I absolutely love the summer. It’s the perfect time to lounge poolside or hang out at the beach and enjoy the sun. But while you may see me doing both, there’s one thing you won’t see: me in a bikini. If I could bear the heat, I would probably be covered from neck to toe. Why? Truth be told, I’m overweight, and I don’t have the confidence to pull off a bikini, tankini or anything else ending in “-ini” (except maybe a martini).
Not so for plus-size blogger Gabi Gregg, who recently posted a picture of herself in a bikini – she called it a “fatkini” — and encouraged other plus-size women to do the same. Her goal was to empower full-figured women to love themselves and be proud of the skin they’re in. Though she received plenty of positive feedback for her courage and positive body image, she also took flak from people claiming she was glorifying obesity and promoting an unhealthy lifestyle.
I believe you can be overweight and still love and accept your body while working to make it healthier. To find out how, I went to several Sharecare experts for their advice. Here are four take-home tips.
1. Accept your body. According to Laura Katleman-Prue, author of Skinny Thinking: Five Revolutionary Steps to Permanently Heal Your Relationship with Food, Weight and Your Body, “Both accepting your current size and changing your diet to achieve a healthier body are expressions of honoring and loving yourself.”
2. Cut the comparisons. “There will always be someone in your environment with longer legs, a flatter stomach or less jiggle under her arms,” says Katie Rickel, PhD. “Further, it’s very likely that someone is looking at you and feeling envious of your best feature. Thus, using someone else’s body to measure your satisfaction with your own physique is a set-up for disappointment.”
3. Remember, skinny doesn’t always equal healthy. You can be overweight and still have better blood pressure and other health indicators than a person who weighs less. “Most of us assume that you have to be as skinny as a coaxial cable to be healthy, but the truth is that plenty of so-called thin people are less fit and less healthy than so-called heavy people,” says Mehmet Oz, MD.
4. Make healthy lifestyle choices. According to Piedmont Heart Institute, “Healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes! Changing your body image means changing the way you think about your body. At the same time, healthy lifestyle choices are also key to improving body image.” They include eating well, getting regular exercise and getting plenty of rest.
While on my journey to a healthier me, I’m committed to learning to love the skin I’m in today. In the meantime, I’ll leave my two-piece in storage and leave bikini-wearing to Gabi Gregg.
Does bathing suit season inspire you to flaunt what you’ve got or hide under a cover-up? Leave a comment in the box below.
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