Bathing Suit Anxiety – Body Talk

bikini
What can I say about learning to love your body that hasn’t been said before? We all know that numbers shouldn’t mean a thing. That self-deprecating and depriving yourself of food only leads to stuffing your face in front of the TV. That the media is bad. That being healthy is more important than being skinny. We get it. 

But do we remember it when me most need to?

Next week I leave for a week-long vacation at a Jamaican resort with my entire family. Excited doesn’t begin to explain what I’m feeling inside. The beach is my happy place.

Yet, here I am again, close to tears, as I try on my various bathing suits. A wave of rage and hate rolls over me as I scrutinize every inch of cellulite, every stretch mark, and every extra inch of fat that hangs over the thin layers of spandex. 

I’ve come a long way since I was the 22-year-old girl who ate under 500 calories a day, glued herself to the treadmill for hours and thought maybe she might be worthy of a happy life if I was just 115 pounds.

In the past 10 years I’ve grown out of my need to achieve the “perfect” body. I found happiness in my 150 pounds, in life and in love and matured. 

But then why does that starving girl take over my body while I’m in the dressing room of Old Navy, pinching at my hips and thighs and telling myself I look disgusting? She makes me feel like the girl writhing on the couch in pain on Sunday morning, complaining of the worst hangover ever and exclaiming, “I will never drink again!”. Yes you will. 

No matter how many inspirational quotes on body image and self-love that we pin on Pinterest, no matter how strong and muscular we make our bodies, no matter how often we flaunt about self confidently, that self-doubt always finds a way to creep back in.

I fill my head with these thoughts because when I’m trying on bathing suits I picture the perfect woman lounging on the perfect beach.

You’ve seen her too. she’s in every single advertisement, commercial, magazine, weight loss article, celebrity gossip magazine. She’s ingrained in our brain since childhood, haunting us, telling us, ” I have it all! men want me, women was to be like me. I rule everything and I’m so happy!”

Lies. Deep down we know she’s lying to us, right?

She’s not happy. Being happy means that you must feel. And she can’t feel because she’s merely an object to be admired. A pretty little thing for us all to gawk at and admire. Her toned legs and perky breasts are no different from a sand sculpture on the beach. 

No one looks like her on the beach. The beach is messy. If she were real, she’d be smothered in greasy spf 50 sun tan lotion, with sand lodged in places unmentionable. The wind and salty air will have created a rat’s nest of her hair. (Seriously have you ever seen “mermaid curls” on the actual beach?) She’d be bored out of her mind trying to sit and look pretty, missing out on all the fun. 

By comparing ourselves to her we are participating in self objectification.

We are viewing ourselves as objects, making it impossible for us to be anything but. We are socialized to think we will always be less than if we are not perfect. Perfect isn’t for humans. 

You know what makes me feel beautiful at the beach? Playing in the waves, body surfing, sailing, getting lost in a good beach read, acting silly with my husband at the swim up bar, running on the beach. This is what makes me beautiful.

Yet  those thoughts never cross my mind while staring at my reflection in the dressing room back at home.

While trying on your bathing suit, focus on all the fun you will be having in it, rather than what your reflection is telling you. Step away from the mirrors and reflect on your memories and hopes of adventure instead. 

I always stress before a vacation but once I’m on vacation I’m having way too much fun to be bothered about the way I look in my bathing suit.
 
So I must limit the time of scrutinizing of myself. I’m not an object to be studied. I should stop the examination after I discover a suit has a nice pattern or color, covers the pieces I want covered and will stay put while I’m swimming and running. I must stop treating my body in a bikini like an object and more like a vessel for allowing me to have fun. 
 
I don’t want to bring home memories of regret of sitting in my beach chair agonizing over my stretch marks and fat rolls. 
I want to remember how good those multiple desserts at the buffet tasted and the endless frozen drinks cooled me down. I want to remember acting like kids again in the ocean with my siblings and husband and the the way my husband looked at me over cocktails.
 
I want to remember the way the sun and the ocean air and the fun with my loved ones made me feel simply beautiful.  
 
