Looking For The Perfect Summer Swimsuit Is Torture

Looking For The Perfect Summer Swimsuit In 2019 Is Still Torture

This is a part of my life that is very personal and overwhelming, but I find that it's important to share with anyone going through the same struggles so that you know you're not alone.

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Body positivity has never been in my vocabulary. In previous articles I've written, (i.e. see Struggling to Love My Reflection in the Mirror, Screw Being Self Conscious), I've mentioned my personal battle with loving what I saw in the mirror. When I was in middle school, I went on a diet. I woke up early in the mornings to make a meal that hardly consisted of calories. I was fixated on the idea of weight loss, even when I didn't need to lose weight. I remember one time that I was so excited that I lost seven pounds. What I didn't know was that I had developed an unhealthy obsession with hating myself. I was 12.

A few months back, I was determined to get the perfect summer body. I told myself because I was turning 21 this summer and because I was going to be on vacation during that time, I wanted to make sure I had lost enough weight to look good in a two-piece bathing suit. I was tracking my food intake on an app. Taking into account my height, weight, and the amount of weight I wanted to lose, I was instructed to consume 1200 calories per day. To me, this was already insane. I was hungry all the time but continued to force myself to stick to the plan. I exercised 5-6 times a week, losing at least 500 calories per day. What I didn't know was that because I was working off these calories, I needed to replenish them. Essentially, I was only eating 700 calories per day (sometimes 900 on the good days) after exercising. A few times during my workout, I was so lightheaded that I thought I was going to pass out. Despite that, I continued my workouts. I didn't care that I had to stop five times in an hour to regain my vision. I was often lightheaded, extremely tired, stressed, emotional, and hungry. I didn't know I was depriving my body despite all of the signs. To be clear, I have never battled an eating disorder or anything of the like. Rather, my struggle was in my head.

My desire to lose weight became more evident after I went on birth control. I was 13. Now, I didn't need birth control as a contraceptive. I needed it because it was the only way to make my cycle somewhat bearable because it would at least regulate or stop my cycle altogether. I switched birth controls multiple times throughout the years to find one that would finally help me. After switching to another in high school, I gained 25 pounds. A year passed and I was fed up. Not only did I gain weight, but my cycles were still awful. I got off of it and immediately lost the 25 pounds I had initially gained.

At the end of high school, I switched to another form, and although it has mostly regulated my cycles, I also gained back the 25 pounds. I tell you all of this to explain that my battle with loving my body was accelerated in puberty. This is a part of my life that is very personal and overwhelming, but I find that it's important to share with anyone going through the same struggles so that you know you're not alone.

Sometimes the easy way out seems to be getting off birth control altogether. As intriguing as that sounds, do I really want to go back to multiple heavy cycles a month with horrible side effects? I've been on birth control since 13. I've poisoned my body with hormones, but what's the alternative? No matter whether I decided to stay on birth control or not, there are negative trade-offs. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Now that I'm older, I've wanted to start loving my body, start appreciating it and being proud of it. So, when summer rolls around, naturally I'm excited for all of the summer festivities, including swimming. I've always wanted to pull off a two-piece swimsuit but just never felt like I could. When I've tried before, my vulnerability always crept up, caused anxiety, and I couldn't make myself wear one out in public. I was too worried that I was disgusting. So as my birthday nears, I began looking for bathing suits. Even at my highest weight, I wanted to feel beautiful. I wanted to wear a two-piece bathing suit. I want to wear a one-piece bathing suit, even, without wearing shorts to cover my thighs. I want to take cute pool pictures and feel proud of myself. But with the long chain of birth control, to gaining weight, to finding clothes that look good on me, it takes a huge toll. Looking for the perfect summer swimsuit is torture.

Self-consciousness is nothing new. Everyone experiences it, whether it's with their body, their abilities, or something else. I don't mean to unload all of my struggles and self-pity. What I mean to do is explain to all the women who are going through the same thing that it's okay to experience these same feelings. It's easy to tell someone they're beautiful and that they shouldn't feel like they're less than, but it's so much harder to take the advice for yourself. No matter how many times you try to make a person feel like they're enough, they won't feel it until they're ready to, and that's just the harsh truth. To those who have loved ones buried in the trenches of self-consciousness, just be there for them. Share your positive thoughts with them but realize their viewpoint will only change when they're ready for it. Just know that being self-conscious is a real emotional battle and it takes a heck of a lot to fight back against.

To those going through this treacherous terrain, you're not alone, you're valued, and we'll get through it. Some days are better than others. But just know, even though you've struggled with loving yourself, just know that God made you in His image and in His eyes, you're perfect. Keep on keeping on.

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A list Of 15 Inspiring Words That Mean So Much

A single word can mean a lot.
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Positivity is so important in life. A lot of times we always go to quotes for empowerment but I have realized that just one word can be just as powerful. Here is a list of inspiring words.

1. Worthy

Realizing your self-worth is important. Self-worth can really make or break a persons personality. Always know that you are worthy of respect. And also, never compare yourself to others.

2. Courage

Be courageous in life. Life has so many opportunities so do not be scared to grasp any opportunity that comes your way. You have the ability to do anything you have your heart and mind set to do, even the things that frighten you.

3. Enough

When you are feeling down and feeling that nothing you do is ever good enough, know that you are more than enough. And yes there is always room for improvement but when it comes to my self-worth I always have to remind myself that I am enough.

