You’re being robbed. Of a peaceful, enjoyable, fulfilling, present, kick-ass summer/beach season because you likely feel pressure to have a certain beach body, and i’m sick of it. I’m guessing you are too, which is why you’re here reading this post.
Year after year, people start getting antsy leading up to summer/beach season when they SHOULD be just getting excited. It’s one of the biggest times of year for the diet industry touting “beach body” programs.
Listen. If you wanna drink some green juice and focus on your health a little more, I’m all for it. What I’m not co-signing though, is the idea that you must be a certain size/shape/weight to enjoy the beach, pool, park, or wherever else you end up revealing more skin this summer.
We’re not here for it.
We’re here for fed girl summer. Fed hot girl summer. FED BIG HOT GIRL SUMMER.
(Stole this last one from a client, giving credit where credit is due!)
Why do people feel uncomfortable about their bodies at the beach?
First of all, the reason you feel uncomfy at the beach has nothing to do with your body.
Feeling uncomfortable in your body has everything to do with our society’s views on bodies, and not the actual bodies themselves.
In other words, we all agree that a $1 bill has the value of $1 because we’ve agreed on it. It’s a social construct (an idea that has been created and accepted by the people in a society.)
So, if we collectively decided that all bodies are inherently beach bodies, simply by just being a body at the beach, then it wouldn’t be uncomfortable for anyone anymore.
And a LOT of companies (namely Beach Body lolz) would go out of business.
Reminder: people and companies profit off insecurities. What better way to profit than making sure that EVERY SINGLE SUMMER SEASON there’s an influx of new customers determined to shred n’ shrink themselves so they can “be ready” for the beach/pool/swimsuit.
The beach isn’t uncomfortable because of your body, it’s uncomfortable because of the social construct that a body-obsessed, weight-focused culture has developed around what kind of body apparently looks “best” in a bikini.
Let’s change the game. ALL bodies are beach bodies.
I work with SO. MANY. CLIENTS. who are like, “But Lexy, I’m NOT _____ (going to the beach, dating, having a baby, going wedding dress shopping, etc) unless I lose weight.”
Generally, after a few months of collaborating and doing some deep soul work together, these same clients tell me “OMG I’m dating!” or “I’m pregnant!” or “I went to the beach!” … yet their bodies didn’t change. Their relationships with their bodies changed.
So today, I’m drawing directly from how I coach my clients and sharing a process with all of you.
(And let me first acknowledge: YES, our society is cruel and harmful towards certain types of bodies. People in fat bodies are bullied, shamed, ridiculed or harassed and even receive stigmatizing, unequal healthcare.
But our culture isn’t going to change overnight. And it’s definitely not gonna change if we keep allowing it to be an asshole. So what can we do? We can change our own relationship with our body. Just because our society says you have to hate your body, doesn’t mean you have to.
So, give it the middle finger! And decide right here, right now, that diet culture doesn’t get to rob you of an awesome summer!
How to show up and feel your best in your CURRENT beach body
Step 1: Accept that other people’s opinions of you are none of your business. My therapist told me this once, and I was like ummm yes it is! But when you think about it, it’s true. People are gonna people. There’s not much we can do to control that.
If someone judges you, it says everything about them and literally nothing about you, right? Their opinion has nothing to do with you. And if they’re a jerk, they would never be satisfied even if you were a few sizes smaller. They would find something else to bully, because… That’s what bullies do!
And! Often times, people are too busy thinking about themselves to even care what you’re doing!
Step 2: Validate your own feelings.
It makes perfect sense why you feel hesitant about throwing on a swimsuit and strutting your stuff in front of other people.
It’s common to feel insecure and uncomfortable because all of us are living in the same messed up world that perpetuates completely untrue and harmful ideas about body size equating to worth, value or happiness.
Step 3: Look at your options and consider the costs.
Option 1: Say no. To the beach, pool, etc.
But what’s the cost of saying no?
You miss out on that experience, that time with loved ones or just with yourself, that soothing sound of the waves, that feeling of Vitamin D on your skin, the refreshing feel of floating weightlessly in the pool, etc.
