The only helpful advice I can offer to the question posed above is to stop wearing shorts; they’re flattering only for those with thigh gaps and T Squared* legs (*toned and tanned). If that seems unfair, callous and ridiculous, it’s because it is! But that’s what I’ve been telling myself ever since I became acutely aware of my body, and I am willing to bet a deep-fried, brown-hued dinner at my neighborhood pub that most women have felt the same at some point in their lives.
The truth is, we are living in a fat-shaming society where obesity numbers are vastly increasing and we’re constantly being slapped in the face with rail-thin models/actresses who set the bar somewhere between unattainable and impossible as far as beauty standards go. And now that summer is here and half done (which basically means it’s over because Summer Time exists only in a vortex where time goes thrice as fast as Rest-of-the-Year-Time), it’s time to reflect on another summer gone by where you felt completely uncomfortable and excruciatingly self-aware in a bathing suit.
As a cuisine appreciating, half-Italian woman in my mid-twenties who doesn’t question the decision to go see a movie, read a book in a park, or eat a delicious meal at a restaurant post-work instead of going to an exercise class to physically exert myself, I can tell you with confidence that I understand the horrors of weight gain (as well as the comfort of indulgence). Throughout my life, I’ve experienced what it’s like to be fit and sassy, slightly overweight, and everything in between – I am currently teetering on the edge of ‘overweightness’ and I have to admit, it feels pretty fucking lousy some days. Like those times I have to stuff my gunt into my jeans before sitting down, or realizing I have cellulite…on my arms!? That shit’s rough.
But as I get older and become more secure in who I am as a person, I find myself saying “Well Sky, its okay if you need to wear tummy-control tights because you’re also a really amazing person!” and other similar mom-type, uplifting statements. I wish I could go back in time and slap my 130 pound, 20 year old self for thinking I was fat – no matter how thin I was or how utterly bangin’ I looked in a bikini I was never happy with myself. Its only now that I am far more voluptuous (euphemisms are vital to a happy life!) that I am finally starting to make peace with my body and realize its not all about flat tummies and gymnast booties (however those are still pretty good, let’s be honest).
For all ya’ll struggling with similar bouts of low self-esteem due to body image issues, I have some effective tips on how to debunk that bullshit:
1. Mirror Pump-Up (best achieved when alone in the house): Okay, so first you have to blast one of your favourite inspirational songs (when in doubt always go for new-skool Robyn); put on your most slammin’ outfit that makes you feel Beyonce-hot on your worst of days; do your hair and make-up as if you are trying to attract some honeys at da club; and position yourself in front of a full-length mirror. Now you must list off, aloud, a bunch of amazing attributes about yourself that others have most likely complimented you on at some point in your life. We’ll do this one together! Here goes: healthy hair, clear skin, full lips, prominent cheekbones. Whoa I’m a model! Now you must do the same thing but with personality traits: responsible, funny, intelligent, mostly not a bitch. You see, I could have kept going but I had to stop to save myself from insta-ego inflation – its important to strike a balance. Now do you realize how easy it is to be critical of yourself in a positive way? Proceed to dance with wild abandon like you did as a kid, when your inner critic was in hibernation and eagerly awaiting your pubescence for its chance to ruin your life forever.
2. Dress For Your Body: Now this one may seem redundant and obvious to some, but it is the absolute best thing you can do for yourself, or at least that’s what I learned after years of watching What Not To Wear (thanks Stacy and Clinton). I have a strict rule that every time my jeans impolitely shove me into muffin top, shapeless shirt territory, its time to get new jeans (refer to the picture of the muffin with a camel toe below). Trust me, the sting of going up a size is way less painful and easily managed than the discomfort of too-tight jeans. I also recommend getting properly fitted for a bra to avoid an attack of unsightly back-rolls; wearing high-waisted bike shorts under your dresses and skirts (this will simultaneously act as Spanx and prevent your thighs from chaffing as they rub together on those sweaty days); and opt for low-cut, empire waist shirts that frame and prop up your tits nicely, but also flow away from the torso creating a tiny-waist illusion.
3. Excuse Rejection: Excuses and justifications are thine worst enemy; as in they’re worse than Justin Bieber, clowns, and counting calories COMBINED. I think I’ve used every ludicrous excuse possible to get myself out of things I didn’t want to do, like exercise, eat salads every day and so on. Somewhere between “I can’t go to step class because I’m really flatulent today” (immediately revealing and embarrassing but valid all the same…also step class sucks for real) and “I’ll just eat the whole pie in one sitting so it’s gone and I’ll just never buy another one again!” I realized how responsible I am for my current physical state. Gluttony is the deadliest of sins, besides wrath…and probably greed – we do live in a capitalist First World society after all. So if you can manage it, tough love the shit out of yourself until you form new, healthy habits and abolish those irksome excuses forever. I’m going to go for a run now! But my boobs really are too big, and I have weak ankles sooo…
4. Adopt a C’est La Vie Attitude: I’ve always despised those perma-happy, “I’ve never even cried!” types who don’t ever wear black or listen to The Cure, but now that I am a mature adult, I can really see the value in optimism. Life’s outcomes are 8% effort and 92% attitude – you can’t argue with stats and science. But for real, if you truly believe something awesome will happen, it’s a lot more likely to than if you absolutely knew it wouldn’t – it’s the fundamental law of attraction, baby! (and is also known as The Secret). So if you’re sitting like a gassy frog on a lily pad, feeling miserable about the state of your body, always keep in mind that things could ALWAYS be worse, and conversely, they can always get better. Just ask that Subway guy who was famous for a couple weeks for losing a bunch of weight after eating highly processed sandwiches but everybody has since forgotten until I mentioned him just now!
So my fellow buxom females, the next time life hands you poutine with venison pepperettes in a red wine gravy, say fuck dieting and eat the shit out of it – because skinny and hungry will never feel as good as an incredible meal tastes, and Kate Moss can suck it. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way endorsing unhealthy eating habits or shaming all those genetically blessed slim gals; but I think enjoying a mostly healthy diet peppered with moderate indulgences makes for a happy life, and if that means being bigger than a size 6 then so be it. If you’re bigger than you want to be, you have two choices: work your ass off until you’re happy with your body, or accept the one you already have and move on to enjoy your life! After all, we only have one, so let’s bathe in it luxuriously in a one-piece bathing suit. Or just be naked – either option will suffice.