The Real Skinny on Spring Break - McCall

By McCall Dempsey

“She’s gotten so skinny. Like, she never goes out anymore.”
“Yeah, and every time I see her at the house she is eating, like, a vegetable.”
“I think it’s for Spring Break.”

Dearest Spring Breakers,

It’s me, McCall. Yes, the crazy girl that travels the country with scales and sledgehammers, reminding you that you are more than a number. I know it is every college student's favorite time of year: spring break! You and your friends are planning where to go, where to stay, how to get there and which crash diet to go on.

My spring break diet came with a huge price tag: a 15-year battle with an eating disorder. Spring break (or any vacation) fueled my disordered mindset, and people around me validated my behavior. Despite the scary measures I took to achieve that bikini-ready body, my eating disorder behaviors were not only seen but accepted. I was just another girl on the spring break diet, skipping meals, classes and even parties, doing what I had to do to "prepare" for spring break.

I do not wish my "spring break" diet misery upon anyone! So, as I do every year, I would like to gently remind you of a few things:

1. Diets have a 95% FAIL rate – they don’t work (duh)

2. Crash diets are beyond harmful for your body and can catapult you into the depths of an eating disorder – see Exhibit A: me.


Maybe you decided you were going to lose weight in a "healthy" way this year, no crash diets. That’s good, right McCall?


Please do not fall victim to these fad diets disguised as "lifestyle changes" (I’m looking at you Noom, keto, Whole30).

Here is the REAL skinny on spring break:

You, yes you, are imperfectly wonderful and worthy of whatever trip and bathing suit you choose. When I was in college, I thought my worth was directly tied to my weight and what I looked like. Wrong.

I thought friends would talk about my fat rolls or muffin top behind my back if I didn’t get spring break skinny. Wrong.

Spring break is about living your best life with those you love most – your tribe. Your chosen family. This family loves you for you. If your family is struggling with diet talk or body bashing, give these suggestions a try:

- Make your meal time diet talk free, fat talk free, etc. Discuss things that actually matter in this world, like where you should make reservations for spring break.

- Lift each other up with non-body related praises! How many times do you comment with the flame emoji or #abgoals on an Insta picture with your friend in a bikini? While we think we are raising our friends up with these comments, we are reinforcing that their weight equals their worth. Challenge each other to comment in ways that have nothing to do with appearance!

- Lead by example. The best thing we can ever do for others is leading by example – taking care of ourselves both mentally and physically! Get rest, move your body joyfully, and nourish it!

You have the power to change the conversation or your spring break focus and surround yourself with likeminded friends. Prepare for spring break by going to get a mani/pedi or by buying a new beach hat!

Ditch the "spring break skinny," and spend that energy on learning to love yourself right now – not a certain weight or a bikini body. Enjoy these moments because before you know it, you will be in your 30s typing a blog about how you wished you had not spent your college years killing yourself to prepare for spring break.

Because here is the real skinny on spring break: It is not about what bathing suit you wear or how much you weigh. Spring break is a vacation in the sun with friends. Why would you starve yourself from fun? If you want to wear a bikini, wear it. If you love rocking a one-piece, rock it. If you want to go eat with friends, go eat. Live in the present and DARE TO LOVE YOURSELF this spring break and every day after!

In love and light,


Written by

McCall Dempsey

McCall Dempsey, founder and director of Southern Smash (a program of The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness), is an eating disorder survivor and passionate recovery advocate. After a 15-year…

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