The water…the sound of it, the smell of it, being out on it.
All these things remind me of summer. And I loved summers as a small child. Somewhere along the line I began to despise summer and couldn’t wait for fall to get here, and to a certain degree I still feel that way.
Summers, to me, for many years meant the arrival of swimsuits and shorts and breezy dresses. The very worst things imaginable to have to wear when you feel awful about how your body looks.
Yay! Warm weather! You mean I get to wear shorts that seem to draw attention to the very area of my body I dislike: thick, muscular legs with cellulite at the thighs? You mean I get to show off said cellulite when I sit down and the shorts ride up?
Yay for shorts weather! I’m so happy! Not. Even. Close. To. Reality!
The beach and swimming…cooling off in the lake under the hot sunshine. Bliss! You mean I get to squish myself into a one-piece suit that looks like an elderly woman’s muumuu because that is the only suit that fit properly around my thighs…and even at that I *still* have the bulge above and below the suit edge because the elastic binds too tightly?
Swimsuit weather…finally! Uhh….let’s start the countdown to Labor Day Weekend please!
Floaty, gauzy, flirty fun sundresses for leisure vacation days. You mean I can look forward to my thighs rubbing together so painfully they chafe and it’s difficult to walk normally?
Aaaahhh, sundresses! To the back of the closet you go, never to see the light of day again! Bring on the capris!
It may sound like I’m exaggerating in my stories above…sadly, I am not. This is how I felt each and every summer since probably 5th grade…since I was 11 to very nearly 40 years old.
Summer was like a personal hell to me!
From junior high through college, I was easily the largest and heaviest of my friends–I wasn’t just overweight, I was also not petite in any way. And, at a time in my life when appearance and attention from boys meant everything, it was painfully obvious that what I was, was NOT considered attractive.
So I moved on from that period of my life, learned that appearance wasn’t everything, but still hated mine. Rather than feel uncomfortable in the ways I mentioned above, I opted for a new kind of uncomfortable: covering it all up and sweating to death. No shorts, no swim suits, no sleeveless shirts, no dresses. Capris and polo shirts were my armor. Better to be overheated and miserable, than to show off the parts of me I hated and be miserable.
You probably know my story by now: the last 5 years I’ve transformed my health and body by losing 70 pounds and becoming a trainer/mentor with a mind to help other women just like I was.
I’ve figured out how to eat and move in a healthy manner that works for me.
I’ve begun the far more difficult work of transforming my thoughts and self-worth. But it is here I’m still trudging up that hill, fighting the good fight.
I’ve made some progress…
I’ve made peace with my numbers–I will not weigh 120 pounds, nor wear a size 2…my body is not built small…and I’m okay with that. I’ve made peace with the fact that my body is shaped as it is–and while I can’t wear certain things I’d like, my big muscles mean I’m crazy strong and can sprint like nobody’s business and I really like that about myself.
But, damn, if the approach of summer doesn’t still effect me and send me into a mental tailspin.
The good news is I recognize the pattern for what it is: a faulty one that needs to change!
So what can I do to help make summer *feel* better?
- Relentlessly search for a swimsuit I feel good in…and shell out the dough for a properly fitting one.
- No more cheap Target or Kohls poorly made/poorly fitting suits.
- No more feeling like I have to wear a one-piece suit. I am small busted (very!) with wide hips…in order to find a one-piece suit that fits my hips, the cups are so overlarge the one-piece suits looks ridiculous on me.
- No more resisting a properly fitting suit because of the size. When I shop for swimsuit separates I have to go up several sizes in the bottoms from what I would normally wear for a pants size. I’ve let these numbers get in the way of comfort and fit, simply because I didn’t want to wear that larger size anymore. Who would know? Who even frickin’ cares?? I’m gonna let that shit go!
- Focus on my kids.
- Put on the shorts, despite not loving how I look in them, and get out to have fun with my girls. They don’t see my cellulite, they just want their mom to be having fun with them.
- Put on the shorts, despite not loving how I look in them, and get out to have fun with my girls. They need to see me wearing shorts and not making a deal about it, because at some point they would wonder why I always had my capris on in the stifling humidity…and that is not the example I want to set for them.
- Wear the fun, summer dresses fortheloveofgod!
- I’ve lost a lot of weight…I still have thighs that rub…oh well…I can’t be the ONLY one…so what can I do about it? Get some support undergarments to help with chafing! End. Of. Story!
This was really hard to share! I’m not perfect, I know this. But in my role as trainer/mentor I feel like I have to have all my shit together all the time. How can I teach what I’m not doing 100% of the time?
On the other hand, I think it is invaluable to you to know that I relate and understand your struggles…and that even though I’ve made lots of positive changes for myself, I, too, am still working on me. We are all in this together and everyone has their own shit they are working through.
I propose that we work on enjoying summer more, just as we are!
I propose we put effort into improving our health: move more, eat better, and think thoughts that lift ourselves up rather than tear ourselves down.
I propose we vehemently ignore and diss all the noise that is currently being shoved our way in preparation for the summer season. Do not follow or buy into anything that tells you to get “swimsuit ready” or “bikini body” or “ready for the beach” or “lose that weight just in time for summer”…or any other such ridiculousness. Get healthy and change your habits for your own sake and because you want to–not just because the temp is going up.
I propose we keep working consistently for the healthy changes we want and forget the sensationalism.
Summer is simply a season where we can be outside more, be more relaxed, and soak up the sun. <—– Let’s do that, shall we? 🙂
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