‘If you want a bikini body – put on a bikini’. That’s a sentiment we hear every summer and, while it’s true, it’s not easy for everybody to dress down even on the hot days. Thankfully it seems that more and more women just don’t care what society and media think, and are escaping the summer heat on the beach with their bodies in bikinis. The core of my belief is that all bodies are beautiful, so this column is a little pep talk to everyone who thinks they are not beach ready.
As a fitness coach, I’ve met all kinds of people who joined a class or a gym, most commonly with the intention of losing weight and looking fitter. I am here to tell you, as we are passing into hopefully the height of summer, being comfortable in your own skin is not just about the numbers on your scale.
I know many people who suffer from distorted body image, who look fit and toned on the outside, but inside still only see the flaws and feel like they’re not good enough. I know some of the most beautiful and strong, passionate and on-top-of-their-game women, who still fail to see their own beauty.
So my July column is dedicated to everyone who looks in the mirror and is overly critical: Anyone who has ever been called fat, chubby, ugly or feels unworthy of love. Whatever flaws your body has – injuries, excess kilos, how you were born – your body is your body. It should be celebrated for carrying you through life and not be a reason for shame or guilt.
Of course I am a huge advocate for training and fitness. I think fitness is just as important as love, friendship and humanity for our wellbeing, mentally, as well as physically. It’s important for children from an early age, as movement teaches balance, speed and strength and offers support in being social and playing games together. As we grow older into teenage years and then adulthood, we can still use sport and fitness to challenge ourselves, learn or refine skills, and come together with like-minded people and make it a part of our social life.
Training will boost your mood and make you sleep better at night, and in the autumn of your life, it will keep your body strong and provide more protection for your bones, than if you were not training.
Training for me is more than getting a bikini body, big biceps, flat washboard abs and toned legs. It’s about celebrating your body and what it is capable of. It is knowing that you’re doing something good for yourself, taking time for you so you also can be more for those around you.
This summer, I implore you once again to get up, get out there and enjoy the summer in a bikini or a one piece. Don’t bother with other people’s opinion about how you look. Opinions are like a certain body part – everybody has one, and nobody else needs to hear about it.
However I do sympathise if you tell me: ‘I don’t feel comfortable wearing less clothes even though I really want to because I’m not used to letting my body shine’. If that’s what is holding you back, please read on and get some tricks on how to pamper yourself to feel more comfortable in your skin.
Firstly, I would encourage you to move. Not to lose weight, but to get the endorphins flowing and feel good about yourself. A brisk walk, jog or run, cycle or even dance around in the living room – anything above 10-15 minutes should trigger your endorphins production – would get you there. Remember to tell yourself you did a great job and thank your body for being able to do this. Do it every day if you have the time. It’ll lift the way you feel and think about yourself.
Secondly, look at the seasonal produce. Summer is a great time to eat naturally healthy, as the market is brimming with fresh vegetables and fruit. Make your plates pretty, as we often eat with our eyes first, so take the extra time and make yourself a beautiful plate of food. Do this especially on days where you are tempted to stress or ‘fill the hole’ by eating rubbish or unhealthy processed foods; use this trick to spoil yourself in a different manner than eating sweets. By making your food pretty, you are also also telling yourself, you are worth the extra.
Thirdly, look around you and find the beauty in your life. Nature is all around us so take joy in everything you can. Realise you are lucky, that your body, in this moment, is right where it is, allowing you to see and experience this. It will lift your state of mind and hopefully translate into lifting the way you think about your body as well.
Take these three small actions into the summer to feel better about yourself and your body. And then take your body to the beach and step out of your comfort zone, and join the ‘bikini-body’ army of women who for a moment accept and love who they are. Reclaim your body as it is, don’t sit another summer hiding under a big summer dress or a one-piece, if what you really want it to wear a bikini.
The summer is yours.
Comments and questions are as always welcome at
firstname.lastname@example.org or via Instagram