Step one, buy a bikini, step two wear it unabashedly to the beach and enjoy the best of what summer has to offer.
Simple I know. And contrary to the swarms of advertisements to ‘fix this’, ‘adjust that’ and ‘in five simple workouts you’ll have a body deserving of the beach’. Truth is any messaging promoting ways of getting your body ready for the beach is really promoting body dissatisfaction. These messages have the devious intention of preying on your insecurities to make a profit off the latest miracle product, diet or workout routine. Most of which will shake your thoughts and emotions to the point that you’ll be wanting to curl up under the covers until the leaves change colour, and wearing a bikini is no longer an option.
Here’s what I know about getting a bikini body: Feeling comfortable on the beach has nothing to do with your shape and size. As appealing as it might be to drop a couple pounds it won’t ever be enough to tip the scales of comfort in your favour while wearing a swim suit.
To lessen the feeling of terror at the thought of a bikini, you have to work on changing how you see your body, not changing your body.
First off, stop telling yourself that a couple pounds will make a difference. There really is nothing but you and your negative self-talk getting in the way of accepting your body and allowing yourself to fully participate in the joys of the beach.
When you imagine your body as an object for everyone to gawk at as they stroll along the shoreline, of course you’re going to be self-conscious! Change your focus instead to the ways your body serves you at the beach. Without those funny looking toes you wouldn’t be able to walk along the shoreline. Without that arm that has a little jiggle you wouldn’t be able to play a round of volleyball or pick rocks along the shoreline. Without those legs that you painstakingly scrutinize over, swimming or walking wouldn’t be an option.
So next time you are standing in front of a mirror picking apart your “unready” beach body, show a little self-compassion for the flaws that you judge so harshly. Accepting yourself and owning every bit of your perceived imperfections and flaws will not only liberate you, but is sure to promise you a body that is ready to be seen in any bikini and take on beaches anywhere.
Happy summer everyone!
Stacey Reinsma, MSW RSW