Don't Workout Just For A 'Bikini Body'

Don't Workout Just For A 'Bikini Body'

You're worth so much more than that!

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Summer is now here: it's time to celebrate!

For most of us, this includes going to the beach, lake, or pool. But these fun days in the sun require the dreaded task of putting on a bikini or one piece.

Society is so tough on women's bodies. You're not allowed to have cellulite, stretch marks, or any sort of flaw that shows that you're a human. Photoshop makes waists smaller, and butts and breasts bigger. Age spots, wrinkles, and acne are wiped away with the touch of a mouse.

We're told that you must eat practically nothing and work out for hours a day in order to be beautiful. We're told that we're not enough by the shows and movies we watch, the magazines we read, and the social media posts we scroll through each and every day. You're considered desirable only if you're a size 0 or 2.

To conform to these unattainable standards, we do everything in our power to change how we look. We bend over backwards, deprive ourselves, and push our bodies to their maximum limit. For what? To look like Kendall Jenner in her barely-there bikini?

News flash: the Kendall Jenner on the cover of magazines doesn't look like the real Kendall Jenner.

To the girl reading this right now: don't workout to achieve a bikini body! You're amazing just the way you are.

I bet Kendall Jenner in everyday life doesn't look like she does when she's at red carpet events. I'm sure she deals with the same insecurities that we all do. Why do I think that? Because she is a human just like you and I.

I'm not promoting a sedentary lifestyle with poor eating habits, but cut yourself some slack. Your body is unique because nobody looks exactly like you. That is your superpower. Embrace yourself for who you are, inside and out.

Workout for yourself, and not anyone else.

Don't workout to seek approval of others. Don't have a "thinspiration", a weight on the scale, or a number in your head you want to stick to. Don't overexert yourself. Don't count calories, whether if it's the amount burned in a workout, or how much you eat.

Workout because the endorphins make you feel good. Workout because you love seeing the progress in the mirror, and in your mind. Workout to relieve stress. Workout to be strong, not a stick figure. Eat the foods that will sustain you. Eat the foods that will fuel your brain, and allow you to go through day-to-day activities.

The goal is to be happy and healthy. To do this, you must have a balance.

The best way to do this is to follow the 80/20 rule. Nourish your body and exercise most of the time, but let yourself have a cheat day every once-in-a-while. There's amazing events in life that you don't want to miss out on just because you're afraid that extra piece of pizza or glass of wine will offset the work you put in earlier that day. Let yourself off the hook.

If you're afraid someone will judge you for eating ice cream, or deciding not to go to the gym because you had a busy day and got tired, get rid of those people in your life. They're toxic. You don't need negative energy in your life. These type of people won't help you grow: they will limit you.

What's the first (and only step) in achieving a bikini body? Put it on.

Yes, it's that simple. Your natural beauty is stunning compared to the intense, unreal images we see every day. What's more important is what's on the inside. Enjoy your summer, because you never know how many you have on this earth.

Life is too short to be at war with your body. Don't miss out on life because of an insecurity. Give your body love, and it will give it back. You should give your body a pat on the back. It is capable of so many wonderful things. Without it, your soul wouldn't be able to reside in the world.

It'll take some getting used to at first, but you will get there.

The road to being comfortable in your own skin isn't easy, but it is possible. As cliche as it is, difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. I still struggle with self image every now and then, and it's quite common for women to feel this way. I believe that no woman should feel ashamed for wearing a swimsuit.

There is nothing wrong with you or your body. There is everything wrong with how society views women. Women are women, no matter their shape or size. Wear that swimsuit proudly; your confidence will shine.

What's my definition of a bikini body? Just a girl wearing a swimsuit enjoying her time out in the sunshine.

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I Hate That I Struggle To Love My 'Midsize' Body

I gained a few pounds, but that shouldn't be the end of the world, yet it is in a sense.

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Junior year of college has been quite the wild ride. I've had the best academic year of my entire life, yet struggled, in the end, to even want to get anything done. I didn't care about a lot of the things that used to matter to me.

I gained weight at the beginning of my second semester and went up a jean size, so half of my summer wardrobe just doesn't fit me anymore, and it's made me feel embarrassed. I went from a size 6 to an 8/10, and while it doesn't seem like a big jump to the average person, it was to me. I don't like looking in the mirror and seeing a bigger pooch than usual, or how my thighs have gotten super irritated because they also got bigger. Chaffing I used to only have in the summer occurred in late January and even scared my inner thighs. It's not cute and it hurts when it flares up. I am terrified to wear my bikinis again because I know they won't fit, and the second I put on shorts my thighs are going to want to kill me if I don't kill them first.

I came to really love my body last summer after struggling through a rough breakup where I stopped caring about myself. I owned myself last summer and as much as I want to again this summer, I'm really struggling with the idea of it.

