SPOILER: Put on a bikini and show off your #realbeauty
Spring is here at last and soon it will be summer, which is beach season. While there are few things more wonderful than enjoying the sun, surf and sand, many folks get anxious about the way their bodies look in swimwear or beach wear. The media abounds with helpful tips and advice about prepping for this high-pressure situation where the fear of public scrutiny can reduce even the most body confident person to a bundle of nerves. From diet tips and exercise advice to extreme fads and insane shortcuts to getting a Beach-Ready Body, it can be confusing and demoralizing.
We’re here to tell you to ignore all of that
. Instead, how about focusing on how amazing you feel, how grateful you are for being healthy and happy, and that you should be relaxing, having fun and being goofy on the beach? If you happen to be a plus sized person, don’t let mean people use their hurtful comments to make you feel shy, hide at home or cover up self-consciously at the beach.
Why not be like Vlogger Loey Lane who went ahead and made a video called Why Fat Girls Shouldn’t Wear Bikinis
about how she’s not going to let any negativity bring her down.
Even gorgeous model Tess Holliday (previously Tess Munster) who is a size 24 says, “I hope #SimplyBekini inspires women to love themselves and their wobbly bits. All women need to do to get a bikini body is to put a bikini on, then they’re ready to hit the beach!” Here’s a cute video of her spreading her message with her signature sassiness:
We’re all praise for two campaigns
that are doing a fabulous job saying exactly this same thing, but in an even more stylish and virally influential way.
Target had started an empowering Body Positive swimsuit campaign
to promote its new collections for all body types. The theme was encouragement for women to have #NOFOMO (a.k.a. “no fear of missing out”) and to shed “any insecurities and getting out there to have the best swim season ever.” It also requested shoppers to tag photos of summer fun with #NOFOMO and to pledge the #NOFOMO oath of promising to get out and enjoy life instead of letting body image struggles hinder their moment in the sun.
And we totally are in awe of Refinery 29’s incredible campaign
called Take Back The Beach
, with inspiration for their readers through examples of Body Positive beach culture coolness from around the world as well as a Here’s what it’s like to lose XYZ pounds
series. Their slogan: “It's Your Body. It's Your Summer. Enjoy Them Both.”
And finally we have three wonderful and generous experts
who share their sensible advice on how to use mindfulness to give yourself a healthy dose of Body Positivity
- Lori Osachy, body image expert and lead therapist at The Body Image Counseling Center in Jacksonville, Florida shares that one of the first rules of achieving a healthy and happy body image is to stop allowing "put-downs" in front of the mirror. "The goal is to retrain your brain how to think positively about your reflection and your body." She adds that even if you don’t believe yourself at first, this habit will still improve your confidence thanks to the effect of cognitive behavioral therapy, a psychological method that stops negative thoughts by replacing them with positive ones instead.
Hot Tip: Even if it means jumping in front of the mirror for a second and saying, “You’re awesome,” try and do it every day till you can spend longer periods having positive self-talk sessions with yourself in the mirror.
- Robyn Silverman, PhD, body image expert and author, adds that one needs to look beyond the scale. She remarks how people tend to get hung up on the number on the scale instead of paying attention to how they feel, irrespective of their size. It’s more important according to her to pay attention to things such as blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure, which may paint a better picture of your health than just your weight alone. She suggests swapping weight-loss oriented goals with fitness goals like keeping your cholesterol level down or training for your first 5K. "Instead of running away from your old body on the treadmill or the StairMaster, work toward a goal that makes you feel accomplished," she says.
- Hot Tip: If an advertisement or TV commercial makes you feel bad about yourself, examine it closer and look for the ways it's trying to sell you something.
- Leslie Goldman, MPH, body image expert and author of Locker Room Diaries advises us to "Treat yourself as you would treat others, and you'll find negative thoughts will lessen over time." She even goes so far as to say you should conduct a detox by staying away from body-bashing friends, fashion magazines with supermodels, or TV shows that portray men and women in an unrealistic, sexist way.
Hot Tip: If a family member or roommate makes you feel bad about the way you look, talk to them directly and establish a ‘fat-talk-free policy’.