DISCLAIMER-- I'm about to get a really heated.
Can we talk about bikini bodies for a second? Great. I am sick and tired of brands and publications praying on our insecurities. After my brother passed away, I didn't just gain a few pounds, I put on over 75 pounds. I don't even know what I weighed at my heaviest because I couldn't bring myself to look at the number on the scale. Losing the 75+ pounds I gained after his passing is without a doubt the second most difficult thing I've done in my life. And the hard work didn't stop once I lost the weight! Then I had to maintain my healthy lifestyle change and overcome the body dysmorphia. When I would look in the mirror, I didn't see the body I worked for, I saw what used to be. I felt like my weight defined who I was and I was ashamed that I had been heavier.
It wasn't until I ran a marathon, two years after I lost the weight, that I finally let go of the idea that I needed to look a certain way in order to be desirable and like what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I literally had to run 26.2 miles to realize that my weight didn't define who I was as a person. That is why I get so angry when I see tweets like this --
I literally felt my blood start to boil when I saw this tweet. I closed my eyes and I couldn't help but think about every single time I looked in a mirror and felt defeated, disappointed and ashamed of my weight. I can't tell you how disappointed I am that "bikini bodies" and "summer bodies" are still a thing. I am all for putting your strongest foot forward but working out to look good in a bikini is an infuriating idea. HERE'S A CURVE BALL! Confidence isn't acquired when you look a certain way. You gain confidence when you love your body, flaws and imperfections!
I wasn't able to actually believe that my flaws and imperfections made me beautiful until that first painful marathon. But once I crossed that finish line, 0 f*cks were given about my size 8 frame because I was the strongest I had ever been in my entire life and I couldn't have been prouder of the body I made huge sacrifices for. I started to feel grateful instead of disappointed. I saw my huge quads and found myself thinking, "Look at this line in my quads! That's a muscle!" Instead of, "UGH if only I had a thigh gap like those models I see everywhere." My running accomplishments outweighed my shame and concerns about how I didn't look. And it was because of this newfound confidence that I didn't think twice about *wanting* to be in a bikini. If I had a chance to go to the beach, I threw my bathing suit on and enjoyed the sunshine because I could give 0 f*cks about how someone else felt and/or feels about my body. I have stretchmarks and cellulite and they aren't something to be ashamed of, they're just parts of my body! And if they make me any less desirable to someone, well you're not my type anyways.
Implying that we don't *want* to wear a bikini just draws a giant circle around the fact that we should all feel insecure about our bodies which then perpetuates that bull shit cycle! IT'S THE CIRCLE OF BULLSHIT! Sure, I can only speak from my own personal experience, but running makes me infinitely happier than I was when I was when I was trying to hit a number on a scale or cross referencing the calories I burned at the gym with what I'd eaten that day. I've been there and I'm never doing it again.
I'm done with allowing shame to be apart of my life. Everywhere I look right now, someone is trying to sell this idea that we aren't enough. That we shouldn't be happy with the way we look because it's not perfect. I'm here to tell you that it's all bull shit. I dare you to go dig out your bikini or bathing suit and put it on right now. Then look in the mirror and ask yourself how you feel. Do you feel ashamed of your weight? Your stretch marks? Your cellulite or your love handles? Well, ask yourself why you feel like you need to lose weight. If it's to be stronger, then GO FOR IT. But if it's so that you will look better in a bikini then I urge you to find a more meaningful reason. If you can't love yourself and your body today, you won't love it when you hit your goal weight. The grass will always be greener on the other side of the scale.
Please remember that every single time you click anything with "summer body" or "bikini body" in the headline, 9 times out of 10 you're being preyed on. Publications and brands know that you're looking for a way to obtain that perfect body **FAST** so that you'll acquire the confidence that you think you're lacking. You already are the best version of yourself right now! Can you work to get stronger? Absolutely! But that should be your motivation, not a bikini body.
If you're looking to make a change, set a goal. Goal weights are fantastic ways to motivate and gauge fitness but think bigger. Make a goal to try a new workout for 2 months or to run a 5K, 10K, half marathon or marathon. When you enjoy the journey instead of suffering at the gym, the finish line, whatever it may be, is so much more rewarding. The experience isn't supposed to feel like punishment, it's supposed to be fun and rewarding! That's the secret. So set a goal and then work on feeling good about the way you look because that's a muscle that requires daily attention. We aren't kind enough to ourselves. We critique every little thing instead of looking in the mirror and simply saying, "I look beautiful today". So do me a favor and start doing that today. You won't regret it. I think you're beautiful just the way you are.
Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.