach body in time. If you’re like me, your definition of “beach body” is the body you have when you go to the beach, and therefore, you can never fail in achieving one. I bet you never knew that success could be so sweet, huh?

Yako:
Most people find themselves either too big or too skinny. I would dare to state that even the most developed gym bods are not happy with the way they look. Although others see them as perfect and something to strive for — primarily as demonstrated by advertisements and the media telling us exactly how we are ideally supposed to look like. Look at advertisements from the 60s, compared to current day advertisements, and you will see significant differences over time in what is considered ideal. But I’m digressing and this is a topic for another column. I agree with you that everyone already has a beach body. However, at the same time I do suffer from what society expects a beach body to look like and I wish my body was more media beach-like so I wouldn’t be so jealous of the few and far between people on the beach that have “perfect” bodies.

Krystal:
I hear you on that. Even though I stand my ground and refuse to define myself by media standards, not comparing yourself to a certain vanity is almost unavoidable once body-parading season begins. Summer is like one of those buffets on a cruise: there is so much available to you and there is also something deeply depressing about that fact. We’ve all seen the type of people who come out of the woodwork when summer hits. They did what they had to do to make sure you’re jealous, impressed, or inspired. The thing is, it’s not their fault that you decided to ignore the fact that summer was on its way with or without your commitment to a healthier body. Yet, it makes you wonder how they were able to motivate themselves during those cold and gray winter months that seemed to have a personal vendetta against your willpower and self-esteem.

Yako:
Hmm exactly! Every winter I promise myself a deep commitment to go to the gym at least 3 times per week and I start off determined and with conviction that I can do it. For several weeks, I even manage to stick to that plan, but at some point (usually around the time when spring hits and there is so much fun stuff to do in the city), I trail off and my gym visits become less frequent than I had planned. By the time summer hits, I’m a lost cause and my body is just my body and not something you put on the cover of a fashion magazine. Is that the case for most people?

Krystal:
I bet it is! Especially here in the US, where overeating and excessive shopping is the most popular culture of the season immediately before summer. So then it makes me wonder: did the disciplined bunch push themselves to the gym or away from the sweet potato pie all of those times? Now there are like, tons and tons of things even more exciting than sweet potato pie and because you ate your feelings, you can’t enjoy the treasures of summer without feeling a bit guilty. You know the treasures: there are bottomless brunches, outdoor concerts, smorgasbord pop-ups, rock climbing, sexy parades, park posing, promenades, beaches, beaches for couples, beaches for cute people, beaches for gay people, beaches for cute people who are gay, that kind of thing. Seems like motivation is the only thing standing between you and the people you’d rather not stand next to on the beach. Maybe it’s simply a matter of choosing what season is your favorite to splurge during, and making the decisions you need to make in order to enjoy yourself freely. Maybe it isn’t about motivation really at all, just preferences of vanity.

Yako:
Yeah, motivation is overrated. I believe motivation is not the real issue here or at least doesn’t get us to the core of the issue. I would say that it is fear that fuels lack of motivation! Let me explain. We tend to say: “You just need discipline and push yourself to work out and stick to the schedule”. We start most excitedly, but at some point we let it go. Is it that we lose motivation? And if so, why? I think it is because of fear. Not just fear of failing, but also fear of succeeding. Fear of failing: what if I put all of that effort in this exercising and by the time summer hits, I’m still not where I want to be–all of this grunting and perspiring for nothing! Or fear of success: what if I do make it, now I have to continue this investment to keep up because I don’t want to go back to where I was.

Krystal:
Oh, I agree. Speaking for myself as well as observing what I see a lot of in other people, “what ifs” are the driving force of most of the decisions we make or the challenges we choose to avoid. If we’re waiting on motivation, we might as well take a seat on the couch right in front of the TV. At the end of the day, it seems like we are able to make excuses to get out of anything that we don’t actually want to do. That’s why year in and year out, if we never end up hitting the gym like we told ourselves we should, we still manage to get through the summer and love ourselves enough to indulge in the things that we blame a lack of motivation on. So that’s why I agree with you and feel I it’s overrated, because it’s just the scapegoat for the decisions that we never wanted to make in the first place! In the end, we’ll probably feel happier with our bodies, habits, goals, if we’re realistic about the fact that it’s within our power, not the power of motivation, to feel content or ambitious.

Yako:
And that’s how it all comes together! We should be more accepting of diversity in various body shapes — of ourselves and of others. Nothing wrong with with being inspired by others, but that should be personal and not something society (or the media) imposes on us. There is so much celebration in diversity. And although we have to continue to nurture ourselves toward greater health of both body and mind, please realize that this should come with a proper doses of fun and indulgence and not worry so much about what other people think.

Krystal & Yako


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About The Author

Born on a farm in The Netherlands, Europe, I was always on quest for adventure. As a small boy, I was already interested in learning about other cultures and pretended I was fluent in American (I later learned that Americans speak English). At the age of 23, I traveled to South Africa where I lived for seven months to finalize my thesis for my master's in Business Administration. After that, I worked for eight years for a bank in Amsterdam, but I became restless and decided to quit my job and make the big leap across the ocean to New York. Studying arts and culture management at Pratt Institute helped me eradicate some of the prejudices I had of Americans. I never thought I would stay this long. But now eight years later, I'm still here. I live in Central Brooklyn and work for Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation with great satisfaction. So far, my life feels as if I’m on one big adventure.

Born on a farm in The Netherlands, Europe, I was always on quest for adventure. As a small boy, I was already interested in learning about other cultures and pretended I was fluent in American (I later learned that Americans speak English). At the age of 23, I traveled to South Africa where I lived for seven months to finalize my thesis for my master's in Business Administration. After that, I worked for eight years for a bank in Amsterdam, but I became restless and decided to quit my job and make the big leap across the ocean to New York. Studying arts and culture management at Pratt Institute helped me eradicate some of the prejudices I had of Americans. I never thought I would stay this long. But now eight years later, I'm still here. I live in Central Brooklyn and work for Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation with great satisfaction. So far, my life feels as if I’m on one big adventure.

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