You give your body insecurities one more day of controlling your decision-making and the kind of life you are living. And honestly, they keep getting stronger. What we feed grows!
Option 2: Say fuck off diet culture, and go for it!
Find a bathing suit or summer outfit that fits and feels comfortable, aim for good enough, people with whom you can completely be yourself, and an activity that will bring you joy, and get yourself there STAT.
What’s the cost of saying yes? Well, you may endure some initial discomfort simply in the newness of this sensation – exposing so much skin or sitting on a towel on the sand or being in a dress at a cafe, etc.
If this is new for you, it may take some adjusting as you remind yourself: I deserve this experience. This experience is here for ME in my NOW body.
Here’s a quick, recent client story. Not about the beach, but same idea:
“I’m walking the pond near my house and started my walk wearing biker shorts and a sweatshirt because I didn’t like the way I looked in any of my tank tops. Of course I started sweating because it’s 80 degrees out and I’m wearing a sweatshirt so I decided that even though I notice I’m not feeling comfortable or loving the way I look in my outfit, I deserve to be comfortable.
So I’m wearing my biker shorts and a sports bra. And guess what… I don’t feel that bad about myself and literally no one else cares! I’m always so worried about what other people think of me and they just truly don’t care. I need to just start doing things for me without worrying about everyone else around me!”
I loooove this energy. This is exactly the goal! It’s okay if you’re not head over heels in love with every inch of how your body looks, it’s okay if you don’t even like it! Live life anyways.
Now, be as present as possible in your CURRENT beach body!
Since it’s impossible to think of two things at once (think of a porcupine, and think of what you’re gonna make for dinner at the same time – you can’t!) we want to replace any self-conscious body focus with mindfulness and tuning in to the experience 100%.
Focus INTENTLY on the moment. How does the sun feel on your skin? How refreshing is that cool water you get to float in?
Try your best to be present with your PURPOSE for going to the beach. Your friends want you there. Your family wants you there. YOU want you there. And your body DESERVES to be there!
Every time you stand up against those assholes in real life or the obsessive/negative part of your own brain, it gets quieter.
When you keep making the decision to CHOOSE life experiences regardless of your body size, you improve your relationship with your body.
You respect it, care for it, and give it the experiences due any and all humans. And you’re GROWING the part of you that’s your truest, healthiest, happiest self.
This creates more positive body image – which isn’t believing your body looks good – it’s knowing your body IS good, regardless of how it looks.
“But this is REALLY hard for me to accept my current beach body, in a larger body”
You might be thinking, “it’s easy for her to say, she’s not in a large body.” And you would be right. It is easy for me to say. Which is why I say it. I will use my thin privilege to shout it from the rooftops until society changes it’s dumbass mind about this shit.
Rather than being another voice in your ear making you feel like you’re not good enough, because I don’t believe that.
I’ve seen too many people hold themselves back in life, and from the beach in particular, because of their limiting beliefs about their bodies – unkindly given to them by society. You CAN choose to refuse this narrative. You CAN write a new story.
But don’t take it from me, listen to my clients:
“Even at my smallest weight – I remember feeling SO uncomfortable at the beach. I obsessed over my body on vacation to the point that I wasn’t present at ALL. Now I’m a good amount above that weight, and I’ve never felt more comfortable in my bathing suit or at the beach than I do today.”
So, where did this body confidence and comfort come from?
It’s certainly not from shrinking bodies obsessively. Instead, it’s from developing a more positive body image. And from approaching your body with acceptance, respect, care and compassion.
Now please go enjoy your summer/pool/beach time!
Life is WAY too short. I’m writing you a prescription to go to the beach with your body as is, okay?
Instead of all this talk about “summer bodies” and focusing on how that body looks, could we focus on laughing with friends, eating delicious food, riding bikes along the beach, swimming in the ocean, sitting by the lake, or hiking new mountain trails?
Let’s celebrate our bodies for what they DO for us and for the unique and beautiful souls they house. Let’s dream about how we can live bigger, fuller lives than ever before.
My closing thoughts:
BUY THE SWIMSUIT. GET TO THE BEACH. LIFE IS TOO SHORT.
Live for you, not for “them.”