Trigger Warning: The following article details eating disorders/disordered eating habits and may be upsetting to some readers.
Cut your calories startlingly low because a flat stomach is far more important than proper nutrition. Keep a food scale on hand to measure everything you put into your body, right down to stray grains of rice and extra cashews. After all, if you eat even one calorie over your daily limit, you’re an abject failure at the all-important pursuit of making 2020 your #HotGirlSummer. Because y’know, your caloric intake — not your happiness, your ambition, or your kind heart — dictates your beauty.
Get picky about every little thing you consume until food is no longer pleasurable. Cut out pasta, rice, and bread because the carbs will cause bloating and ruin your already-starved physique. Ditch red meat because one perfectly-grilled steak could ruin all of the progress you’ve spent months making. Toss out the snacks you love to eat while you watch your favorite shows — they’re too fattening, and fat is the enemy of every carefree summer. Stop eating fruit — it all has too much sugar, which will absolutely ruin your thighs. You now get one blueberry for breakfast, one bouillon cube for lunch, three peas for dinner, and five laxatives for dessert.
Spend entire days running for your life. Wake up at 6 am for an hour of sprints because breaking your body down before eating a sparse breakfast is the key to looking like an Instagram influencer, which is all you should care about until June 21st arrives. Follow it up with a 10-mile run — never mind that your boss needs you in the office. Sweat out your insecurities all day until you hate yourself more than you ever have. Don’t waste a single minute that you could spend sculpting, toning, strengthening, and crying from physical pain. Keep moving until your head spins and your vision threatens to go black. Your effort will pay off once everyone sees you on the beach, so why stop?
Listen to everything mainstream media says about your body. Starve yourself into ketosis. Try paleo because that’s how Kendall Jenner claims to have gotten her 110-pound frame. Buy all of the flat tummy tea you can get your hands on — the size-zero girls from The Bachelor promote it, so it absolutely has to work. Forget that every magazine in existence Photoshops their models — Emma Watson’s body is attainable, but you have to work for it. Stop following body-positive Instagrammers because women who respect their bodies and love themselves are the worst. You can’t love yourself unless you look like a bikini model — everyone who doesn’t conform to society’s arbitrary beauty standards is selling you complete BS.
Ignore the signs that something is seriously wrong with your health. That hair you’re losing will grow back eventually, so it’s no biggie. Your manicurist will be able to fix those cracked nails so they look good as new. Your teeth are losing their enamel thanks to your newfound purging habit, but at least you aren’t ingesting any extra calories. Your heart rate jumps a startling amount every time you stand up, but hey, you’re still technically alive. And the fatigue you constantly feel should make you proud, even though you can no longer meet a quota at your job. You worked for that exhaustion, and working to gratify yourself in the short-term is all that really matters in life, right?
Wake up in the hospital, connected to tubes and wires, unsure of how you ended up there because you can’t remember a thing. Discover that you fainted because you’d starved yourself for so long that you’re now clinging to your life. Remember that it’s the first day of summer, and you aren’t on the beach flaunting your flawless body and loving yourself the way you’d imagined for months. Feel the immense pain of the tube up your nose, your nutritional lifeline, and cry in regret for everything you’ve lost. As you lie in the hospital bed, praying for your own survival, realize that the glamorous life you’ve led trying to achieve a flawless summer beach body is no life at all.