I truly regret all of the things that I didn’t do, all of the things that I didn’t allow myself to experience and all of the things that I didn’t enjoy because I was totally consumed with my body shame.
I missed fabulous summers on the beach because I didn’t have a “beach body” and if I actually did go to the beach, the whole time that I was there I felt anxious, ashamed and highly self-conscious.
I was waiting for the “beached whale” comments to be made or I was cringing inside every time I felt someone looking at my body and I felt ashamed to be there, as if I almost needed to apologize for my presence.
Stripping off down to my bathers made me feel sick and exposed. Walking from the “safety” of my towel down to the water to swim and then having to walk all the way back was terrifying and confronting because I imagined that everyone was looking at me and laughing at that fat girl on the beach.
I never really relaxed and enjoyed laying on my towel in the sun because I was too focused on holding my stomach in or worried about how my thighs looked or trying to find a way to sit that didn’t make me look fatter.
Summer was always a time that my body shame and anxiety was magnified 1000%.
Easier and much, MUCH emotionally safer to just stay at home, thinking and hoping that the next Summer after the next diet, would be so very, very different because I would finally have my “beach body”.
I love how things can change.
This morning, I took my son and one of his mates down to my favorite beach on this glorious, Melbourne, Summers day and I took my beach body with me.
I lay on my towel, soaking up the gorgeous sunshine and the sensation of the sea breeze on my skin and felt my body becoming totally relaxed and at peace.
I walked down to the water, laughing with delight with the boys at how cold the water was, and set a strict “no splashing” rule in place until I got my courage up enough to stop inching into the water and dive in.
We jumped and splashed and floated and I made up a great game called “MINE” in honor of the seagulls from “Finding Nemo” which involved me swimming up to one of the boys shouting, “MINE, MINE, MINE” wrestling his boogie board away from him amidst much screaming and laughing and then swimming/running off madly through the water, pushing the board in front of me, still yelling “MINE, MINE” with two 12 year old boys in hot pursuit.
I have to say with a sense of great satisfaction and pleasure that I won most of the battles!
My beach body today is pretty similar to the beach body I have had most of my life.
What IS different is my attitude towards myself and my body.
I honestly had no self-consciousness at all.
I didn’t waste a second wondering what someone else was thinking or saying about me OR my body, I was too busy enjoying every single moment in THIS body that I have right now and it was an absolutely magical day of laughter and play and pleasure.
I have a “beach” body and so do you, no matter what you look like or how much or how little you weigh.
The body that you have right now is the way it is right now.
You can love it and support it and nourish it or hate it and despise it and feel ashamed of it.
Trust me, love and support and nourishment FEELS so much BETTER!
Get out and feel the sunshine.
Float amongst the waves.
Swim in the ocean.
Explore the rock pools and look for shells and build sandcastles.
Lie on the beach and feel the sea breeze on your skin and let all of your body just relax.
Don’t wait to have a mythical “beach body”.
Don’t miss out on another summer or another party or another opportunity for fear that your body is not good enough.
Don’t let your body shame ruin your summer or your life.
If anyone has a problem with your body, remember: It’s THEIR problem, not yours.
Need help letting go of your body shame? Come on over to my website and contact me. I have a fabulous new program in the works to help you eliminate your body shame, heal your relationship with food and give up any guilt about eating.
I am planning many more beach days this Summer, what about you?