Who wants an ideal beach body?!
My guess is that probably everyone reading this answered "ME, ME!"
Well, I am going to help you get that ideal beach body. However, we need to FIRST re-evaluate what your ideal beach body may be. You may be surprised that it may be different than what you think.
When you imagine your ideal beach body, what do you image?
Take a minute and reflect.
Can I safely say that all of you imagined a body that gives you confidence?
With this practice, you probably imagined one of two things.
- You imagined a certain body type or look.
- You imagined yourself strutting worry-free down the beach, playfully laughing, exuding confidence, comfortable in your body.
Now….let me ask you a question. Have you every thought about separating the two ideas above- separating that desired body type and that desired confidence? Do you think it may be possible to have that ideal beach body in the body you currently have? Do you think that it may be possible that what we actually need to work on to gain that ideal beach body has nothing to do with changing our bodies at all?
This may be a TOTALLY new concept to you. You may have never even considered this idea before. You may believe that there is only one way to achieve that ideal beach body. I know this idea is new and therefore probably hard to even consider so I put together an exercise to help you to start thinking about this concept.
- Imagine those people throughout your life (past or present) that exuberated confidence while in their bathing suits. This could be a friend, family member, someone on TV, or even someone you just happened to notice on the beach.
- Imagine that person as you saw them on the beach or at the pool. Imagine the attitude, mood, confidence, traits, vibe, how you thought they felt, and how they may have made you feel.
- Think about their physical characteristics. What did they look like? Did they have a larger body or smaller body? Were they short or tall? Did they have brown hair or red? Etc.
- Do these people you imagined all have the same body?
- Do all of these people have the body you may believe is the only way to have a beach body?
My guess is that they probably don’t. My guess is that the physical body type you picture for yourself is not the body that these real women have. My guess is that many of these confident women you look up to have all types of different body shapes and sizes. My guess is that you probably look up to them because they appear happy, content, and comfortable in their bodies and THAT is what you want.
Growing up, what I thought I needed and what I really wanted were two different things. It wasn’t until I really challenged these ideas and analyzed what I truly wanted, along side my values, that I started to really achieve that ideal beach body “aka confidence.” Although I tried to manipulate my body into what I thought would give me confidence, I would look up to beautiful women of all shapes and sizes throwing their head back in laughter at the beach, not covering up ashamed of their body, enjoying themselves. This didn't match up. Looking at a type of body that was not mine and that seemed so out of reach if I wasn't practicing totally unhealthy habits only left me defeated. So what did I really want? Confidence. It was never a different body I needed.
What do you really want? Do your values and true desires match up with what you believe is your ideal beach body? Do you want an "ideal beach body" or "your happy healthy beach body?"
What if we can skip the body manipulation...
and go right to the confidence piece?
Addition steps for confidence in your bathing suit this summer:
- Pick out the bathing suit that makes you feel comfortable, not one that you think you need to wear. For me, that is a one-piece that hugs me in all the right places.
- Continue to imagine that person/people you imagined in the exercise above.
- Surround yourself with those confident people of all sizes whether it is in real life or social media. Give yourself constant reminders.
- Remember that you don’t have to love your body right now or even like it. However, as you move toward liking/loving your body, try first respecting it. Try to focus on the parts you love rather than the parts you don’t love so much. It could be your eyes, your hair, your bum, your waist, your toes, anything!
- Enjoy your summer. Try to be present with family, friends, and the adventures you have rather than putting all your energy into thoughts about your body.
- Be patient and show yourself compassion.