SOURCE: Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center

Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center

May 12, 2016 12:04 ET

Leading Expert Urges Women to Ignore Summer "Bikini Body" and Diet Messages

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - May 12, 2016) - As summer season approaches, American women and teens are feeling pressured to get "bikini body" ready and have a "flat belly." This focus increases negative body awareness and insecurities as warmer weather approaches.

"The target market for most of these advertising campaigns and messages are young women and the goal is to have them ponder how their bodies can better mimic those societal ideals," said Margaret Geraci, RDN, LDN director of nutrition services at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center. "We need to educate young women about these unrealistic images and expectations."

Geraci adds that she advises women to entertain their brains with books where creativity drives the image rather than magazines where the "ideal" image is portrayed for them. Also, she recommends reading these articles in magazines with a grain of salt, and rather look for recipes and ways to incorporate amounts of physical activity into summer plans for the enjoyment factor as opposed to solely for weight loss.

"Diets only work in the short term, but in the long term, they often result in either weight re-gain or a vicious cycle of restriction and over-eating," said Geraci. "Diets also elicit a 'fix me' attitude that encourages the thought that 'if I get to a certain weight, I will be happy, fixed, etc.' This mentality begins the cycle of fixing and the standard to which we hold ourselves to be fixed will be forever-changing."

Individuals consumed by advertisers' representations of what a summer body should look like need to know the large amounts of airbrushing that goes into the images. Geraci encourages those individuals struggling with body image issues to talk to a counselor or registered dietitian to work on improving body image in a world so focused on unrealistic body expectations.

"Embracing intuitive eating will decrease the fear of certain foods and allow women to live a balanced life while nourishing their bodies rather than limiting themselves," adds Geraci.

About Timberline Knolls:

Timberline Knolls is a leading private residential treatment center for women and adolescent girls (ages 12 - 65+) with eating disorders, substance abuse, trauma, mood and co-occurring disorders. Located in suburban Chicago, residents receive excellent clinical care from a highly trained professional staff on a picturesque 43-acre wooded campus. For more information on Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, call us at 877.257.9611. We are also on Facebook -- Timberline Knolls, LinkedIn -- Timberline Knolls, and Twitter -- @TimberlineToday.

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