Mr. Thomas & Me

8 Ways to Motivate Yourself To Workout (when you really don’t want to)

8 ways to motivate yourself to workout

I try to exercise around 4-5 times a week, whether it be a run, a fast walk, or body pump or cardio class. I consider working out one of my top hobbies – I love the endorphins, I consider taking care of my body and brain a top priority in my life, and it’s a major stress reliever for me. Let’s also not forget that I have to balance out my intense love for ice cream, cheese, and carbs.

Yet, there are many days when the last thing I want to do is drag myself to the gym and workout for 60 minutes. I want to go home and just crash or be lazy.

exhausted-gif-1

I’m the queen of making up a million reasons why I shouldn’t go. It’s raining. I’m hungry. I should do laundry. I have cramps. I had a long day. It’s going to be too crowded. I will after I take a nap. I deserve a day off. I want ice cream.

I need a routine and I need motivation.

Here are my top ways of keeping myself motivated to work out, when I really really won’t want to.

1. Tell Yourself You’re Only Going to Workout for 15 Minutes

They say that 80% of success is simply showing up. As soon as I start a work out I almost instantly get into the “groove”. So by telling myself I’m only going to walk for 10 -15 minutes,  barely even pushing myself, I get myself started. My body starts to wake up after about 5 minutes and soon enough I  find myself running at full speed and nearing the end of a 45 minutes workout. I’ve never ever regretted a workout.

2. Reward Yourself

Set up small and instant rewards for yourself. For example, I tell myself that I can have uninterrupted couch time and binge on my favorite TV shows the evening after a work out. Maybe a long and relaxing bubble bath, a night free of chores,  or a bowl of your favorite snack is an incentive for you.

3. Bring a Buddy

A work out buddy holds you accountable and makes going to the gym seem like more of a social activity. Help each other, push each other. Make it fun!

4. Give Yourself A Results Goal

Print out a picture of a new dress or bathing suit you’d like to buy for the summer. Make the destination of you summer vacation the wall paper of your phone or work computer. Look at photos of you in a healthier state. Visualizations of goals I want to meet help me realize that they are in the near future – meaning I better get my butt in gear sooner rather than later!

5.  Put Out You Gym Clothes The Night Before (or wear them all day!)

If you go to the gym after work, pack your gym bag and put it in your car the night before. Or, if you can, wear a part of your work out gear to work. I’ve been known to wear my sports bra under my work day sweater or top (I work in a very casual office though). If you’re a morning exerciser lie out your work out clothes right next to your bed so you can’t miss them. Better yet, if you need a real push,  sleep in them!

6. Remember How Good You’ll Feel When You’re Done

As I said above, I never ever regret a work out once I complete one. Try to visualize how amazing you’re going to feel after your run. Those endorphins are game changers! If I’m tired – I wake up. If I have cramps or fatigued feelings – working out always improves them. If I’m feeling depressed or anxious working out helps resolve some of those issues. Oh and that sweet burn, toxin release, and feeling of accomplishment! Can’t beat it!

7. Stay Positive. Smile

This may sound obvious, or even a little cheesy, but nothing will kill your motivation like a negative attitude. I find that if I make a firm intent in the morning to work out after work and smile while thinking about following through with it, I’m much more likely to end up working out. By the way, smiling helps me when I’m actually in the middle of a run or a body pump class as well. When I feel like I can’t push anymore, I break out in a big smile and it helps to open up my brain a little. (Remember mind over matter) Try it.

To help you smile here is a totally weird gif of poodles and “she poodle” doing aerobics:

workout poodles silly weird

8. Think About The Money Being Wasted

Think of the money you are wasting by underutilizing your gym membership. I pay a monthly fee for my gym membership but I like to look at it as a per day charge.  My husband and I pay $72 a month – which comes down to $2.32 a day. If I don’t go for 5 days in a row – that’s wasting $11.60. I would never just throw out $11.60 on anything, or even $2.32. You’re paying for it, use it!

What motivates you to keep up with your workout routine?

xoxo Katie