Recently I went on a business trip to Cancun with several of my male and female coworkers. After a long day of meetings, emails and conference calls, my beautiful athletically built assistant suggested we all hit the beach. OK folks, so normally, I wouldn’t bat an eyelash at the idea of going to the beach. My mother used to joke that I was born in the ocean, because I can spend all day in water. However, the idea of strutting my stuff, cellulite, stretch marks, belly bulge and all while around my toned, tanned and seemingly perfect co-workers was not my idea of fun. I felt vulnerable and exposed, and for the first time ever, I looked for any excuse to get out of putting my curves on display.
While the body acceptance movement has made leaps and bounds over the past few years, the truth is that for many of us the struggle is an everyday battle. Breaking down years of self hate just doesn’t happen overnight. So to get you started on conquering your swimsuit-phobia, I’m sharing my 5 steps to getting out onto that beach and splash splashing with pride.
- Take a good long look at yourself naked. Um, yes, remove the Spanx, the bra, take it all off! While you stare at your reflection, take note of what you see. Look past the so called imperfections; look past the baby scars and dimples. Look at the strong, beautiful woman that you are. Smile. Go head now, just smile. Let the light from your window shine on your face. Now, instead of highlighting what is wrong with your body, identify what you love about your body. Maybe it’s your toned calves from your dancing days, your round backside that you can thank your mom for, or maybe it is the baby scar that reminds you how blessed you are. Feeling good about yourself only comes from working on the demons that we all battle with. You can beat yourself down, tear yourself apart but none of that will change your situation. So go ahead, strip down to your birthday suit, you might be surprised by what you see.
- Pick out a swimsuit that you love and feel confident in. That might be a one piece, a tankini or even a bikini. Again, look for a suit that shows off the parts of yourself that you love the most. If you love your cleavage, maybe opt for something with a plunging neckline. If you have a great stomach you want to show off, maybe pick a suit with cutouts or a super sexy bikini. This journey is about you so don’t be swayed by what anyone says you should or must wear.
- Pamper yourself! Now most women, when they are prepping for a big date, spend a considerable amount of time honoring their beautiful bodies. Whether it’s a long shower, a massaging body scrub, that super rich body cream that costs more than you care to admit or that sultry perfume that makes you feel like a queen. You know that feeling right ladies? Well that is your step 3. Take time to honor your beautiful body and pamper it. Putting on a swimsuit is not a death sentence. Have fun with lotions and gels that get you into that beach vibe. Trust me a little body TLC will go a long way.
- Pull out all the stops. Yes Doll, now that you have your amazing swimsuit, you have embraced those gorgeous curves, now it’s time to play dress up. Getting dolled up for some woman can add even more unwanted stress, so I am going to say that in this department, do as much or as little as you feel comfortable. Now, if you are thinking that the idea of getting all primped up for the beach is silly, well then yes you are right, the idea is silly. However, for most woman, their biggest fear has nothing to do with the beach portion itself but more so with the dreaded walk into the water. You know those few yards that all of sudden turn into miles and you feel like all eyes are on you. Yup, that walk! So go ahead, grab a few accessories, swipe on some lip gloss and throw on that gorgeous sarong. Chanel your best Tyra Banks and make your way out. Trust me, if people are looking at you, it’s because you look so darn fabulous!!
- Last but not least, have fun. People will always talk, judge, and stare, but that is not your problem, that is theirs. Let them feed their own insecurities with hate, because you are working on something greater. You are showing the world that beach bodies come in all shapes and sizes, that beauty is not just a size small and that life’s moments can’t be missed due to fear. Yes, my dear, you are doing that. Own it, love it and celebrate it.
Disclosure: Items in this look were provided by Swim Spot. All opinions expressed are my honest thoughts based on my personal experiences.