If you have recently been torn between accepting your pandemic appearance and wanting to make yourself over before resuming “normal” life, you are not alone. As the stressors and anxieties of the past year mounted, many people became comfortable with long, gray hair, bushy beards, makeup- or Botox-free faces, and extra pounds. For some, this went hand-in-hand with a more natural, mindful way of living. But now, as relaxed coronavirus guidelines bring Americans into more frequent contact with one another, many are starting to feel external and internal pressure to return to their former looks.

Whether to focus on losing pandemic pounds has become a fraught topic. On one hand, the proponents of body positivity are calling for the unconditional acceptance of your body and weight, and even for having a “hot (fat) girl summer.” On the other hand, some people are looking at the societal reopening as a chance for a fresh start and for committing to changes that will not only shed pounds, but also improve their health.

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