Monday, I admitted to a major meltdown. I joked (or bitched) about being kitchen-less before a beach vacation. The subtext was that I like to clean things up with my diet before the whole bathing suit situation. That same day, a colleague’s Instagram post caught my eye. I should preface this by saying this person is awesome. I had the pleasure of meeting her during our recent California/Expo West trip and she’s funny and smart and none of what I’m writing is about her…just about something she wrote.
Let me set this up:
The photo I referred to shows this nutritionist in a jog bra. What’s interesting was her commentary on showing your stomach. The stated intent was to show her followers she understood this was a thing (showing your stomach).
I’ll stop for a minute and say while abs may be the ultimate reveal, many women don’t like “showing” in general. It could be insecurity about a certain body part (arms, thighs or abs are common) and it’s also possible it stems from personal preference. In my case, I have way more A-line items in my closet than body hugging ones. And if I’m being totally honest my Instagram feed is never going to be filled with photos of me especially not sexy photos. And this is not a judgement about people who have a ton of selfies (OK minor judgement).
The RD I referred to explains she loves her body and is unfazed by bathing suiting but didn’t always feel that way. In her effort to diffuse body anxiety she assures readers “it gets better with age, you will evolve, mature…three will come a day where you don’t care if you ate pizza the night before you get into a bathing suit.”
I think things struck a chord as I had just articulated my pre-beach mindset. I am over a decade older than this person; I think I've evolved and matured but wearing a bathing suit isn’t "thoughtless" to me. From counseling clients all these years, I know that sometimes body stuff fades with age, we can laugh at it more, be more accepting. Other times, with aging bodies, previously body confident women (or men) get more self critical. I watched an episode of The View yesterday and the gorgeous, ageless, super fit J-Lo saw a photo of herself and uttered, “I was chubby there.” They gave her major shit for that comment but it came out.
I wholeheartedly agree with the author of the post that we need to be kind to ourselves. But I want to point out that it’s not a failing if you’re 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 or 80 (I have an 80-something client who is very mature and still pinches her body fat and grimaces) and think about being in a bathing suit or wouldn’t rate your body a 10 on a 1-10 scale…it may just be who you are. I can say I’m a thin person, I like who I am and there are many days I feel great in my clothes. But I will note when I feel distended in the same way I’ll watch a clip for work and think about things I could’ve done better. Maybe self-acceptance comes in all different flavors.
What do you think about this? Are you more the happy naked flavor or semi-sweet on the whole thing? Do you think it's ok not to love your body (by this I mean be 100% in love with every part)?
*I love that my body works and every time I go for a walk or a run thank God I am capable of this...that's not what I'm referring to.