If you would have told me sometime in my earlier life that I would be okay posting a picture of myself in a bikini on this blog- that thousands of people read- I would have told you that you were crazy.
But here we are!
This post was inpsired by an ad that came across my facebook the other week urging people to seek nutrition counseling to get “Bikini Body Ready for the Summer!” The ad featured a photo of some chiseled individuals running across the beach. It makes me sad to think that someone might have seen that ad and felt bad about the way their body looked in a bikini.
When I think back over my life these past ten years or so, there were times when I have been thinner, and there were times when I have been healthier. It took me becoming a dietitian, working with sick people everyday and really learning the ins and outs of nutrition and wellness to understand that being as thin as possible does not always equal being healthier.
The times in life when I was the thinnest, I was definitely not the healthiest. I was either using exercise to cope with emotional problems, under too much stress, not getting enough sleep or losing weight by endorsing disordered eating patterns where I literally thought about food and not eating all the time (back when I was much younger).
I really enjoy life a lot more when I don’t put as much stock in my appearance. This has evolved into me not really caring about how I look in a bathing suit anymore. I will always have shorter legs and thicker thighs. Accepting this is pretty freeing. I could do extreme things to lose a few more pounds, but then I would just be thinner and less happy/healthy. The funny thing is that when I stopped caring so much about the appearance of my body, I realized that other people don’t really care either. And I was always the person projecting those negative feelings onto myself.
I’ve found in my thirties that I feel much happier when my life has a good balance. This means eating super nourishing things most of the time, enjoying some indulgences here and there, staying active, doing physical activity that I enjoy, spending time with friends and family, getting enough sleep and also making conscious decisions that will ultimately decrease stress in my life. When I’m in this really balanced place, I realize that a “bikini body” doesn’t really get me anywhere that having a “non-bikini body” wouldn’t.
If you are a person who looked at that facebook ad and immediately felt bad about your body because it isn’t “bikini ready” this summer then please don’t don’t feel bad. If you have a body and you put a bikini on it then you actually already have a bikini body And if you are reading this- especially if you’re a female- and you’re asking yourself, “How can I lose weight?” then I would urge you to reframe that question. Ask yourself, “how can I be healthier?” instead and I promise you that whatever journey you’re on will get much easier.