Every body IS a bikini body
You have a bikini body just by having a body and owning a swimsuit.
One of my all-time favorite quotes is from the one, the only Ashley Graham, ‘Love the body you are in,’ which in my mind translates to every body is a bikini body. Let me say that again for the back of the room to read, every body is a bikini body.
You might be rolling your eyes, but go with me on this. We have all been there – tapping our fingers, watching as the brutal winters (at least on the East/Midcoast) go on and on and on, wondering when the frigid weather will thaw out into Spring. Basically, sitting and waiting for any warm excuse to trade our chunky, comfy sweaters in for lighter flowy blouses. Summer is that excuse. It is the light at the end of a dark and cold tunnel, with one notable caveat; social media at our fingertips.
It is also the time of year when social media becomes saturated with posts, and our inboxes are bombarded with advertisements trying to sell us on this idea that never seems to go out of style – getting our bodies ‘summer-ready.’
There are posts about summer vacation plans, the must-do hikes, the best beaches to visit, and how you should look in order to feel good during summer. All of these posts about adventure and being outside in nature are great; I personally feed off of them, but what’s with all the garbage about summer beach bodies?
You know the posts - they usually involve someone trying to promote a fitness diet or plan to help you achieve a bikini body. I’m here to ask you, all of you reading this, that instead of paying attention to those posts and getting in your head about your imperfections (that only you notice, by the way), and immediately resorting to negative talk or compare and contrast, instead practice self-love and body-positive talk instead. Basically, don’t give those ads the satisfaction of you buying into their body-shaming tactics. Remember, you already have a bikini body just by owning a bathing suit and having a body.
Now you might be saying, easier said than done, but that’s where we come in with helpful tips to add to your kaboodle to get you in the right summer mindset and on the path to continue being unapologetically you. Join me on this journey, and feel free to pause and turn this blog post into one long journal prompt whenever inspiration strikes or thoughts pop up.
Practice Being Mindful
This should be an ongoing thing that you can easily incorporate into your morning routine. Give yourself permission to be mindful when it comes to thoughts about your body, the food you put in your body, and movement. When you read those three things, what sort of negative thoughts creep up, and how do those thoughts shape your day, week, or month ahead? Instead of jumping on the restriction, deprivation diet bandwagon, focus on mindful eating and adopting enjoyable forms of physical activity. There is no need to go on a diet to try to lose weight for summer vacation.
And the biggest thing here? Trust yourself. Trust your body and listen to it. Listen to when you’re feeling hungry, and when you’re not. Listen to when your body is craving certain foods, and give yourself permission to satisfy those cravings. Eat those foods (hello tacos!) while paying attention – noticing the amazing flavors, textures, and joy and happiness they bring. Give yourself permission to not restrict yourself by trying to fit into society’s unattainable expectations of how we should look. Aim for balance and variety, as you are able to, and sprinkle in some food pleasure too. Keyword; balance. Eat the tacos and get movement.
Get movement that brings a smile to your face. Now I was guilty of this portion for roughly 20-plus years of my life, and I wish I had seen the warning signs sooner. Give yourself permission to NOT spend your entire spring season exercising or overexercising to try to look a certain way by the time summer rolls around. Move your body in ways you enjoy, and know that looks different for every body. That can look like going to the gym, signing up a friend to join you to a workout class you feel intimated to go to alone, could be going on a walk and catching some rays of sunshine, it could be taking mindfulness to a yoga class, or it could be having a dance party to your fav 90’s jam in your kitchen while meal prepping. Find what works for you, and don’t overdo it because that could quickly lead to injury.
With this tip, try to catch any negative thoughts early on and replace them with positive ones. For instance, switch up “I look fat” to “I am thankful for these thicc thighs that get me up and down the stairs every day.” Give yourself permission to celebrate being healthy, being alive, and being capable of doing the things you enjoy instead of shaming yourself for not having an unrealistic body size. Because, let’s face it, there is no true realistic body size!
Get Your Carrie Bradshaw Shopping Spree On
I am guilty of disliking those Target fitting rooms as much as the next woman, but I promise you, now is a perfect time to shop for a summer wardrobe that will make you feel confident. If you’re not sure how to do this, it’s simple. The next time you are browsing a rack and find something you think looks cute, instead of pondering whether or not it will be good, pick it up and try it on. If it doesn’t bring you joy, toss it aside and keep going. You will know when you find it. So allow yourself to shop for that bathing suit and make the choice to show up, rock it, and be unapologetically you while catching some vitamin D to your skin; just don’t forget the sunscreen!
Surround Yourself with Supportive People
THIS! I debated on simply leaving this section at that one word, but that wouldn’t be fair, but it’s true; the people you surround yourself with have everything to do with the mentality and mindset you have towards yourself and your body. And this might be a little scary at first, but do a mental tribe check of the people you surround yourself with. These people should be your cheerleaders for the good, the bad, and even the ugly. They are the ones who are there to support you and help you when you are having bad body image days. For instance, find the people who are going to join you to a workout class you would have otherwise not gone to or the people who will pencil in a day of the week to meal prep with you versus push you into going on a diet. Find the people who celebrate your goals and help you achieve them instead of the ones who feed the body-shaming voice in your head. I promise, these friends do and can exist! So be honest with yourself here and know that it is okay to find a new tribe if the one you have isn’t filling your cup with joy.
Peace Out Social Media
I have taken this advice myself numerous times and can tell you it helps more than you’ll ever know, so I recommend trying it out, even if for only 24 hours. I found myself needing to peace out of social media during the pandemic as I was always seeing the people I follow living out lavish lifestyles while I was stuck in Ohio doing nothing because my father was sick. How do we translate that to being body positive? Scroll through your feed and unfollow all of the accounts that are either telling you to change something about your body or selling you something that will alter or change the way in which you look. For instance, if all you follow are celebrities and fitness models, you need to change up your scroll, and quickly. How come? Those people are paid to look the way they look and have the dollars to pay an entire glam squad, chef, and personal trainer to help them do that. Some of us don’t have that bankroll; if you do, I still challenge you to switch up who you follow. Try to follow accounts that encourage body positivity, hello again, Ashley Graham, or advocate for cooking at home, what’s up, Chrissy Teagan, or those who preach being unapologetically you; we see you, Miley. And no, those accounts can be Plain Jane’s; similar to movement, find who speaks to you.
We are giving you the freedom here to have fun. To stay positive. To find what works for you. Remember, the times you have felt most comfortable in your skin. Channel those times. Look in the mirror and remember those moments and remind yourself YOU are your OWN bikini body, and you CAN feel good every day whether that is poolside or not. Now grab your favorite sunscreen, the biggest hat you can find, strut your bod, get some vitamin D, and have fun!