All I feel like I see on social media are skinny girls with zero hint of a pooch or thick thighs in sight. I've never been a skinny girl and I never want to be, but I can't help but envy the people I've seen online and in person. Of course, what I see on social media isn't really accurate, but it's still been tough to look at these girls who seem like they don't have a care in the world. They can eat whatever they want and still look flawless. They can throw on a bikini and not have to feel like they need to suck everything in so no one sees their pooch hanging over their bikini bottom. As a stress eater who is still too terrified to try on her bikinis, I'm not looking forward to showing my body off when all I want to do sometimes is hide it because I don't feel happy with what I see.

I will always love being a curvier girl and YouTubers like Sierra Schultzzie, Carrie Dayton, and Lucy Wood have given me a new boost of inspiration to embrace the body I have right now. I'm not skinny but I'm not plus sized either. I feel pressure from myself and certain people in my life to be skinnier and not "let myself go." I

'm so happy to have friends who have helped me through my struggles and support me, even when I don't want to support myself. These YouTuber's have opened my eyes to the fact that this body deserves to be loved just as much as my former, smaller body.

I want to love myself with 100% of my being and I hate how much hatred I've allowed to go on inside of me. There is only one me and I need to be proud of her. Maybe she gained some weight and isn't what society expects from a girl, but she's still amazing and has so much to offer.

I wish I could see more girls like me on YouTube or social media offering a representation of my body type, which I hardly ever see. Aerie and American Eagle have done a fantastic job of including different body types and it's been a great help in seeing that they really to make clothes for all types of women, not just a size zero to two. Added representation really does wonders for someone suffering from low body confidence like me.

While I hope to begin my journey into losing a few pounds this summer by jogging whenever I get the chance, I'm not going to put intense pressure on myself to look a certain way. I am single for the summer and exploring life with my best friends by my side. I'm here to be the best version of me that I can. I cannot let negative thoughts about myself to dictate how I feel every day. I am strong, I am beautiful, and I need to love myself and my body as I am.

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11 Things You NEVER Say To A College Girl Trying To Get Into Shape

Just never talk about a person's weight.

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When my family and friends joked that I was going to gain 15 pounds in my freshman year of college as a result of the "Freshman 15," I thought it was what it was supposed to be: a joke. However, as the year has come to an end, I realized that I actually did put on a couple of pounds, albeit it wasn't the predicted 15.

As I told those that I wanted to get into an ideal shape for my body, I was met with some insensitive and ignorant remarks. Everyone thought that I mean just losing the weight I had put on.

1. "You walk to all of your classes, why aren't you losing weight that way?"

My legs are more toned than they ever have been before. However, most of the weight I have been gaining has gone directly to my gut (annoying!) and walking does not remedy that. Unfortunately, I have to stick to ab workouts.

2. "But you look fine to me!"

I don't feel healthy to myself. I'm not trying to stay in shape for anyone else, just myself, thanks. I appreciate you trying to make me feel better about my body image but I know something has to be done.

3. "I didn't gain any weight in college."

Good for you. I did. I'm trying to do something about it.

4. "Just stop drinking."

I don't drink. Really, the only liquid I consume is water or iced tea. I don't like soda and alcohol makes me nauseous way too easily.

5. "Isn't the gym free on campus for students?"

Yes, but some people don't like working out in front of others. I am one of those people. My friend lives in an apartment complex that has their own gym and almost no one is ever there but not everyone has that luxury. Also, some are busy and do not have time for a quick jog or to stretch.

6. "You should try this diet/pills/exercise routine."

I am thankful that you are trying to help but my diet is just eating healthy and having a few cheat days in between. I know what exercises work best for me and I am just not taking pills. Bodies adjust differently.

7. "Don't starve/force yourself to throw up."

Trust me, I know. I'm trying to lose the weight healthily. If you do find yourself practicing unhealthy eating habits or realizing your body image is deteriorating, the NEDA Hotline is (800) 931-2237. Please reach out if you are going through hardships.

8. "Won't you have to buy a whole new wardrobe?"

If I drop (or even add) a size or two. We grow out and grow tired of clothes on the regular, what's the difference if you have to buy some because of a weight change? Plus, who doesn't love buying new clothes?

9. "Just eat healthier."

Didn't think of it! Options are limited at college where the dining halls don't offer all that much that is actually good for your body. Now that I'm at home, it's easier. But I'm already trying to eat healthy.

10. "You've evened out since the last time I saw you!"

This is code for you've put on some weight. I hear it mostly from older relatives because my friends will flat out tell me if I've gotten a little chunky.

11. "You're just stressed."

Personally, this one gets me livid. I do admit that when I am stressed or anxious, I do turn to food for comfort but when I am delighted and genuinely happy, will my body magically revert into a fit state?

Sadly, no.

Honestly, I am just trying to get my body back into shape. For me, that means cutting back on greasy foods and kicking a bad habit of sitting on my butt all day. For others, it could mean more or less. As long as your body is in good physical condition and you are content, the number on the scale and others' thoughts shouldn't matter. Take care of yourself.

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