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By: Tori Kuhr

Spring’s arrival, for a lot of people, means getting in shape for the summer. It means losing that last bit of belly that people couldn’t seem to get rid of until now – when time is of the essence.

A “summer body” is what people want to show off at the beach. Often characterized by a lean body with little fat, a toned abdomen, legs and arms, you apparently aren’t supposed to see much bone. Seeing bone would mean you’re unhealthy, yet some people go to extremes to get a body fit for a bikini.

If you try to locate a definition for a “summer body,” you won’t find any results besides maybe an unofficial definition from “Urban Dictionary.” A “summer body,” according to society, indicates a person that flaunts the perfect figure. If someone doesn’t have this body – which the average American doesn’t – they are sneered at and looked down upon because they aren’t living up to society’s standards.

Fitness centers and dietary companies thrive during this time of year as a result. More people are likely to sign up for a gym membership and buy those lose-weight-quick supplements – even if nobody knows how the latter can affect your body. Fitness marketing is mainly geared toward the average woman battling insecurity, especially when it comes to bathing suits.

Americans generally want instant results and instant gratification. Dietary pills and plans persuade people into ingesting potentially toxic chemicals to shed those last few pounds, without changing any part of their daily routine; their diets and exercise habits remain mostly unchanged, hoping to let the pill do the work. If there were a magical pill someone can take to lose excess fat, why wouldn’t everyone do so? Long story short: there are no shortcuts.

There’s no need trying hard to lose weight for only a few months. A balanced diet along with exercise could have you feeling and looking good all year round. The best bodies are the ones people feel comfortable showcasing, rather than the ones society deems the “most right.”