I’m just back from twelve days of glorious sunshine on a campsite in Tuscany. Our trip involved sun, pools, ice-cream and all the carbs. (I’m not one to avoid carbs as a rule but in 12 days I have transformed to 95% carb.)
We booked the holiday before Christmas, just in time for the January magazines to tell me how to “get a bikini body” in various time-frames using different methods. Juice diets, high intensity workouts, drinking all the water, buying the supplement that sponsored the article.
I guffawed and shared the memes that say “I’ve a body and a bikini so therefore, I have a bikini body” on Facebook. I liked and shared the crap out of them. Attack is the first form of defence.
Here’s the thing.
I’m forty next birthday. I’ve three kids. I’ve had two c-sections. I have a mummy tummy.
You know, the loose skin, stretch marks, the paunch, the “medicinal” wine and slightly less medicinal crisps and chocolate.
These are not excuses, just the facts. I enjoy eating more than I enjoy exercising.
So while I laughed along and shared the memes there was a little voice inside going “really? You’re going to expose this whiter-than-white, wobbly tummy, these so-white-they’re-blue legs with their spider veins?”
So I bought a fit-for-the-pool swimsuit. It was strapless and pretty.
It was Officemum’s fault. I considered taking her advice and just forsaking the bikinis for swimsuits altogether but then I saw a cute bikini (for cute read forgiving) in the supermarket and it found its way into my trolley.
On the first day on my holidays I wore my supermarket bikini.
And I was glad that I did. I felt pretty good (this was day 1 of the carbs and ice-cream diet).
You know why?
Of about 200 women between the ages of 18 and 80 that I saw at the pool that day only two were wearing swimsuits. Everyone else was letting it all hang out, the tummy, the wings, the wobbles, the lot. It was the same every day.
I saw lots of bodies in bikinis but I didn’t see many that resembled the ones on the front of magazines that they call “bikini bodies”. That made me happy. It showed how bizarre it all is.
We’re comparing ourselves to ridiculous standards and getting stressed about not meeting them.
Yes, it’s good to be in shape but it’s bad to be scared to bare our midriffs, if that’s what we want to do, based on the front of the magazines. Sure, it’s fine not to want to wear one, it is absolutely a personal choice. But remember there’s not too many men afraid to let it all hang out, and you don’t see many magazine covers telling men how to “tone up for summer”.
I did wear the swimsuit some days, mostly to cut down on applying suncream. They have their uses too.
So, if you are wondering whether you are “bikini ready” don’t look at your body, look into your heart, look at your confidence levels, check your self esteem. If you’re going to spend all your time poolside feeling self-conscious and trying to cover yourself then leave the bikini at home.
But if you feel OK wearing it and want to wear it then do and don’t feel that your body isn’t a “bikini body” too. Because if they make bikinis in our sizes what are we supposed to do except wear them?
Did you know…