Just a few years ago, I remember getting to the end of Summer and thinking ‘oh I wish I had gone swimming’, having spent another Summer avoiding both the beach and the pool because I felt that I was too large, that I took up too much space, that my legs were not tanned enough, that everyone would be looking at me and disapproving. I was determined that I would only go again once my body was ‘good enough’ to be seen in swimmers in public. And I would regret it each Summer.
It’s a story we tell ourselves so easily, that we haven’t got our beach body ready, so we miss out on the beautiful experience of the waves on our toes, the early morning sea breeze, or floating free in the water.
The I realised that it wasn’t my body that was the problem, it was my mind! So many of us avoid going because of our bodies, but the truth is, to have a beach body all you need is your body and a beach. That’s it! So I decided that it was time to stop missing out on the joys of swimming and enjoying the beach and the pool experiences. But it had it’s challenges, so here are a few tips that I learnt along the way.
Invest in some fabulous swimwear that you love and that you feel comfortable in.
This was a game changer for me, I picked a shop that was in my price range and found myself a great top and bottom set that was supportive and flattering. It took a little time to find one that suited me, but it was definitely worth it.
Choose your time wisely.
When I started out, I felt good in my new swimmers, but still felt uncomfortable about other people being around. Keep the aim small to start and go first thing in the morning before there are too many crowds or last thing in the afternoon.
Stay only as long as you feel comfortable.
If you only feel comfortable on the beach for fifteen minutes, then enjoy that time and head off when you’re ready. I’ve driven over thirty minutes to the beach and battled busy parking to get there only to lay everything out, hop in and out of the water and then be gone, no more than ten minutes, only to then drive the thirty minutes home again. But what I found was that refreshing feeling will stay with you, and I always felt proud that I had made the effort to go, just for me.
Hold onto the pleasure feelings.
Really take the time to feel the cool breeze over your skin, the waves crashing over your feet, or the freedom of floating free in the water. Thinking of these feelings takes the focus off thinking about your body, and as a bonus it also helps you to enjoy the experience all the more. You deserve this pleasure just as much as anyone else.
If you do notice that uncomfortable feeling creeping in.
Take a quick look around. Notice that people are doing their own thing and are generally not interested in you and what you look like. This was a revelation for me, when I started paying attention, to realise that no one was paying attention to anyone else, but their own beachy experience.
A morning outing or late afternoon dip is so refreshing in the middle of a hot Summer, and for me it helps shake off that hot heavy feeling. With just a few weeks left of Summer here in the southern hemisphere, will this be another year where you miss out on the beach or the pool even though you want to go, because your body isn’t where you want it to be?
Challenge yourself to enjoy it. Don’t get to the end of the season thinking ‘I wish I’d gone’. You body is just as worth as anyone else’s and you will feel proud as punch that you did it.