If you are anything like me, you have a love/hate relationship with summer. You absolutely love the trips to the beach and the never-ending pool parties, but you hate putting on that bathing suit. I’ve spent a lot of years hating my body and lacking confidence. I’ve turned down invitations to places where I would have to wear a bathing suit, for fear of what people would think of me. Thinking back on those times, I just want to kick myself! There were so many missed opportunities, so much time wasted on worrying about my looks, and I wasn’t really enjoying life.
My husband and I just took a trip to Jamaica for our 5th wedding anniversary. When he surprised me with the trip back in March, I had a vision of looking and feeling fantastic on that trip. I was at my lowest weight and in the best shape of my life, and I didn’t have much further to go to get that flat stomach I had chased for so long. The reality is, I went on that trip 9 pounds heavier than I was in March. Between moving into our new home and summer cookouts (and ice cream), my focus and drive was lost. I got off track and couldn’t find my way back before we left. I was disappointed in myself, but I was determined not to let that ruin my trip. I want to share some of the things that I tried to focus on to increase my confidence level in a bathing suit, in hopes that they will help you live life and stop worrying so much about those things you call flaws.
Choose a Bathing Suit That Flatters Your Body
Gone are the days when only old ladies wore one-pieces. There are some seriously adorable one-piece bathing suits available now; you just have to do some looking. Albion Fit is a great place to look, and Target usually has some great options as well. I have embraced the one-piece over the last two years and I am so glad I did! It holds everything in and allows me to run around with my son without feeling self-conscious. I always get so many compliments on it, too! If a one-piece just isn’t your thing, find a two-piece that hides your trouble areas and accentuates your best features. A popular new trend is the retro style bathing suit, which could be a great option for those of you with want to hide a bit more of your belly. If you aren’t happy with your body and you choose a tiny little bikini, you’re probably not going to be very happy at the beach! At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what suit you choose, as long as you feel like a rockstar in it.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
You know this! You’ve heard it a million times. Each one of us is different and no two people are made the same. I have a super short torso and have been bitter about that for years. I find myself feeling envious when I see photos of girls with long, beautiful torsos, but it doesn’t do any good for me to compare myself to them. Physically, there is no way I will ever look like them- so I choose to be inspired by women with a similar body shape to mine. I let photos of fit people inspire me, but I try really hard not to compare myself to them. We all have our own stories and our own journeys. Comparing yourself to others is harmful to your confidence and self-esteem. You have to know and accept that you are one-of-a-kind, and once you do that, being confident in your own skin will be a little bit easier.
Respect Your Body
Respecting your body means taking care of it. When you eat garbage, you feel like garbage- it’s as simple as that! When I go on vacation and get off track with my eating, I feel bloated and yucky most of the time. As soon as I come home and get back on board with healthy, clean eating, I am back to feeling happy, strong, and confident. When you are eating healthy foods and exercising, you’ll find that you are a happier person all around. When you are headed to the beach for the day, make sure you pack healthy, whole foods in a cooler. Fruit is very mobile and can be taken almost anywhere. Load your cooler with lots of water, fruit, veggies, and cheese. Having these things on hand will keep you from heading to a local restaurant and will help you feel lighter in your bathing suit.
Focus on the FUN
Chances are, if you are busy having fun, you’re not going to be thinking about how you look. Build sand castles with your children. Jump in the water. Play Frisbee with a friend. If you make the decision to take part in these activities rather than wallow on the sidelines, you’re going to feel a lot better.
Let’s face it… we are our own worst critics. Husbands, friends, family members, and even strangers do not see the flaws that we see in ourselves. Try to see yourself through other’s eyes and remember that your weight and your body type do not define your worth. Don’t let your body image cause you to miss out on life. You’ll regret it when you’re older, I promise.