It seems like every time we look at a magazine cover or visit a women’s website as the summer sets in, we’re bombarded with advice on how to get our bodies “swimsuit ready.” Well, I’m here to tell you that no matter your shape, or size, or skin tone there is nothing — and I mean NOTHING — that you need to change to put on a swimsuit and enjoy a day by the beach or pool.
Studies show that girls start to worry about their weight as young as age 8, with many going on diets as children to try and manage it. Many of us know what this feels like, and if the first site of the swimsuit section at your favorite store gives you intense anxiety, you’re not alone.
People love to make suggestions about what women’s bodies are supposed to look like. As we get older, we’re constantly told how to make ourselves look younger, as though all of the experiences and wisdom we’ve acquired with age do not mean a thing. After we have a child, we’re bombarded with advice on how to “get our body back,” as if the body that just brought new life into the world somehow needs to go back in time to make itself valuable again. It’s all a bit ridiculous, isn’t it?
Although most of us have taken part in this mentality in certain ways, I’m suggesting a new way of thinking: that no matter what it looks like, EVERY body is swimsuit ready. Every single body is a bikini body. You shouldn’t have to lose weight to feel comfortable wearing a piece of clothing. You don’t have to trim your thighs, tighten your tummy, or firm your glutes in order to wear a bathing suit. No matter what it’s current shape is, your body is perfect.
When I say that your body is perfect, I mean something much more than just what it looks like. Consider for a moment that every day your body performs some incredible functions — without you even having to think about them — all in the effort of keeping you alive. It digests the food that you eat and assimilates nutrients from them to keep you healthy. It eliminates toxins and waste to keep you safe from infection and disease. It breathes the air into your lungs that nourish each and every cell you need to survive. Our bodies are strong. Our bodies work full time for us every day. And often, we forget how magical they are and allow ourselves to become angry and resentful towards them because of the way they look.
If you ask me, it’s time for us to shift the narrative. Yes, you can absolutely want to be healthier and lose weight, but hating your body? Comparing yourself against an image that has nothing to do with the health or wellbeing of your whole, incredible self? That has got to stop.
Along my own journey, I’ve realized that I never had a chance at getting healthier until I learned to respect my incredible body. I’ve come to understand that this body I am in keeps me alive because it loves me, and it deserves to be loved back. When I express gratitude and reverence for it in this way, it becomes my teammate. In that state, I’m my most empowered self.
So wear the damn swimsuit. Say no to shame. Wear your story proudly. You deserve it. You’re beautiful.