I’m going to talk today about another societal construct that infuriates me no end.
The Bikini Body Guide
There are so many GET YOUR BODY BEACH READY and IT’S HOLIDAY TIME, CAN YOU STILL FIT INTO YOUR BIKINI? memes and magazine articles circulating just now. Just like every other year as the weather (supposedly) starts to brighten and the air gets a little less nippy.
If you know me at all, you’ll know my feelings on these. I can’t stand them.
They force this idea onto society that bikini wearers can only be busty, flat stomached, round hipped, long legged women with perfectly smooth legs, a dazzling smile and not a bead of sweat in sight.
It’s all lies.
Equally, though, I sometimes find the whole “To get a bikini body, put a bikini on” rebuttal a little too simplistic. For some of us, who are perhaps more prone to a lack in body confidence or have never before bared their belly outside the bedroom or bathroom, it is not as easy as slipping into a two piece and running towards the sea Baywatch style, desperately hoping you don’t accidentally flash your tatas to the world.
IMO, there are a couple of steps between deciding to buy a bikini and doing a PamAn along the golden sands. Here’s my 4-step bikini body how to guide for all of you planning your holibobs this summer.
Bigging up your body
The first step to buying a bikini is actually finding the love you have for your body. This may come naturally to you; you may be incredibly comfortable with how you look.
Or you may struggle with that horrible, terrible, oh-so-convincing voice that pipes up every time you start to find your confidence that tells you flat out that you can’t or shouldn’t wear a bikini.
So, to begin your bikini body journey, you need to stand in front of your mirror. You can strip down to your skivvies if you like, there’s no right or wrong way to do this. But you have to look yourself in the eye and find your beauty. Look at the parts of you that make you go “Heck yeah I look good”. Appreciate them. Hug them. Tell yourself you love them.
Then go to the bits you maybe wish weren’t on show when you wore a bikini. Give them a long, hard look. Accept them for how they are. Maybe you’re in the process of changing them, maybe you’re not. Understand that this is the stage they’re at now. And they’re beautiful.
You have likely lived with those parts of you your whole life. They’ve grown with you. Propped you up on exam tables. Been a cushion for someone to rest their head on you. Moved you across a dance floor or acted as a table for your plate when you’re eating dinner in bed. Maybe it’s the source of your obnoxiously loud or mouse-like sneezes. Perhaps they jiggle when you laugh or run.
They’re the building blocks that create you – the things that help make the glorious human that you are.
Buying a bikini
This is potentially harder than just rocking up in Primark and picking a pretty pattern. There are shapes, sizes and the whole separates issue to battle through first. I own a pair of breasts. They are quite nice breasts. They tend to fit into a size 14 t-shirt without much complaint.However Primark’s t-shirt sizes for boobs don’t work well for me.
And even if my boobs did fit the size 14 top, there’s no way my butt is squeezing into the same sized bottoms that come in the matching set. It may be £12, but the savings enjoyed by my bank account will soon pale in comparison to the loss in my confidence as I hope that somehow my butt will not burst straight back out those bottoms.
There are lots of different places to buy bikinis from. Shop around, find the style that suits you and make no compromises. You’re going on holiday, you want to feel good. Don’t try and force yourself to wear something you’re not comfortable in.
Hitting the beach
Accept that, if you’re a little short on the body confidence front, you won’t be the only one. When you walk onto that beach or to that poolside, remind yourself that while you’re so busy worrying about how other people see you, many others will be thinking the same. Then there will be those too busy enjoying their holiday to notice who’s wearing a bikini and who’s in a turtleneck.
So much of what those magazines peddle at us is nonsense – but the biggest lie of all is that the general public’s opinion of your looks matter in any way. This couldn’t be further from the truth. When you truly find yourself believing that the only opinion of any value is yours, you’ll start wearing your bikini for you and not the rest of the world.
Self Appreciation Time
Take a selfie. Give yourself a wee hug. Or another mojito. Eat a whole watermelon or have a burger and dessert.Whether you share your love for your body with the world, or just yourself, is up to you. (Personally I’d appreciate you all filling my Instagram feed with your bikini bods, but that’s just me.)
Just make sure to take some time to really appreciate the fact that you look good, you feel good and (if you’re like me and rarely go for practical holiday beachwear) you’re going to come home with some interesting tan lines.
The whole point of this 4 step guide to a bikini body is to highlight the hypocrisies of those magazines that promise to get you “beach ready” in 4 weeks. The fact of the matter is that if you have booked your holiday you’re beach ready.
The trick is to find the love for yourself to wear a bikini that those magazines may try and convince you that you’re not allowed to wear them. They are made in all sizes for a reason.
Wear that bikini proudly and loudly.