A Quick Thought on Bikini Bodies
Other than an increasingly erratic fear of flying, one key thing never ceases to make me nervous about travelling. No, it’s not a fear of eating something dodgy. No, it’s not a fear of losing my passport or being robbed. It’s quite simple: I hate wearing bikinis. Or any swimwear for that matter.
Unsurprisingly, I am not alone. Many women on social media sites, primarily Instagram, tumblr and Twitter have voiced concerns or shared images that suggest they feel uncomfortable wearing beachwear. It makes sense. Women are faced on a daily basis with images of Photoshopped celebrities with slim waists and pert assets, and we are expected to keep up all the time. While women are trying to match this Jessica Rabbit image, they are also bombarded with less than appealing photos of celebrities from a bad angle with captions like ‘Celebrity Beach Bodies We Never Wanted To See’, ‘Unflattering Bikini Shot Celebs Wish You Hadn’t Seen’, and the tactful ’15 Shockingly Nasty Celebrity Bikini Bodies’. Who could blame me for wanting to cover up around the pool?
I detest the times where I look through my holiday shots and find pictures of me sprawled on one of those broken plastic sunbeds like an elephant seal. It does nothing for self confidence, and every time I see them, I tell myself that next year, I’ll wear one of those body sculpting swimsuits. Furthermore, in every photo I have of the pools and beaches on holiday, I can always spot someone who wouldn’t think their appearance was particularly flattering. How many photos of me looking like a tank with flab rolls do strangers have? If people can fathom taking sneaky photos of people on public transport, there must be vile people snapping pictures of girls with bloated bellies around the pool.
A few months ago, Dan asked if I wanted to run in the Virgin London 10km Race. I deliberated hard, knowing that I am not in any way, shape, or form, a runner. The longest I could run was about 100m, and even then I would collapse! But I desperately wanted to look good in my bikini this year, or at least feel good. I began a (mostly) strict but unsustainable training regime. I hit the weights. I hit the bike. I hit the treadmill. I hit the kitchen – for healthy foods, of course! I was sure I had the determination to succeed and run a full 10km. After all, I was doing all this work to be able to keep up with a slim 26 year old man and my own dad, an ex semi-professional sportsman. It didn’t take long for me to realise that I was reaching a bit high for my ability. It also didn’t take long for me to realise that I was actively lying to everyone who asked: I’m not running it for fitness or fun.
Alas, two months of training wasn’t enough for me. I have worked hard for two and a half months, I still can’t run a entire 10km without stopping. I still don’t look like one of the girls on TOWIE or Love Island. I still get stomach rolls when I sit down, I still wobble when I walk and all my muscles ache now. I still don’t like the way I look in bardot tops (they probably just don’t suit my body shape) and there is no way I would wear one of those tiny thong bottoms.
However, now I can road run for a full 4km without walking. Now I can bike 10km uphill (on a stationary bike). Now I can smash resistance machines and free weights. Now I can do triceps dips! The last time I was this fit, I was about 16, and I still have loads more progress to make. What I have discovered is I am not an athlete, and I am probably never going to have the perfect bikini body, but that’s okay because this is the best I’ve felt in years.
Will I ever be truly happy in my bikini? Probably not. There is so much pressure for women to fit into an image of perfection. We are expected to have bowling ball breasts, tiny waists, bouncy bums, long slim legs, and glossy hair, and I don’t think fit the bill. I don’t think I know many people that do. So I am going to stop striving for perfection. Instead, I’m going to stand up straight, roll my shoulders back, and rock what I have this summer. In reality, all bodies are bikini bodies. Life’s too short.
And for the record, this weekend, I am going to give that run all I’ve got.
I ran the London 10km yesterday and am really feeling the effects! I started too fast, running 3km in about 7minutes each and I felt dead by about the 5.5km mark. I tripped over twice (but didn’t commit to a fall, thankfully) and I ended up walking about 4.5km of it.
However, silver linings protrude, as my 88minute race time is a personal best, and I’m not being funny, but my next race can never be worse than that! I don’t think I’m built for running but I’ll be back to the gym on Wednesday after a couple of days resting.