Body Image and The Beach
Oh, the beach!
Ladies, when you think of heading to the beach this summer, does that make you excited or anxious? Do you picture relaxing and enjoying the warm sun rays and refreshing water or do you picture feeling exposed and everyone staring at your body?
I truly hope for you it’s the former, but I know for many it is often the latter.
For some reason, every year women feel like they have to get their bodies “beach ready.” Some spare no cost. Expensive juice cleanses are endured, endless crunches completed. Unfortunately, some women avoid the beach altogether because of the way they feel about their bodies.
Ladies, this is sad. I feel sad writing about this. It is upsetting to think that over 50% of women are dissatisfied with their bodies.
I want you to know that no matter what happened to your body during the pandemic, or whatever season of life you're in, your body is ALREADY READY for the beach! The beach is not a figure contest- even if it feels that way sometimes. The beach requires no minimum level of fitness to attend. The beach is not reserved for those with a body fat percentage below 24.
Therefore, you do not need to "prepare" your body for the beach. You owe the beach nothing.
Here is a helpful mantra from Lindsay and Lexie Kite: "My body is an instrument, not an ornament!" You were not put on this earth to be looked at. You are worth so much more than your perception of your appearance.
Now, we can’t talk about body image and the beach without mentioning bathing suits. Some would say that in order to prove that you embrace your body you should go for it and wear that bikini! But remember, you owe the beach nothing. You don’t have to prove your acceptance of your body by exposing it to the world (unless you really want to.) You might find that wearing more fabric actually helps you spend less time thinking about how your body looks and less time tugging at and adjusting your suit. Isn’t that the goal? To spend less time obsessing over our appearance and more time enjoying life’s moments and the loved ones we share them with.
Let’s unpack that.
According to Lexie and Lindsay Kite, “Positive body image isn’t believing your body looks good; it’s knowing your body is good, regardless of how it looks.”
Learning to “love your body the way it is right now” is only a temporary solution. As Portia De Rossi says “if your self-esteem really does depend on how you look, you're always going to be insecure. There's no way you can get around it. Even if you get the perfect body, you're going to age. At some point, you have to take control, shift the focus, and decide that who you are, what you can contribute to the world, what you do and say is so much more important than how you look.”
Let’s get that through our heads- who we are is so much more important than how we look.
Now you might be wondering isn’t this a fitness and nutrition blog? Doesn’t she want us to exercise and eat vegetables? Well yes, I do! But not so that you can feel sexy at the beach. I want you to exercise and eat healthy food so that you can do great things with your life. I want you to have energy to serve others, and live according to your values. I want you to have a long and fruitful life. I want you to be able to enjoy rewards that come after physical challenges, like hiking up a mountain to enjoy the view.
So, here is your permission to go to the beach and have a good time. Soak up the sun after a long winter, and cool off in the water on a hot day. Wear whatever makes you feel the most comfortable. Do your best to ignore thoughts of comparison. Instead remind yourself that your body is an instrument, not an ornament!