I stopped buying into the summer body or beach body hype a few years ago. It never got me very far. I’d see the headlines on the magazines in the grocery store checkout lane. I’d buy several, in a panic to try to lose a massive amount of weight before summer hit. It never worked and so I’d feel even crappier about myself than I already did.
I’ve since embraced the attitude of, “I have a body. It is already my summer body, my beach body. It is also my winter, fall, Christmas, mountain, theme park, whatever body.”
I walked into my friend’s house this week and saw a sign that says: How to have a beach body: 1. Have a body. 2. Go to the beach.
I remember the exact moment I said ENOUGH.
It was the summer I became a mom after adopting a nine-year-old. I took her to a splash pad. I had my bathing suit on under my clothes. It was a suit society had led me to believe was an appropriate bathing suit if a plus size woman *must* wear one. A one piece tank with a built in skirt.
I looked around and there were no adults in bathing suits. All of the other moms were sitting on benches. Dry and fully clothed.
My little girl wanted me to play with her.
So I took off my clothes and I played with my kid.
We had fun. No one pointed at me and stared. No one laughed or called names.
I just made memories with my daughter.
As she got older, I saw the importance of setting a good example for body positivity. When she hit high school and reported her friend’s mother’s shaming them saying, “Your arms are too thick for that tank top” and “You aren’t skinny enough to show your belly” or “It’s not appropriate for you to show your legs,” I told her, “If you like it and feel good wearing it, go for it.”
And I knew I needed to live by my own words.
Those heavy swim dresses weren’t comfortable. They soaked up a whole pool and took forever to dry.
So I decided to step up my example two summers ago. I bought and wore my first plus size bikini. Yup, I was terrified wearing two piece bathing suits out in public at first. But I did it anyway. I’m a big believer in FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT. Honestly, some days I’m still faking this body confidence thing.
I’ve worn plus size bikinis on cruise ships, beaches, resort pools, pool parties, etc. No one has ever been a jerk to me. Maybe they talk about me behind my back. That’s actually an issue with them, not me.
Several of my daughter’s friend’s have told me I rock my bathing suits and it makes them feel good to see me wear them. My daughter isn’t afraid to wear any bathing suit she wants. I’m setting a positive example and actually like the way I look in bathing suits most of the time.
I don’t always wear two pieces. I recently scored a scorching hot one piece. Wear what makes you feel good.
Put that bathing suit on and enjoy summer.