I have a fat body. Not the kind of smooth airbrushed fat body that you see advertising swimwear, I have a fat body with cellulite, rolls and plenty of jiggly bits. I hid my body when I went to the beach, under boardshorts and t-shirts. I forgot the joys of the sun on my skin and the water on my body. Until a few years ago, when I said “eff that, I want to enjoy the water like I used to!” and ditched the boardies and tee in favour of a bathing suit. Then a tankini. Then a bikini. And now I have about ten swimsuits in varying forms.
Find a swimsuit that makes you look and feel great: If you have a large bust, find something that gives you a decent amount of support. If you want something that covers certain parts of you, like your midriff or your upper thighs, get something that covers that part. Get something in a colour or pattern that you really like. My latest swimsuit special has loads of options already and I am adding to it regularly, so hopefully it will help to point you in the right direction.
Start small: Put your swimsuit on in your bedroom. Just hang out in it, by yourself. Get used to how it feels on your skin. You don’t have to stare at yourself in the mirror or take selfies (although you can do both if you really want to!), just get comfortable in your swimwear. Maybe read some body positive blogs in this time.
Now, you have a swimsuit you like and you feel comfortable in your swimwear … but there is probably going to come a time when you have to wear it in public, outside the safety of your bedroom. This is the part where you just have to do it.
Sometimes I like to sit on the beach for a bit before I head into the water. If this sounds like you, invest in some kind of swimsuit cover up (like my kimono), and put it on. I usually wear my togs under a dress, then whip the dress off when I get to the beach and put the kimono on. It will help to protect your skin from the sun and it will keep you covered until you’re ready to reveal how great you look in your bathing suit.
Take note of the other people at the beach or the pool. They are enjoying themselves, swimming and playing, all with different kinds of bodies. They are not looking at you and your body, they are just doing their thing. They may even have their own reservations about baring their bodies at the beach or pool, even if they are fit, toned and tanned! My point is that you can’t sit there and worry about what other people might think of you – you just have to live your life. They don’t care if you miss out on swimming with your kids or splashing about with your friends… but you sure will. Don’t let yourself miss out on another moment!
Come on girls, it’s time to go swimming. I am now the proud owner of the Gisela Ramirez bathing suit that I have been coveting since I shot Cassie wearing it a couple of years ago, and I’m not going to waste a second of this summer second guessing how fantastic I look and feel. I hope I see you at the beach soon!
Photos by Doug Peters / Ambient Light Photography