The Bikini Question…

If you’ve ever walked out of Pacsun or Target feeling like crap after trying on bathing suits, I hear you. Here’s some tips to not let the bikini blues get you down next time!

Hello everyone,

Even though it may not feel like it, the end of the semester is mere weeks away! Summer is fast approaching, and racks on racks of bikinis can be seen in Targets, Urban Outfitters, and Hollisters everywhere. Especially with Spring Break now behind us, we have all probably been thinking about buying that new bikini or swimsuit of the season… Or already have! I know I can’t be the only one who definitely does not look forward to that task.

Now, you’ve been warned. I’m getting personal with some of my body image issues in this post. I struggle with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), and have since I was really young. Whenever I go to try anything on, I never like how I look in it. However, a swimsuit has always been a different ballgame entirely with me. It exposes the features of my body shape that the BDD part of me obsesses over… And if I’m not careful, even a short shopping trip can cause a relapse in unhealthy behaviors and thoughts that I don’t want popping up again. So, over the years, I’ve gotten smarter about shopping for swimsuits. Maybe some of these little tips can help you guys out, too 🙂

Don’t go shopping when you’re already in a bad mood.

This seems like a no-brainer, but I’ve made this mistake time and time again. I’m a girl who likes to schedule her errands. If I’ve allotted time for myself to go bathing suit shopping, sometimes I’ll feel pressure to just go and get it over with… Even if I’m in a mood or already feeling bad about myself that day. And this has set me up for disaster time and time again. Just let yourself off the hook, and don’t go that day.

Decide whether to bring a friend or fly solo.

What would best serve you and your mental health? Do you need moral support? Or do you shop best alone? I honestly never stick to just one. Sometimes I feel like I need a friend there to keep me grounded. Other times, it’s best not to subject anyone else to my craziness. See how you feel, but keep a friend in the loop with how you’re feeling anyway. Texting a friend can sometimes keep you just as grounded.

Find a cut you know and love, and stick with it.

Know you’re comfortable in high waisted bottoms? Halter tops? One pieces? Stick with it, girl. You love what you love.

Remind yourself it is not that big a deal.

The BDD has a way of making little things like this feel way out of proportion. I always need to remind myself that it’s not as big a deal as I’m making it seem to myself. Deep breaths.

Literally look in the mirror and tell yourself you’re beautiful no matter what.

If you look in the mirror and think you look gross, you probably don’t. If you tell yourself you’re beautiful inside and out, and repeat it to yourself, you might just start believing it.

Sometimes, online shopping is your BFF.

Obviously, online shopping has its pitfalls. However, sometimes it works out. To be honest, this year I just wasn’t feeling the whole crying-in-the-dressing-room extravaganza. So, I found a cute swimsuit on Zaful (after checking their return policy, of course) and tried it on at home. And I loved it. No muss, no fuss.

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Let me know how you guys made out with the beginning of swimsuit season, and how you keep yourself grounded during the shopping process. Also, let me know where you guys found your cute suits! Leave a link and a comment below, I would love to hear… As always!

XOXO

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Throwing Shadows: It’s all in my head

It is so frustrating to look at myself in the mirror, and after more than two years of hard work, think to myself I hate the way I look.

Every once and a while I have a night like tonight. I look in the full length mirror in my room and analyze every inch of my body. My thighs are too chunky. My legs have cellulite. My arms are too flabby… What is with that fold of skin where my arms meet my chest?  My abs aren’t defined, and the area above my belly button is still stubbornly fatty. I look at all of these imperfections and I break down. I either get angry and punish myself with more sit ups or I cry. I feel like everything in my life has gone wrong, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

Sometimes I even have a panic attack. I drop down to the floor and hyperventilate, thinking to myself that I don’t want to go back to the way that I was. I so desperately don’t want to gain those pounds back… but I’ve worked so hard and this is what I get? This?

After a minute or two I calm myself down enough to go to bed with tears still in my eyes. I fall asleep promising myself that I’m going to do fifty squats in the morning. Match that up with a run and a kettlebell workout. Maybe even some yoga. And I do. And I’m sore for a week for overworking my body.

This is nothing, however, to how it used to be. When I was younger, I would do this every night. I remember once in middle school, I was so upset with my reflection, that I unrolled the yoga mat and attempted an extremely difficult workout on YouTube. When I couldn’t complete the first set of exercises successfully, even though they were way out of my league at the time, I sat on the yoga mat and cried, looking down at my thighs. They look like beached whales. I repeated this in my head as I punched my legs over and over. I hit them so hard that my legs buzzed with pain. I woke up with a bruises in the morning.

This was not one of my finer moments, and there were certainly many more nights like this. It’s difficult to think back to how miserable I made myself back then. I compared myself relentlessly to the pretty and popular girls in my grade who were all skinnier than me. There was absolutely no mercy for myself. Every inch of me was under scrutiny. And since I judged myself so harshly, I figured that other people must have judged me just as much. As I walked down the hall, I imagined what my peers were thinking as they passed me. No one could ever have thought of nastier insults about me than I made up about myself.

Fat cow. Legs and arms like beached whales. Obese bitch.  I repeated these like mantras over and over in my head. Over. And over.

For the most part, I’m usually pretty happy with the way that I look now. I think it’s the endorphins from exercising. However, I’m still obsessive over everything. I check myself in the mirror every time that I pass one. Even in reflective surfaces I look for my reflection… My cell phone screen, picture frames, store windows. If I’m not happy with what I see, it effects my mood. I feel the need to check and make sure that I’m still small. That the fat fourteen-year-old hasn’t come back and gobbled me up like a piece of cake. It’s a subconscious habit that I’ve had for years.

It’s not only frustrating. It’s exhausting. Why can’t I just be happy with myself? Don’t I deserve that? After losing seventy pounds, can’t I just be happy?

The problem is, when I started the weight loss journey, I thought losing the weight would solve all my problems. That if only I were 120 pounds I would be happy. If only. I’m under that weight right now and I can still make myself miserable like I did when I weighed in at 185. It’s all in my head. I know that. But that knowledge doesn’t make nights like these any better.

I think what helps me the most is knowing that I’m not alone. When I was younger, I thought I was the only one who felt this way. Now I know that there are so many girls out there who struggle with the same self-image issues that I do. I try to preach to myself self-love, replace those hateful words in my head with words of love, but honestly, it doesn’t work for me if I don’t feel like I believe it. I try not to compare myself to other women around me, but with social media it is so difficult. Honestly, Instagram and VSCO is what triggered tonight’s hate-fest. I just need to teach and reteach myself not to give in to the temptation to compare my so-called imperfections to so-called perfections.

I wish I could go back to the moment where all this started. It was in the third or fourth grade, right around the time that I started puberty and realized that I was bigger than the other girls, and apparently that wasn’t a good thing. I wish I could sit my nine year old self down, and tell her to listen up. Believe that you’re beautiful. Because if you believe that you are, you are. Or in ten years, you’ll still have the same sad thoughts at nineteen that you did at nine.

Girls, if you’re reading this, I implore you, please don’t do what I do. Please love yourselves. Don’t over-analyze your bodies and make yourself cry and have panic attacks. It’s no good. Believe me, I know. Please, please, please, take every chance that you can to love your bodies, because they’re beautiful and they sustain you through this life. Hey, you’ve made it this far with it, right? It (hopefully and prayerfully) hasn’t let you down yet. Learn this lesson and take it to heart. And maybe someday, I’ll get there, too.

With love,

L

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Rm 12:2 

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14