It’s officially the summer. My second favorite season. Not that long ago I used to loathe it. Between the bugs and the humidity and the fact that bigger bodies tend to sweat more, summer was pretty low on the favorite season list. But given my weightloss and my good mood lately (being in love will do that to you!) even the bees don’t bother me as much this year!
Despite the fact that last summer was my first summer back in shorts, you may have assumed that it was also the summer I stepped back into a bathing suit. Well, you’d be wrong.
Sure, I bought one. A cute navy blue halter tankini in fact. But I didn’t wear it. Not once. Just a handful of years ago the reason for me not wearing a proper bathing suit stemmed from insecurity and low self esteem. Last year I just didn’t know anyone with a pool…
For those who may still be suffering from the dreaded Swimsuit Syndrome, I feel your pain. I will always have the memories of shopping for bathing suits as a plus size woman. There’s no hiding anything under spandex and nylon. The shelf bras in them were laughable for my DDs and even the “figure flattering” sales pitch from the clothing tag wasn’t enough to make me feel confident in one. Sad part was, I’ve always loved the water. I love to swim. I was a strong swimmer and even took life saving courses in my teen years. The worst parts of the activity for me was taking the towel off (and trying to race like hell to get into the water so I could hide my cellulite under the waves) and getting back out…a bathing suit is already tight, but a wet bathing suit is even worse!
Flash forward to 2 weeks ago where I not only wore this brand new, navy blue tankini for the first time (and without a towel wrapped around my waist) but I tight roped walked in it too! Yes, you read that correctly. I have some pretty incredible friends who just happen to have one set up in their backyard adjacent to their lovely swiming pool. (Shout out to Aaron and Briar!)
I’ve made the recent public declarations that there isn’t anything I won’t try when it comes to moving my body and physical exercise. But I’ll admit tight rope walking was out of the box…even for me! Maybe it was concentrating on not falling off and breaking an ankle, but my mind wasn’t focussed at all on my body or how I might have looked soaking wet in that swimsuit, strutting my stuff on a rope 3 feet above the ground. I actually felt pretty damn good.
To take things a step further than that, just a few days ago my cousin Terri thought it would be a fun adventure for the two of us to try our hand at FloatFit at our local YMCA. This is basically a cardio/strength style workout done on a stand up paddle board in the middle of a pool. Considering my backyard circus performance a couple weeks back, I had zero hesitation on agreeing to throw on my suit yet again. Whether I was constantly falling in the pool and getting back up on the board or managing to actually do the exercise moves, I figured it would be a good workout either way.
I didn’t fall in once. In fact, I found my balance rather quickly (a second shout out to my slowly developing abs!) and I was even doing burpees and single arm planks!! These can be a challenge on hard land as it is!
The moral here isn’t that you HAVE to be fit or athletic to enjoy these sorts of activities. But you need to have some level of self confidence to get the most out of them. People can possess that at any size, but in my experience, confidence does tend to fade a bit with each added pound. With my weight loss by no means does that make me cellulite free. I have a smaller frame and more muscle, but I’m still very much human. The biggest change with me with always be the chnage that occured in my mind. I made it onto the other side of my own fears. That’s where I became the woman I am today. The woman who does burpees in a bathing suit.