I was at the beach today with my 3 kids (2 girls and 1 boy) and it got me thinking about how excited I am for this Long Weekend and the beginning of Summer. Then I started thinking about how many women dread bathing suit shopping and struggle with poor or low body image. Walking around in your bathing suit in front of everyone at the beach can feel intimidating, especially if you have a less “perfect” frame. The thing that I’ve seen over the years is that even women who are thin, fit, small, or have average shaped bodies can still struggle with it because we are culturally conditioned that whatever we have is not enough. We live in a world where if you are confident with your body and say things you love, some people will still judge you for being “too into yourself” or “conceited” yet it’s totally acceptable to body bash things you hate about yourself with friends. Crazy right? I love the body positive movement that is happening and totally wish it was around when I was younger because at the end of the day isn’t everyBODY a bikini body? Isn’t everybody worthy of wearing a bathing suit without fear, shame, guilt, hiding or feeling less than?
My goal? To change the perception or image of what a beach (or bikini) body looks like. It looks like you, me and our girls, our sister, mothers, friends enjoying and celebrating our bodies and having fun doing things we love. Bring on the beach days, summer BBQ’s, SUP sessions, pool parties and time on the water.
What is body image anyway?
Body Image is the thoughts, feelings, beliefs and perceptions of aesthetics that one has over their own body. Basically how you feel about the way your body looks when you look in the mirror. Therefor a poor body image is someone who has low thoughts, feelings and beliefs about their body, or the perception of their body is that it isn’t good enough the way it is. It could be one area or the whole body.
The interesting thing about body image is that you can look great but if your mind or thoughts are toxic you will always find something to pick apart, dislike or aim to change. Women often think that losing weight equals happiness but it’s not always the case. If you can’t love yourself right now what makes you think losing weight will boost your feelings towards yourself? When will it be enough? when do you deserve to love your body? The answer should be right now. Your body loves you so much!
Where does the love go?
When we are kids we typically love ourselves and who we are because we don’t know any different. As bodies changes from adolescents to puberty, your image can change too. Your new image or thoughts towards yourself can be self-inflicted or from comments of others (reminder it’s never ok to comment on someone else’s body you have no idea what they are going through). Body image is linked to self-esteem and self-worth, so often times when we have poor body image self-confidence tends to be lower too.
We live in a society that constantly tells women and girls what they should do to look beautiful. If you want to know what I am talking about Google “bikini body” and see what comes up, I’ll fill you in… it’s a whole lot of perfect bodies in small bathing suits. Go look at the beach and take note that the image we are being sold isn’t real. All bodies are beautiful and deserve love, acceptance and respect. So what’s the issue? Not a lot of people or companies focus on telling girls to love themselves, to focus on developing a healthy relationship with their body, do things that improve their self-confidence, educate girls on how to fuel their bodies in a healthy yet balanced way, how to deal with cravings and listen to their body’s cues. It just doesn’t sell, think of all the money the diet industry would lose if we as a collective just decided to love the body we are in today. And what if we vowed each day to show up and be SO FREAKING GRATEFUL for our bodies and our health. This body is the only one you’ve got, start appreciating it and treating it as the greatest gift.
If we are all pure love and a piece of the Universe (or created from god – insert your view point but we are a part of something larger than ourselves and our families) if that’s the truth then why do we spend so much time hating our bodies?
Imagine a world that was filled with women who saw themselves as goddesses. That inner beauty that radiates from the inside out. That is the kind of world I want to live in.
Having a healthy body image doesn’t mean that you think your body is better than anyone else’s body it just means that you did the work to improve your thoughts & beliefs about yourself. Also the focus is on health, is what you are doing now healthy for your mind, body and soul?
Ok so you might be thinking how do I know if I’ve got to do a little work on my body image? Well I’ve got a mini check list for you here see how many you say yes or no too.
- Do you look in the mirror and dislike your body or areas of your body?
- Do you feel shame, guilt or low feelings when you look at your body?
- Are you currently working against your body? Working out to lose weight doing things you don’t like? Restricting your eating and calorie counting to lose weight? Not listening to what your body is begging for?
