It’s swimsuit season, usually a dreaded time for women everywhere, except for the ones whose bodies we ogle over, whose Instagram pictures we stare at until our eyes bleed, and those who make us feel like no matter how many hours we put into the gym or how many calories we count we will never amount to their bikini-goddess-role-modelness. What if this summer though, we learn how to embrace the body we’ve been graciously given, we try instead to become healthier rather than 6 pack toned, we enjoy our family and friends instead of living in the pit of gym-hell, and we tell ourselves a few things before getting into our swimsuit that might actually build us up instead of tear us down.
1. The Instagram girl I lust over is a fraud.
If you heard the news last year about the Instagram superstar, Essena O’Neill, who suddenly up and quit social media, claiming she wanted to be a better role model for her younger sister, then you’ll come to realize that maybe those girls you want to look like actually don’t look like that at all.
In interviews, Essena confessed that in her bikini photos, she would have hardly eaten all day long and she would have taken over 100 photo attempts, each time twisting her body into an angle that would accentuate her stomach the best. She did all that for ONE picture; one picture that we look at and assume she casually snapped during a normal beach trip; one picture that is supposed to portray her “real life”. Oh, and that to-die-for bikini (that you probably could just pick up at Target, right?!) was actually given to her for free and she was paid hundreds of dollars to take that ONE photo in it, just for Instagram likes and followers. Hmmm, that doesn’t exactly sound like our normal, everyday life, now does it?
Essena is not the first person to debunk the “real life” Instagram myth. Take a humbling look at your own feed and ask yourself does that accurately portray your everyday, ins and outs, real life? Do you post the photos of your children having temper tantrums in the grocery store, the pictures where you are locked inside your bathroom sobbing uncontrollably because life is becoming too much to handle, or the moment where you and your husband are in the fight that could end all? Are you unknowingly adding to the low self-esteem and lies that women are experiencing on social media by your own “real life” feed?
So next time you slip into your swimsuit and you’re frowning because your body isn’t deeply tanned, you’re not in an ass-baring bikini bottom holding an unnaturally bright acai bowl, with wind-wavy hair and a backdrop of Chippendale boys and Bali palm trees, remember that no one “really” has that anyways.
2. I value my health more than my mirror.
Did you know that you can actually be healthy WITHOUT being a size 2? And that a lot of size 2 women are NOT healthy? Instead of basing your perception of health on physical appearance and numbers, try to look beyond the mirror and focus on staying healthy inside. Continue to be aware that women’s bodies are not one-size-fits-all, that body shape, genetics, and stature all play into her physical appearance and her “numbers”.
The average American woman is:
- 5’4″ tall
- has a waist size of 34-35 inches
- weighs between 140-150 lbs
- has a dress size of 12-14
So, instead of spending all your energy and money on the latest diet fads and bootcamp memberships to try to achieve numbers that may not be even possible for your body type to healthfully maintain, take it back to the good ‘ol days where watching what you eat and getting a daily amount of exercise was all it took to have energy and slip into a swimsuit feeling confident and healthy, where visible rib cages and thigh gaps were unheard of.
3. The people I love don’t see my stretch marks.
Substitute stretch marks for whatever your largest body hangup is, whether it’s love handles, flabby arms, a belly pooch, varicose veins, you name it. Then tell yourself that the people you are surrounded by when you’re in a swimsuit don’t even see those self-proclaimed flaws.
- Your kids aren’t going to hide under their beach towel because mommy has a dimple in her butt.
- Your husband isn’t going to divorce you over knobby knees.
- Your best friend won’t cancel a pool date on you because you look like you’re 5 months pregnant after eating a snow cone.
The people who truly matter in your life, the people whom you love and who love you back don’t see your stretch marks, and even though it’s hard to believe, a huge majority of the strangers you walk by in your swimsuit don’t see them either.
If you find this hard to believe; if you think your tinea versicolor is consuming the entire beach population’s mind, then take a second to think about the last time you saw a loved one in their swimsuit. Sure, maybe you noticed a scar, a beer belly, or a ton of moles, but did that stop you from tearing up the waves surfing with him? Could all you think about the entire time you were sun bathing and drinking margaritas with her was her cellulite?
Love is not skin deep, and if it is, then reconsider the people you love.
It’s a hard cycle to break, we get it. We’re right there with you. Every summer, we’re no different when it comes to slipping on the swimsuit and turning around to face ourselves. Unfortunately, it’s a never ending battle with our brutally honest inner feelings, our outside cultural influences, and our plain-as-day birthday suit we’ve been gifted. All we can do is try to face the world with a little more confidence, a little more realism, and a lot more understanding for those around us this summer. Let’s make ourselves feel swimsuit worthy, cause in this REAL life, we are!
Now that you’re ready to show some skin and leave the haters behind (i.e. YOURSELF!), it’s time to find the perfect swimsuit that enhances your natural body, so check out The Postpartum Swimsuit for Every Body, Year Round Resort Swimwear, and Embrace your Belly with Maternity Swimwear from Ingrid & Isabel!