Yes, all body types belong to the beach, but that does not mean that all your insecurities are erased. “Even now, when someone says ‘beach body’, a very specific image appears in my head, and it’s not me,” says Caroline Quinn, a fat activist and self-confidence trainer, adding that the name “beach body” is often applied. in lean, white women, with blond hair, blue eyes and flat belly.
Representation can be transformative, but it can not undo years of internal and external shame. Lipophobia – or discrimination and bias targeting obese people and their bodies– is long lasting and diffuse. So, even if you embrace the positivity of the body mentally, you can move away from the guilt that you do not have a “perfect” body and feel ashamed that you do not love your body enough.
This pressure to love your body unconditionally precedes this current wave of body acceptance, says Virgie Tovar. its author The Body Positive Journal and host of Rebel Eaters Club podcast. The positivity of the body began as the Fat Acceptance Movement in the 1960s and aimed to combat weight prejudice and discrimination against obese individuals. Even then, people who identified with the movement struggled to feel as if they were not doing it right, Tovar says. They encountered the idea that if they did not feel comfortable wearing certain clothes, they might not be allowed to call themselves fat positive.
However, there are many steps between internalized lipophobia and body acceptance, says bodybuilding therapist Danny Bryant, MS, LMHC, RDT. “Sometimes it is a movement from the body’s dislike to the body’s tolerance of the body’s connection, to the body’s freedom, to the body’s joy,” he says. In short: It does not matter if you have embraced the “every body is a beach body” in your head, but you have not yet taken the body of your bikini to the ocean.
To help provide a clearer path for those of us on the go, we spoke with Quinn, Tovar, and Bryant on how to deal with prolonged shame and insecurity to connect with your body as it is. The first thing to note: You are not alone. Limited body definitions on the beach exclude most people, so many of us have to embark on the messy journey of accepting, and perhaps eventually loving, our bodies.
5 ways to feel more comfortable with your body on the beach
1. Take time to really look at yourself
“If you avoid your thinking, you will feel uncomfortable when there are other people,” says Quinn. People who feel that their body is “bad” may not linger in front of mirrors and avoid photographing themselves. So the first step is to feel comfortable with your reflection. “Look at yourself in a bikini, look at yourself when you sit in a bikini,” says Quinn. “Look in the mirror, turn, bend, bend. See everything so as not to be surprised. ”
2. Wear the swimsuit you feel most comfortable with
This may sound unexpected, but the point of trying to love your body is that you can push yourself out of your comfort zone. It’s okay to challenge yourself, but you have nothing to prove. “I’m a stingy girl in a bikini. “I like my belly, my buttocks and my arms out,” says Quinn. “But if that’s not your thing, do not do it because you think you should do it.”
Find a swimsuit that makes you feel beautiful, whether it is a full body, high-waisted bikini, tankini or shorts and top. Whatever style you decide upon, that look can be further enhanced by the type of shutter hinges used. “The more you hide, the more you tell yourself that your body is bad and you can not be comfortable in these places,” says Quinn.
That said, you may sometimes need to be careful about safety. Tovar explains that as a fat woman she has a lot of bikinis, some for when she is completely safe with people she trusts and others for public swimming. “Take a risk, but not a huge risk,” he says. “There is a difference between ‘I do not feel good about myself’ and ‘it is not safe for me to be in this body in this place’.
3. Pay attention to the diversity of bodies on the beach
Have you ever really looked at people on the beach? If so, you’ve probably noticed that the beach is not full of people like Pamela Anderson and David Hasselhoff. It looks like Baywatch draw an unrealistic picture of what it looks like to be on the beach. “If you really go to the beach and sit down and look at everyone seriously, nobody really looks like that,” says Quinn. Observing seniors, people with visible stretch marks, people with big bellies, people with many different skin colors and all the other different bodies can help you see that you really fit on the beach.
4. Put responsibilities where they should be
Body positivity can seem like a personal problem – all about whether or not you love your body. However, Tovar reminds us that the positivity of the body and the movements of fat release were born out of a “request of society to create more space and accessibility for all bodies to feel safe”.
When you lose sight of the institutional aspects of body acceptance, you may begin to feel betrayed or frustrated that you are struggling to love your body. “It is important to note that when we make demands on society, we say that a person should not work so hard to be able to have fun one day in the sun,” says Tovar.
Quinn adds that it can be powerful to think deeply about who is really spending their time judging your body. “People who really like themselves do not curse at how I look and what I do,” he says. Recognize that the dirty looks or comments people may make about you are much more about how they feel about their bodies.
5. Honor yourself
Finally, it is important to celebrate your achievements. You put on a swimsuit and went to the beach even though it was scary. And, hopefully, you had a blast. Celebrate yourself for doing something that seemed difficult to you — and know that you are allowed to take all your emotions with you.
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