This is a repost from 2011; one of my favorite blog posts I’ve written and I think it must be helpful as it’s been plagiarised tons of times, ha! But I think this is a great reminder especially now that it’s summer. Enjoy…
One of my biggest insecurities growing up was wearing a swimsuit on vacation, and it was only a few years ago that I got over it – and boy is life so much more fun when you just don’t care! I already talked about how to start loving your body, so this time I am gonna share some of the lessons I’ve learnt in bikini body confidence, so this Summer you can quit hiding behind the beach towel and have fun.
1. That Old Cliché
Let me start off by saying the greatest cliché known to man: nobody is perfect. It’s been said to death because it is true. Nobody is perfect.
We all come in different shapes and sizes. It’s the differences that make us unique, so we shouldn’t obsess about them. Why waste your time? Looking at your body in the mirror and analyzing each part you hate is not doing any good. Instead of looking at your “big arms”, be thankful you actually have two full-functioning arms; because some people don’t. Be thankful you have a healthy body and drill it into your head that nobody is perfect. There is so much more important things to worry about in the world than your jiggly butt on the beach.
2. The Secret
I can remember when I was 13 and in beautiful Costa Del Sol, Spain. I would go to the beach every day, and I never went into the water. Why? Because I was so self-conscious of my body. In school I was teased for being tall and “boney”, I was certain that everyone would stare. And there were boys there! What if they said all the nasty things the boys used to say at school? What if they looked at me and shouted “Skeleton!” as well? I couldn’t bear the humiliation.
Now I am kicking myself because the beach was so, so beautiful. And honestly, how many times does one get the opportunity to go to Spain? I missed the opportunity to go and really enjoy myself because I cared what strangers thought of me. I mean, it’s not like I knew any of them or even remember what they look like now! It just seems so silly now – I mean, who cares what others think, really? Why are stranger’s opinions having any impact on you?
And here’s The Secret: not everyone is looking at you. It’s all in your head. Relax; which brings me on to my next point…
3. Have fun!
Whether you’re at the beach or by the pool, have fun! You are only young once. The secret to being confident is to have fun. When you’re happy and having a ball, the last thing on your mind is, “Can they see my cellulite? Does my butt look big in this suit?” So get out there and play beach volleyball, eat ice cream, read a book or take a dip in the ocean. We are healthy and alive, and so blessed to be able to go to the beach, so have fun and enjoy the moment!
It’s much easier to feel confident about your body in a bikini when you know you’ve taken care of it. Filling your belly with junk food will only make you feel worse and more self-conscious. So eat healthy; but not just for your body, but also for your health. (Need a bit of help for your sugar and junk food addiction?) Of course, indulge once in awhile, but always remember to fill your body with vitamins and minerals. Exercise will also make you feel body confident. Honor, respect and treat your body right.
5. Retail Therapy
… Or should I say, another reason to shop?! Go shopping and find a bathing suit that you love that flatters your body. Look good, feel good, right?
6. Thou Shall Not Covet
I once read a fitness “tip” in a magazine where they suggested to hang a picture of someone’s body you want, so that you would be motivated to keep working out to reach your goal for swimsuit season. And guess who are the most coveted bodies? Victoria Secret models. Um, OK. First of all, they are probably working out several hours a day because it’s their job to look good, so this is unrealistic for the rest of us. Also, we all know that images in the media are airbrushed – every single one of them – so hanging up pictures of hot girls in bikinis is a goal you will never reach; because they themselves don’t even look like that.
Another thing to realize is that these photos have hairstylists, makeup artists, personal trainers and dieticians behind them. Not to mention a great photographer, lighting and editing. This is their job to look good. If we all had a personal style team, we’d all look like Barbie. And that would be so boring, no? Imagine a world where everyone looked like Barbie! BORING! So do not even compare yourself to the bikini bodies of models and celebrities in magazine.
Comparing your body with others is a lost cause because everyone is made different. You can do as many lunges as you want, your bum will not look like JLo’s. And that’s OK. Work on your self-esteem and know that you are worthy and beautiful just the way you are. And drill it in your head that everyone is different – and it’s all beautiful.
7. One step for man, one giant leap…
“Just do it.” “Practice makes perfect.” “Fake it ’til you make it!”
Again, all clichés that hold some truth. I was 16 when I bought my first bikini, and was 17 when I actually dared to wear it; here in Koh Samui, Thailand:
Not gonna lie, it was horrible. I felt weird, overexposed and awkward. But I knew I had to overcome this. At this point, I already had tons of love for my body, but those feelings of being in a swimsuit in front of others still plagued me. I mean; you’re pretty much naked. But I forced myself. And guess what? I noticed that everyone was doing their own thing. Yeah, some people looked, but it wasn’t like they bent over and vomited at the sight of me. I remember a few people acknowledged me, smiled and then left me alone. No one cared – people were getting on with their holiday and didn’t have time to stare and criticize little Renee in her bikini. I couldn’t believe it. All those years of creating those stupid scenarios in my head of what people might do seemed so ridiculous.
After that holiday, I had completely let go of my insecurities of wearing a bathing suit in public. In fact, now I’m the first one in my bikini! You just gotta have the courage to get out there a few times. It’s always hard the first time, but you have to – and it will get easier.
Your turn! Did you (do you?) feel self-conscious when wearing a bikini or bathing suit in public? How did you overcome it? Any other thoughts on bikini-body confidence to add? I’d love to hear.