Bikini Body v Bikini Mind

free your mind At 43 years old I’m wearing a bikini for the first time in 15 years! Let me just say that again –

I’m wearing a bikini in public!

It’s summer here in Australia and that means one thing – swimwear season! This year I made a commitment to myself – that I would wear a bikini. For the last 6 months I have been working hard to achieve mind and body transformation; my challenge was to be bikini ready for Christmas – it’s a goal I visualised myself  achieving.

But the reality is a little different…can you ever really feel bikini ready?

Can You Ever Feel Bikini Ready?

Like so many women I have felt ashamed of my body, embarrassed by the lumps and bumps that document my pregnancies and the wobbly bits that used to be firm. I certainly won’t blame pregnancy for the gradual gain in weight, I’ve proved to myself that it’s a convenient excuse .  In truth it’s been a love of the good times, of drinking, eating and socialising that has added the extra kilograms over the last ten years.

I’ve been saying for a long time ‘I’m not ready to wear a bikini’, ‘I just need to lose another (enter any number here)’ and ‘Maybe 40 is too old for a bikini’.

But this myth is washed away every time I go to the beach.  How is it that some women exude confidence, sex appeal and empowerment in a bikini, whatever their size?

It’s clear that it’s got nothing to do with having a bikini body, but a bikini mind.

Shedding The Emotional Kilos

It seems to me that external change doesn’t  equate with internal change.  Losing those extra kilos will change your body shape, but if it doesn’t change your mental shape then it’s as if it hasn’t happened. Marc Manson tells of a guy who lost over 100lb but never really lost that weight emotionally:

His perception of himself was like the Titanic: he had…put the pistons in reverse, but the thing was hardly turning. And emotionally, he was still hitting the iceberg. …[I]n his head he was still that same fat guy. He still had shame attached to his body…despite his ripped biceps and his shiny new abs.

Marc Manson’s  ‘Shut Up And Be Patient’.

This year, for the first time I have lost the emotional kilos as well as the physical kilos and my mental picture has shifted.

I don’t have the bikini body that I imagined. That mental image was created after years of media saturation with thin, toned women who have that elusive thigh gap!

Shape Shifting

The desire to measure myself against the perfect bikini body has receded (not gone completely, but it’s fading out).  I have strength I never had, muscles in places that used to be soft and a growing feeling of ownership over my physical form.

The notion of ownership may seem strange, but reflect on this – 

During your teenage years you are at the mercy of your hormones, developing a size and shape that is beyond your control, there’s only a few years respite before pregnancy imposes a new shape, reconstructed again in the post-partum years, compounded with further pregnancies and before you realise it your shape has been morphing beyond your control for long time.

Shape shifting in this way left me vulnerable to measuring myself against the ‘ideal body’ and always feeling inadequate. Now I own the changes in my body, I’m defining my own shape for the first time in many years.

Bikini Mind

I’m wearing a bikini not because I have a bikini body, but because I have a bikini mind.

I perceive myself with strength, health and vitality, and I’m not afraid to show that to the world. That doesn’t mean to say that I don’t have my moments of doubt, years of conditioning can’t be undone in 6 months.  But 6 months of positive body attitude has given me the confidence to accept my imperfect self.

tranquil acceptance

 

 

 

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