Two summers and 50 pounds ago, I was faced with a few week vacation on a beach. I had lost a few pounds before leaving for the trip, and so I’d bought a new bikini. I thought it was cute and I was excited to wear it, but I was feeling so uncomfortable about baring my chubby tummy and thick thighs. I spent the first few days feeling self-conscious, specifically anytime that I wasn’t submerged in water or laying flat on the beach. After a few days of not enjoying myself in the slightest because I was obsessing over my cellulite and stretch marks, I realized that I had something in common with every other woman on the beach.
Every single woman seemed very interested in her own appearance, and didn’t seem to notice anyone else’s “bikini body”.
The majority of women at the beach, pool, lake, or other body of water, will not have a stereotypically beautiful beach body. And so what? Every woman over the age of 17 has at least one stretch mark. Not one woman is naturally the way women are portrayed on TV or in magazines.
We as women should understand better than anyone else that we have physical flaws, because we’re human, and that’s part of what makes us beautiful.
80% of those women on the beach had similar body types as mine. And aren’t the other 20% just bodies, too? Who really cares?
Fast forward a year, to last summer. I’d lost about 30 of those 50 pounds, and I was feeling pretty confident in my body and I was so excited to spend the summer at the poolside. Despite that excitement, I found myself covering up my body until the last possible second, and then hoping no one would see my thighs as I peeled off my shorts.
Nothing had changed, emotionally. I’d changed physically, but in my mind, I looked the same. I looked at my body and I still saw the stretch marks, the cellulite, and the unwanted fat that had stubbornly stuck itself to the outside of my hips.
It doesn’t matter your age, or your weight, or any other physical attribute. The important thing about the “bikini body revolution” is that it doesn’t really matter. Feel good in the skin you’re in, feel great with your body, and LOVE your body. It’s the only one you get. So if taking care of your body is means working out 3 times a week, then that’s good. And if it means treating yourself to a scoop of ice cream after a hard day of work, then that’s good, too.
And at the end of the day, when you’re sun tanning at the beach, it doesn’t matter WHAT you look like, because NO ONE is going to be looking at you critically, and no one really cares how jiggly your ass is. We are all more focused on ourselves or our friends to care about what other people look like.
So stop focusing on what you look like, and instead focus on how much fun it is to be on the sunny beach, and embrace your beautiful body. Because I have a secret for you: The only thing you need to have the perfect bikini body this summer, is to go buy a bikini, and then put it on.
Featured Image via Angela Litvin.