You probably think it’s too late for a swimsuit challenge.
Summer is ALREADY HERE! But this isn’t that kind of challenge. If you’re looking for a post about instant abs or how to magic away half of your person in the next two weeks, this is not the place for you.
This summer I challenge you to love yourself in your swimsuit. I challenge you to shut up about it if you don’t and fake it until you make it.
Seven years ago, I was at my heaviest weight.
I was a year post-baby and gaining daily, all the while calculating how many weeks until our family reunion at the beach.
“So, we have 8 weeks left. If I lose two pounds per week, I can be down 16 pounds. I’ll round that up to 20.”
“Okay. I only have 6 weeks left. And I’m up a pound. I’ll get serious this week and lose three pounds per week until the trip. That will get me down 20 pounds before 4th of July.”
This escalated and each week I’d start a diet and each week I’d fall short of my goal. Eventually, I owned the fact that I would never get to my ideal weight before we traveled to the Jersey Shore to spend a week with my cousins.
My cousins work hard to look good. Perfect bodies, perfectly tanned, perfectly preserved. And comparing is super fun so all I could think about was the contrast. Me = puffy and squishy. Them = underemployed swimsuit models.
I pictured how it would go down.
Them – “Hey Katie! Good to see you.”
Me – “I’m fat. Really fat right now. And I feel badly about my body. I’m sorry about that.”
Now I wouldn’t use those words, exactly. But I’d make little digs about my body. I’d call attention to it, all the while trying to hide it behind baggy clothes and big swimsuit cover-ups.
All my life I’ve had this way of calling attention to the things I’m most insecure about. It’s like if I make it clear that I’m aware of the problem, it lessens the embarrassment. At least I’m not fat AND oblivious.
There are a few problems with this:
1. It makes people uncomfortable. What are they supposed to say when I make fat jokes about myself? Should they agree? Probably not. Should they spend their life telling me I’m not fat and I look great or, worse yet, putting themselves down to make me feel better? There’s no win here.
2. It reinforces my own self-perception of being “less-than” because of my weight.
3. My children are listening. What does it tell my sweet kids about physical beauty if I place so much emphasis on the ideal we see in the media and all the ways I don’t measure up?
4. It is absolutely no fun. How much can I really be enjoying life if I’m marinating in a place of self-doubt and shame? No kid ever says, “Remember how much fun we had with mom at the beach when she hid under a towel and refused to join us in the water? She really felt fat. It was great.”
What happened that summer?
So, that summer seven years ago I made a public promise on my blog to keep my mouth shut about my swimsuit insecurities. And I issued the challenge I’d like to re-issue today. And I stuck to it. It was painful at first. I was mortified by how much my body had changed over the years and I felt sure everyone was staring at me.
And then I played in the waves. I buried my daughter in the sand. We collected shells along the beach and I kept my mouth shut about my thighs. By the end of the week, I was comfortable in my skin and I was happy. I connected with people in a way I don’t normally let myself connect when I’m so insecure and exposed. It was a beautiful thing.
This past year my weight’s been creeping back up. And summer is here. I’ve been dreading it. But it doesn’t have to be dreadful. Will you do me a favor and join me once again?
The Swimsuit Challenge
Please commit with me this summer to not flinch, cringe, make faces, or put down your body verbally when wearing a swimsuit. Wear it with pride. Have fun in the water with your kids. Remember that the people who you have the most fun with are not the ones who constantly rip on themselves.
People who constantly tug at their clothes and cover up and talk about their body insecurities become the ones whose body imperfections everyone notices. Because they constantly advertise them. Don’t be that person. Get your confidence on.
Being a confident woman is within our reach! Check out these other inspirational posts that will encourage us to embrace who we are and be our very best selves: