Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Do you love who you are (in a bathing suit)?

So, if things had gone according to plan, I would be writing this post from the beach in Turks and Caicos where I was supposed to be as of yesterday. We had coverage from Granny and the nanny, a few days off from work and credit from a trip we postponed in July. This time, it wasn’t a tragic event but a mishap on skis by my 9 year old that led to our decision to stay put.

He has since graduated to a brace (better/less smelly) and has the Tom Brady injury, a fact he loves.
Although I didn’t have the beach experience, I did have the pre beach experience or anticipation. What works from a body and body hair standpoint in ski clothes doesn’t cut it on the beach. I followed some pre-beach protocol and for the most part cut out the 3 C’s.

There are times I draw inspiration from articles in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal or The New England Journal of Medicine. This time, with the beach on my mind, I was moved by something in the scholarly US Weekly issue 884. It wasn’t the thought provoking cover question “Do Cheaters Ever Change” (I say they do not) rather it was one of the “Hot Pics”.  The photos that caught my eye were of  Julianne Hough, the girlfriend of American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, jumping off a big boat  humongous yacht. In the photo above she’s doing an impressively  graceful dive. In the other images she was being goofy and jumping into the water like a child would off a diving board (like my son would if not sidelined L).  There is nothing self-conscious about her despite the tiny swimsuit and paparazzi lurking that I assume she new about.  The caption read, “I love who I am and I’m going to go for it and have that confidence”.

I know nothing about this woman but I know a statement like that, regardless of abdominal prowess, is unusual. It’s very different from the way I think or many clients think. If nothing else, don’t we worry that teeny swimsuits will not stay in “their positions” during water sports? I was with a few friends after a workout class today and we were talking about weight. One fit friend said, “when I mention gaining weight my husband says he doesn't even notice what I'm talking about.” We all remarked it would be nice if we didn’t notice when a few pesky pounds creep on and that her husband is very well trained. So what to do to "love who you are" more?
  • Use Affirmations- when that negative talk starts counter it with something positive. When I’m running I often say “I’m lucky my body works” or “lucky to be able to run”. Sometimes saying I love my ________ (fill in body part of choice) can work nicely too. 
  • Weight train- feeling strong is a great confidence booster. Whether it’s actual weight training or barre classes make sure you’re not just doing cardio.
  • Give a compliment. It should be honest but you never know the boost saying some positive can give someone else. I think women are too stingy with giving other women props. 
  • And when all else fails, grab a big cozy sweater as I do at the end of many ski weekends, anything could be lurking under there. That's one nice thing about being in New York versus Turks.
It's one thing to change your body but another to change how you feel about your body and that's totally within your control.
Do you think Julianne's confidence is unusual (for a female)? What do you do to love yourself more? And do you think cheaters change?
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  1. I'm sorry to hear that you missed your vacation! But I' happy to hear your son is ok. IT sounds (looks) like a painful experience.

    I don't think cheaters change. My HS BF cheated on me, however, and I think he will change, because high school is a WAY different time. But if a man cheats in his 30s/40s or beyond, he won't change.

    I am impressed with this women's confidence, and I'm sure it's real. That's probably how she wound up with Ryan Seacrest. Men LOVE confident women! She's probably had work done to make her more confident. Well, I'm making assumptions, but that's what I believe!

  2. Interesting Gina does that physical improve the mental or not? Some women can look great (work or not) and still not "love" themselves. Agreed confidence is attractive. Thanks for good wishes, he is on the mend.

  3. Glad to hear your son's doing better. A skiing injury does not sound like fun.

    Love these tips. I think for many women, confidence is something we have to relearn. Last summer, when my ex told me I should wear one-pieces because "Two-pieces don't really look good on you," I could tell I'd come a long way because I said, "What the f*** is the matter with you?"

    At 4'11", I have trouble finding clothes in general, and you can't really get bathing suits tailored, but come on. That's, like, Rule #1 in the Marriage/Living in Sin handbook. Do not imply that your lady looks bad in a swimsuit.

  4. I don't know if I'll ever feel confident in a bathing suit, since I didn't have that confidence even when I was young and skinny. But I do feel good about how I look in clothes. I'm not traditionally thin, but I think I work what I've got pretty well. Just not in a bathing suit.

    Cheaters never change. As the great and wise Oprah (I miss her) said, "Believe someone when they show you who they really are."

  5. Interesting Marie that it's not a skinny thing. Also interesting how some people are fine in work clothes not in workout clothes/we each have an apparel comfort zone. I miss Oprah too, watching a little OWN but I forget it's there.

  6. As a fan of crappy dance shows, I'm not surprised Julianne Hough is confident -- she's 22 and a dancer (now moving into acting and singing), so I think that helps with body confidence -- she's always been in shape, and she's used to wearing tiny sequined outfits on TV. But, still confidence is a good thing -- can't say I've ever had it, or a two piece bathing suit before the invention of the tankini.

    As for cheaters -- I guess they can change, but is it worth taking the risk that they won't? The only insurance is adopting/having a half-dozen kids like Brangelina.

  7. Sorry for your son's injury-no fun for either of you! Overall, I feel pretty confident with my body, althugh definitely more so in clothes than in a barhing suit. Any time I exercise, I feel more confident with my body, but, like you say, especially with weight training for some reason. Julianne Hough? Never heard of here before...another celebrity you have made me aware of!

  8. We just returned from Aruba (and my parents were in T&C!) and I never really felt too comfortable. I ALWAYS wear a one piece suit on excursions (snorkeling etc.) bc I don't want to bother with worrying about my top moving around. I just don't really think bathing suits are very comfortable.

    Sorry you had to miss your trip (again) and hope your son recovers quickly!

  9. Glad your son is mending, injuries are no fun.

    I have a fair bit of confidence these days, but not when I was younger. I'd never been comfortable in a swimsuit a day in my life, but four years ago I was injured training for a full marathon and the doctor suggested I swim. I was never so intimidated in my life. My issue is my upper thighs, so I went to Sears and tried on Lands' End swimsuit skirts. I fell madly in love with them and now, with that cute little swishy skirt, I would swim in front of anyone, anytime.

    Well, it doesn't actually swish, it's fitted and that keeps it from billowing in the water, but in my mind I'm swishing like a three-year-old in a party dress!

  10. so sorry you missed your trip I like the sweater working of losing baby weight right now :-)

  11. Bummer! But kids come first.. glad he is okay!
    That picture looks almost fake... is that really Julianne Hough or a stunt double lol?
    I'm pretty comfortable with my body but I wouldn't feel comfortable in a little bikini jumping around. I wish I didn't care but I would be worried (like you said) if things didn't stay in place.
    I completely agree with you about positive affirmations!! Once you get in the habit of saying them, they can really help you relax and refocus!

  12. Lisa, I agree about affirmations if we can shift focus from our "problems" to how our body functions or what we like it's hard to be negative. Rebecca, some may say it's "hiding" but I love the big tenty sweater some days. Caron- the swim shirt such a good idea. Swimming due to an injury actually gets many people out of their body consciousness. Einat, maybe you nailed it. It isn't so much our bodies but the friggin swimsuits with ties and icky material. Wish their was an option. EA, it's a sad day when this blog is your source of celeb info or maybe it says, unlike me, you manage to steer clear of this insanity. Anusha, thanks for commenting. I don't know, having seen many dancers as clients, that little costumes and a career that is body-focused always breeds confidence. It can go either way. Three cheers for the tankini.

  13. Ha okay first of all..Julianne is the tiniest little thing...of course she has confidence! On the flip side, I know that bigger or smaller...I've never had bathing suit confidence. I feel great in dresses and clothes but in a bathing suit I fear that people will notice this tiny little cellulite I have on my left thigh. My husband thinks I'm nuts but I's the only thing that keeps me from feeling confident in a suit. However, since getting pregnant, I now realize I was crazy to ever feel "Fat" before! haha But I am learning to embrace this new body and like you said be thankful that I can even walk, run, see, hear, etc. There's a lot we women take for granted

  14. Hope your son recovers quickly!

    I don't love who I am in a swimsuit but it doesn't stop me from being seen in one. I've met a surprising number of women who won't swim with their kids because they don't wish to be seen in a swimsuit. More often than not, these women are fitter and younger than I am.

    Speaking of swimsuits I used to be a competitive swimmer and didn't feel super comfortable in a swimsuit back then. I was totally mortified when in our high school yearbook there was a solo shot of me waiting for a race to start. All I could think about is that everyone would notice what I perceived to be bad in the picture. Even though I was in my desired weight range, I always had just a little bit of a tummy, no matter how much I exercised....which was a lot during that time period.

    Now as a forty something woman I look at that picture much differently. I wish my forty something self could tell my high school age self that the little bit of tummy was nothing to stress about.

  15. Thank you Fleur. The swimming thing saddens me. I actually think having kids, both being pregnant and after they were born, freed me in certain ways because it's just not about you at a certain point. I feel less time to fixate. Your comments about high school I think could bring us all back to the things that held us back. I am so envious of anyone's ability to swim well or compete but my guess is you couldn't cherish that then. Thanks for the reminder.

  16. This post comes at a perfect time! I just posted about how I'm done giving a crap at what I look like postpartum. I mean...I still care, but I'm not going to fixate on my flaws anymore. I love that Juliane Hough is so confident in her tiny bikini, that kind of confidence is attractive and makes people happy to be around. That is the kind of person I want to be, not one who's depressed all the time because the way I look. I plan to rock a bikini this summer and have fun with my baby boy then worry about my jiggles haha. We're healthy and I feel great, that's all that matters to me now. We all need to stop placing such an importance on how we look, it matters yes, but not THAT much.

  17. Amen Maria and congratulations. Hard to not think about how we look but need to know it's not #1 and shouldn't cloud times we spend with love ones or potential good times.

  18. great post Lauren. good points all around. I think half the battle with how we feel about our bodies is mental and that's usually the hardest muscle to tone. I know very few women, even those with great bodies (by my opinion) who are satisfied with how they look. they'll find some small, often unnoticeable detail and focus on that until they become neurotic and that's ALL they can see. I am MUCH more comfy in a cute cover up on the beach then in a bikini. I'm pasty, that's what I focus on. I always tell my husband being pasty in a bathing suit is like the difference between wearing black jeans versus white.

  19. I don't particularly like the way I look in a bathing suit but I don't let that stop me from living. My 2 1/2 year old loves to swim so I take him to public swimming lessons where there are a lot of other people around. It used to bother me to be around a lot of people in a swimsuit but now my focus is on something different, so I don't even think about it while I'm in the moment. At the same time, I still think/worry about it before hand!

  20. I did not especially like myself in a bikini. Looking from a couple feet away in a wall mirror, can you really feel confident? The only things you see are the imperfections... But that changed when my kids taped me at the swimming pool. I thought I looked amazing!
    Julianne Hough probably lost her bikini when entering the water... I know I would have. :) As long as there is nobody swimming underwater to see it, it's fine, there is time to fix it before coming back to the surface.

  21. I don't believe that cheaters ever change. I've known lots of cheaters in my life....same old stuff over and over. It's like a disease!

    I am not confident in a bathing suit. Not now nor when I was leaner. If I am not obsessing over my weight, then it's stretch marks. If not stretch marks, it's ingrown hairs. If not ingrown hairs, it's pasty skin. If not pasty skin, it's proportion. I just am not a beach babe type. I don't hate my body nor even dislike it. I just think it looks better in clothes.

    My mom and sister are uber confident in their beach bods, in fact both of them at age 32 competed in a physique competition (23 years apart of course!).

    As for Julianne Hough, her body is amazing. Plus she's a dancer and all my dancer friends were the types to rip their tops off at a, maybe that has something to do with it.

  22. Cameo, love your comments love the bathing suit obsession checklist. I recall countless times (pre laser) obsessing over whether I shaved underarms etc, as if that matters? I have an uber confident mom- still in her 70s, is that it? As for the dancer thing, as I said above not sure that automatically instills confidence or no ballerinas would have eating disorders.

  23. Excellent post! Body image is so important and women have a hard time with it, no matter how good they look! We are always comparing ourselves to someone, when we should be focusing on us and what we should be thankful for.

    I am sorry that your vacation plans were ruined and hope your son is okay! We went through the cast this past summer with my DD and boy does it stink!

    No, I do not think cheaters change.


  24. So sorry your vacation plans didn't happen.
    This is one area I really need to work on. I am very negative about myself. I am also very bad about accepting compliments. Thanks for these tips. I am going to continue to try to work on it.
    In regards to weight, I am trying to be good to my body inside and out.

  25. I'm confident about a lot of things. I'm confident that I'm smart, and I know that I can make people laugh, and I'm good at getting along with people. But physical appearance...yeah, really not confident. It's kind of funny that I put so much importance on something that I claim to think isn't very important. "Other things are more important than looks" and bla, bla, bla...but I sure do spend a lot of time worrying about them.

  26. So sorry the Turks trip was postponed. Again. It will happen for you eventually!

    I can be very negative about myself too but I think that if I lived in the public eye like Julianne I'd learn to deal with seeing myself in unflattering pictures here and there. Although I can't imagine she's ever taken a single one!

  27. Wishing your son a speedy recovery. Sorry your trip didnt work out!
    Interesting about self-affirmations. I didnt realize how powerful they could be until my recent first-time experience with Intensati.
    I do wish I had Julianne Hough's confidence. She looks great!