4. Blessed

Be thankful. A lot of times we forget how blessed we are. We focus so much on stress and the bad things that are going on in our lives that we tend to forget all of the beautiful things we have in life.

5. Focus

Focus on your goals, focus on positive things, and focus on the ones you love. Do not focus on things that will keep you from not reaching your goals and people that do not have good intentions for your life.

6. Laugh

Laughing is one of the best forms of medicine. Life is truly better with laughter.

7. Warrior

Through the good and the bad you are a warrior. Be strong, soldier.

8. Seek

Seek new things. Allow yourself to grow in life. Do not just be stuck.

9. Faith

During the bad times, no matter the circumstances, have faith that everything will be all right.

10. Live

Start living because life is honestly way too short. Live life the way you want to live. Do not let anyone try to control you.

11. Enjoy

Enjoy everything that life has to offer. Enjoy even the littlest of things because, as I said before, life is short. And plus, there is no time to live life with regrets.

12. Believe

Believe in yourself and never stop. Believing in yourself brings so many blessings and opportunities in your life.

13. Serendipity

A lot of times we look for things to fill an empty void that we have. Usually what we are looking for comes when we are not looking at all. Your serendipity will come.

14. Create

Share your ideas with the world. Creativity brings change to your life. However you chose to use your creativity do not be scared to show your intelligence, talent, and passion.

15. Love

The world is already full of so much hate, so love unconditionally with all your heart.

Cover Image Credit: Tanveer Naseer

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Being Skinny Isn’t As Great As You Think

A reflection on the struggles that come with a person's body image.

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Body image. It is one of the most powerful and harmful things on a person's self-esteem. Society and media have placed so many images of what we "should" look like. How we need to be eating, exercising, dressing, EVERYTHING. According to others, we always need to change ourselves or second guess how we see our bodies.

For as long as I can remember everyone has called me "tiny". Sure, being small and being able to fit into a lot of clothes is fun, but being tiny or thin isn't always a good thing. I am your typical college kid eating whatever I want whenever I want.

The only difference between myself and other students is that I almost never gain weight. Some girls or guys may read that part and think that I have a gift or blessing. That I can do whatever I want and still stay small and "pretty".

Have you ever finished a meal then looked at yourself and felt like something wasn't right? Some people in today's world and in history will spend time looking at themselves and seeing multiple things that are wrong with their body.

Some handled that by exercising and losing weight or gaining muscle, others have gone as far as throwing up their food or taking pills that force their bodies not to gain ANY weight. Hearing about that from adults or doctors seems crazy but people do it all the time. Possibly the people around you and you would never know.

I went to middle school with a girl that always finished her lunch walking to the trash and then taking herself to the bathroom. She wouldn't come back to our table until the lunch bell rang. Most people didn't give a second thought to this situation, me however, I followed her one day. What I saw next was something I wasn't prepared for as a 7th grader.

Two sinks, a mirror, and three stalls. One was occupied and the rest were empty. I walked into crying and nothing else. The girl had already taken care of her food and was trying to gather herself after what she just did.

People told her that she was gaining weight, that she was "chunky" or fat. She wasn't the only girl around that dealt with horrible comments like that. It's also not just girls dealing with issues like this.

Boys and men are constantly judged and only "ideal" if they are muscular. Young boys are called pigs or disgusting only because of their weight and looking bigger than the "average" person. Men are downgraded to a lesser meaning when they are thin and "stick like".

Even as we grow up kids and sometimes adults say things without realizing the effect. Being called tiny or skinny all of the time can make someone just feel small. Getting comments to eat a hamburger and fries can make someone feel insulted.

Having comments made about your skin or hair and people making assumptions about you can make someone feel misunderstood or judged. Being told that you need to eat more or go tanning because your body doesn't "look right" can torture a person.

There are so many things that play into a person's self-esteem. Average size, too small or too big is simply just words coming out of someone's mouth that don't understand the true beauties in life.

Do you ever look at a big oak tree and say, "You're too fat, you should really lose some weight."

Do you ever see a flower that blooms smaller than a quarter and tells it, "You are tiny! Why don't you go eat a burrito or something?"

No. You probably don't. Just replace the oak tree with mom and see how that feels coming out of your mouth. Replace flower with a teenage girl and see if you can actually say all of those things. Imagine if you were a parent and it was your little girl or boy that you were talking to and you said those words. Would you be happy with yourself? Would you feel guilty? Would you push them to make their body unhealthy just to fit society's standards?

I hope that you wouldn't

There are so many of us out there being told what to do with ourselves in order to be happy with our bodies. How can someone else determine our happiness for us? I have personally gotten to the point of breaking.

I see friends on a daily basis that want to change their body because it's "ugly". Many of those thoughts are because of things society has put in our minds, and not what truly matters.

As a society, we need to push towards total acceptance. Now, I am not meaning the sexuality or ethnicity type of acceptance because those are important on a different level. Respecting each other and our bodies are something that needs to be understood and enforced as much as sexuality acceptance is pushed.

I want to live in a world and raise children in a world that doesn't make people feel horrible about their bodies. It is THEIR body, not ours. The only body we should be worrying about is our own. I want my future daughter to grow and love playing dress up without wondering if her body looks right in what she's wearing. I want my future son to go to gym class and be able to do only one pull up with all of the other boys cheering him on to do better.

Is that too much to ask?

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