If you boiled me down to my purest essence, a key component would be that of bikini enthusiast. Fun-loving, scantily clad beach pics are my IG jam. Yet here’s an uncomfortable confession: This is not my favorite year to wear a bikini. Why? Well, I’m up five pounds from my “swinging single” weight. Five pounds shouldn’t be the end of the world, right? It’s not that many pounds… In fact, it’s barely noticeable. I workout. I’m healthy. It’s hard to reconcile with my dysmorphia, but I may actually look better this way.
I don’t want stripping down for the beach to be a mental struggle, I certainly don’t want anything to come between me and my #bikinilove, and most importantly, I know I need to be able to love and accept myself at any size. Thus, I’ve been working on a game plan for how to save bikini season by getting fit in my mind. Unfortunately, body issues run rampant, among women especially – and they’re such a source of unnecessary self-torture! – which is why I wanted to share my story with The Quench readers. Everyone deserves to be a happy waterbaby this summer, including you and me.
Compare and despair
Do not fixate on other people’s bodies. I repeat, do not fixate on other people’s bodies. I can tell you from experience, absolutely nothing good will come of it.
I tend to be super admirable of everyone else’s attractive qualities, yet hypercritical of my own flaws. While appreciating what’s attractive about others is great in moderation, it’s dangerous when it gets out-of-control.
It doesn’t take a psychology Ph.D. to recognize that seeing those around you through rose-colored glasses, but yourself through dirty, cracked lenses, isn’t healthy for your self-esteem.
End this lose-lose cycle by embracing the first commandment of getting in mental shape for bikini season: Love thyself.
Ditch the scale
Or at least don’t let it determine your worth. For most of my adulthood, I’ve been a daily weigher. During my more obsessed eras, it was multiple times a day. Old habits die hard, so I still check in a couple of times a week, but when I do, I’m careful not to let the number ruin my day.
Buy a flattering suit that makes you feel bangin’
Summer can get expensive with weekend getaways, street fairs, and music festivals, but that doesn’t mean you should skip on buying a new swimsuit. Wearing last summer’s bikini probably won’t feel very comfortable if your body has gone through changes in the meantime. So cut back on Starbucks for a few weeks and reward yourself with whatever swimwear makes you feel great, exactly as-is.
Body acceptance affirmations
This advice may sound corny… but then again, so does cowering at home for the hottest months of the year because you don’t want other people to see your body. If the thought of revealing your semi-nude figure makes you feel like a headcase, consider reprogramming those negative thoughts. Don’t be a slave to the junk clogging up your neuropathways. You have the power to clean up your mental hard drive with body positive mantras.
Below are a few of my favorite mantras to help get you started. Pick what feels right for you and work it into your daily routine. Every morning in front of the mirror, look at yourself, take in beauty before you, and recite these three affirmations:
If all else fails, lean into this Drake-endorsed cardinal rule of life: You only live once.
A couple of years ago, I got to spend my grandma’s last night on Earth with her as she writhed out of her terrestrial body. It was very special to witness. It’s also interesting to note the personal revelations that strike on a night like that. As I watched her kick the exposed legs that had carried her for 88 years (!!!), my mind replayed some of the self-conscious comments she’d made about her appearance: that she looked heavy in a picture or had a double-chin, worrying about her butt in a pair of slacks – you know, the usual lady gripes.
In that moment, it was crazy to me that this beautiful woman with these long legs that had served her so well, and who had raised nine kids and had such a full life in so many other ways spent any of her time on this planet worried about her body.
When physical insecurities begin to clamor around in my mind, I try to remind myself about that night, and that body hate is a wasteful trap.
Perfection doesn’t exist and it wouldn’t be worth chasing even if it did. Why consume yourself with self-conscious criticism when there are so many blessings to behold?
There are swimsuits and beaches and pool parties to indulge in – you just have to love yourself enough to tell the negative voice inside you to scram. We’re all gorgeous just as we are, so carpe diem, there’s still plenty of bikini season left!