Can summer vacations promote vigorexia?
Aug 10, 2022
Summer vacations are a period of rest and disconnection from work for most people; however, there are those who even during these days of free time inadvertently and unintentionally self-sabotage, feeding a vicious circle of stress and personal insecurities that intensify even more when breaking with the routine and the structure that the day provided labor.
One of the most characteristic disorders that can emerge during the summer holidays is vigorexia, a mental disorder based on an obsession with gaining muscle volume to leave behind what is considered to be a physique that is too thin or poorly defined. Let's see how it relates to the typical experiences we usually live during this summer vacation break.
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What is vigorexia?
Vigorexia is a psychological disorder consisting of an obsession with one's own physical image, which is perceived as a body that is too puny or thin. Because of this, people with vigorexia tend to eat looking for high calorie intake. to gain volume, and usually also combine this with excessive exercise physical.
Due to its characteristics, this alteration has come to be considered a kind of reverse anorexia, although it presents many qualitative differences with respect to this one, and it is not so dangerous because it does not lead to malnutrition, but rather to malnutrition. However, it clearly affects both self-esteem and personal relationships, as well as the way the person has of relate to food, which becomes problematic and generates stress due to the search for control over what is consume.
Vigorexia usually affects mainly men between 18 and 35 years old, and both the promotion of new fitness lifestyles and the popularization of the habit of going to the gym to get strong among younger and younger people could be precipitating the appearance of more and more cases of vigorexia.
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How can the arrival of the holidays trigger a case of vigorexia?
There are many causes that can cause the appearance of a case of vigorexia, and these depend on each person in particular.. On the other hand, summer vacations by themselves are not the cause of vigorexia, among other things because all psychopathology arises from a combination of personal and social. However, summer offers a context in which the trigger for this alteration arises very easily.
Below you will find a summary of the different ways in which the arrival of the summer vacation may reinforce or help trigger this disturbance (along with other causes combined).
1. social media influence
Social networks can be very useful tools to communicate with friends or to learn certain useful or curious knowledge; however, for many people can cause certain complexes about your physique due to comparisons with other bodies.
During the summer holidays, social networks are filled with posts in which their users share photos of their summer retreats, usually in a swimsuit or with little clothing. In addition, images with more desirable content tend to receive more interactions, which increases their reach and overshadows the rest of the publications with non-regulatory bodies.
This makes it possible for many users to feel bad when they see the sculptural bodies of both famous influencers and friends and acquaintances and assume that this is "the norm", which generally causes feelings of complex or inferiority that can trigger an eating disorder in general or a case of vigorexia in particular.
- Related article: "How to stop comparing yourself with others: 5 practical tips"
2. Insecurity with one's own body
In the same way, the holiday period is a season in which everyone goes out in the street with less clothes and leaving more of their body on view, which can enhance some complexes in some people who were already "dragging" them for months or years.
This insecurity with one's own body when going to the beach or participating in summer activities can also generate great discomfort in the person, which can often translate into the appearance of a case of vigorexia as a kind of defensive strategy that, in reality, causes more problems than it solution to.
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3. desire to impress
The desire to impress people you only see during this time of year, be it friends or family, They can also cause on many occasions an obsession with exercising and with food that helps to put on strong. In this case, the obsession with gaining muscle mass does not stem so much from previous complexes with one's own body, but rather from an intense desire to stand out through physique and gain the admiration or acceptance of others without having to apply social skills, something that in the long run causes these complexes to appear due to the desire to get closer to an idealized version of that muscular “I”.
These two elements are essential in the appearance of a case of vigorexia, that is why it is so important talk to a friend or family member who may be going through this process, especially when younger be.
- Related article: "What is social psychology?"
4. Obsessive need to be productive in free time
Another of the causes that can precipitate the appearance of a case of vigorexia is the obsessive need to use the extra free time offered by the summer to exercise and take care of what you eat (during the rest of the year working hours make it more difficult to have a high control over the diet). In other words, the indecision of what to do with free time causes a discomfort at the idea of wasting those hours with nothing to do, something that leads to direct attention to the body itself at the idea of getting in shape.
In addition to that, the mere fact of having more free time during the summer can also progressively lead to a greater obsession with getting stronger and gaining more muscle mass.
5. extreme diets
Dietitians and nutritionists are well aware of the danger of miracle diets, especially if they are started or ended randomly and without the supervision of a professional. And, at the same time, the beginning of summer and the weeks before it are a time of year when extreme solutions to get in shape are more advertised; Exposure to these advertisements and publications feed complexes with one's physique.
This type of unscientific diet can also end up promoting a person's obsession with food and causing an eating disorder or a case of vigorexia and obsession with physical exercise.
Do you want to know more about vigorexia?
If you are interested in learning more about this and other disorders related to eating behavior, the book Eating behavior: Beyond the body and food by Marc Ruiz de Minteguía, psychologist in "Miguel Ángel Psychology and Psychotherapy", is for you.
In its pages you will find the keys to understand this group of psychopathologies from the hand of a psychologist with years of experience dealing with this type of case.