- Do you compare your body to any other body and feel less than?
- Do you spend time trying to change who you are and the way you look? Do you find you lose your awesomeness in the process?
- Do you look to celebrities or fitness models as the standard of what your body “should” look like?
- Do you lack self-confidence?
- Do you Hide under clothes, towels, or cover ups because you don’t like the way your body looks?
- Do you follow insanely restrictive meal plans or torture yourself with food rules, restrictions or cycle with fad diets?
- Do you find yourself in a cycle of “being good or eating good” then “eating bad and feeling bad” about yourself?
If you answer yes to one or more of those questions chances are you need to do a bit of work on improving your body image, and in turn improving the way you feel in your body. This also boost your self-confidence so win win am I right?
A big shift with accepting your body is to remember to be kind and compassionate to yourself on this journey.
Here are 5 things that can help you love YOUR beach body today:
- Start looking in the mirror each morning and finding acceptance for each body part. The ultimate goal would be to fall in love with all of it, but if that feels like too much simply appreciate each part.
2. Buy a bathing suit that YOU LOVE. You know the one that makes you feel confident in, shop around until you find one without allowing negative self-talk discourage you. What colour do you look great in? Do you like solids or patterns? Full suit or two pieces? Casual or athletic? Sexy? Ask yourself what you inner goddess wants to wear and find that suit. It exist and will make you feel great about yourself.
3. Begin to change your reference point on what a “body” is suppose to look like – take a peak around when you are shopping or at the beach and avoid comparing but just to create a healthy reference point. I also highly recommend doing a social media detox, follow accounts that leave you feeling inspired and confident in your body, unfollow anyone who makes you feel less than or like you need to “change” something about yourself.
This was so empowering for me, I began to see these beautiful (inner beauty that you can see shining from the inside out) show from the inside out as these amazing women loved and appreciated their bodies. I saw different sized bodies rocking bathing suits and they looked amazing. I have cellulite and it doesn’t define me, it doesn’t make me cover up or feel “less than” or like I need to change my body. I won’t buy your cream or potion. I will focus on my health and appreciating and loving my body. My hope is that you feel the same way too. Remember it is a practice so if it feels hard know it gets easier with time. I had to go from hating my body and slowly healing that relationship.
4. Practice gratitude. The more you can practice being grateful for the gift of your body the more you will find things to be grateful for. Have you ever experienced an illness? or witness someone suffering of poor health? When you find yourself in those situations you can’t help but want to “just feel normal, or healthy, healed” you want to feel like yourself and promise not to take it for grated. Yet we do, we can absolutely take our health for granted.
5. Celebrate your body with your mind, body and soul. Do more things that show your body love, affection, fun, joy, happiness, peace, calm good vibes. Notice when you feel out of alignment, it’s not always easy to have a self-love party. Our inner judge, critic, victim and mean girl can come out and ruin the fun. The idea is bring your awareness to when they appear and to acknowledge that they are there (or that you are thinking or feeling that way) and then just ask them to leave. I know it might sound silly but what’s really silly is not enjoying the body you are in TODAY!
Celebrate with dance, with nourishing food, with movement that makes your body feel so good, connect with your soul. Do more things that make your heart sing, more things that make you feel really, really good in your body.
A bonus tip for you is to journal out how you feel and how you actually want to feel. How do you currently feel in your body? What changes are you ready to make?
Affirmations are another great tool to find self-love and gratitude for your body.
I wanted to share this fun Body Love Journal Booklet to get you fired up and inspired to find self-acceptance, love for your body and rock it confidently on any beach this summer. We are all babes, it’s time to enjoy and celebrate our differences and let the focus be on being healthy, happy, and let our true souls shine.
This Empowered Body Freebie also has 12 Body Love Affirmations that you can print off and place somewhere that inspires you to love your bod.
If this article resonated with you, I would love it if you could let me know in the comments below. I am so passionate about helping more women and young ladies fall in love with their bodies and find ways to create divine health & wellness.
If you found this article or the free journal prompt beneficial I would so appreciate it if you shared with a friend who would enjoy it too. Let’s be apart of the change and create the world we wish to see.
With so much love,