Thin Enough, Tan Enough, Fit Enough??
I am convinced it happens even to the most beautiful women in the world…. the dread that comes with bathing suit season.
We all feel it. We all hate it.
Every year we are confronted with the terror of taking our clothes off on a gorgeous sunny beach. After we’ve laid out the towels, gotten the kids’ beach toys organized and applied sunscreen to everyone, it happens.
‘Mom come swim with us!’ as the kids enjoy the sunshine.
At that moment we are full of self doubt and criticism.
‘Why didn’t I diet sooner?’
‘I could have exercised more.’
‘Why did I have that second glass of wine last night. Ugh!’
And so, we take off our sundress and obsess. We find ways to cover our stomachs. We use a towel to cover our legs until we are in the water. We ruin an amazing day by obsessing about how to cover our tummy, how to lay so that our breasts are a bit less floppy and our hips a bit more toned.
My Personal Journey to Body Confidence
I miss the freedom I felt when I was a little girl. I couldn’t wait to get in the pool or ocean. I lived in my bathing suit and didn’t have one little crack in my self love and body confidence.
Having grown up on the beaches of Southern California, I have always loved the beach. My summers were spent there and the So Cal surfer lifestyle revolved around sunny days on the sand and nights around a bonfire.
Somewhere, sometime it happened. Self doubt. Self loathing. Comparing myself to my thinner, taller friends.
I started crazy diets every springtime, convinced this year I would slay in my new bikini. And every year, June would creep up on me and I would punish myself for having been too lazy and undisciplined.
But several years ago, something changed.
I was still working at my spa in downtown Milan, it must have been April or May - basically I was performing anti cellulite massages all day every day.
One day, just as the weather turned really hot, one of my favorite clients came for her weekly massage. She couldn’t have been more than 27 years old, engaged to be married to the love of her life. A beautiful girl, huge eyes, curly hair, her body was muscular and curvy.
As I massaged, she confided to me that her fiance and another couple had decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and had rented an apartment for the weekend in Liguria. She was terrified.
She was so ashamed of her body - bear in mind she was young, curvy and fit - that she was doing everything in her power to make sure this weekend did not happen. She thought about faking sickness, lying about a work commitment, literally anything to not get into a bathing suit in front of other people.
It was so sad. She was willing to lie to her fiance, forfeit a much deserved beach weekend to stay in hot and muggy (disgusting) Milan because she was terrified of her body being judged.
As she talked, I thought about the beaches of Italy.
They are full of retired, elderly men and women wearing their bathing suits from morning until night without a care in the world.
Grannies with their granny bodies just rocking it. Grampas with their big bellies hanging over their speedos playing cards and bocce all day long laughing and having a grand time.
And that’s when I realized it. I had never once in all my life ever looked at another person on the beach in a critical way. I had never judged anyone because of a few jiggly bits, because of stretch marks, because of cellulite. Never. I had never even noticed because I was so caught up in my perceived problems that nothing else even came onto my radar.
With one exception. The people who enjoy themselves. I always notice the people who were enjoying themselves, freely, happily running up and down the beach without a single worry.
You see, I finally understood that we create these dramas in our own minds. The judgment, the criticism all lives in our OWN minds.
Moral of the Story
All you can do is take the best care of yourself that you can. Drink water. Get enough sleep. And care for your skin every day. Having healthy, toned skin will make a huge difference in how you see yourself and the confidence you carry when bathing suit moments happen.
Using a Clean Beauty Swiss Skin Polish every day will not only give you an amazing tan, which is my favorite beach vacation souvenir, but your skin will be toned, firm and super hydrated - the beach body trivecta!
I have worked hard to get back to that carefree, love myself in all situations mentality. I will not pretend that I proudly march my body down to the water’s edge without a care in the world.
But each year it is getting easier to head out there and build a sand castle with my kids, jump off the diving board, play, laugh and enjoy my summer.