The Summer Beach Body Is Bulls**t. Here’s How I Let It Go.
By Bella Westaway | Brand and Content Specialist at Wild Women On Top
I was once in a spin class where the trainer said: “C’mon ladies, let’s get those Victoria's Secret bods.”
At the time, I considered it motivating. I did want to look like a Victoria’s Secret model, didn’t I?
So I spun, spun and spun until I could spin no more and then I wobbled off the bike à la Bridget Jones. I could hardly walk for days.
But the motivation waned, and I never went back to that spin class, because life’s too short to cry every time you need to sit on the loo. I also never looked like a Victoria’s Secret model, because, well I prefer eating food to eating tissues.
That class may have given me one solid workout, but it didn’t get me healthy.
I think most of us have been exposed to this type of motivational messaging. Whether it’s “bikini bodies” or “get summer ready” or “look great naked”. The idea that we must shrink ourselves into a shape that’s acceptable to be looked at – a shape worthy of observation.
It might motivate us in the short term, but does it work in the long term? Or does it simply feed into this flawed idea that we must be beautiful to be worthy?
I think back to all the times I skipped a swim because I’d deemed myself not perfect enough for public display, worried about jiggling thighs or cellulite, stomach rolls or acne. I think back to the precious moments missed because of a false belief that I wasn’t beautiful enough to deserve them.
This is bullshit.
When I was in Iceland on a hiking trip a few years ago, our guide told us she had a surprise for us that day. And sure enough, after hours of walking through desolate wilderness, we came upon… a hot spa. I kid you not. It was heated by geothermal water that was coming up through the ground.
Were we going in?
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hesitate. Stripping naked in front of people is uncomfortable for most, but it wasn’t my ‘bits’ that worried me. It was my body, and the fact that it wasn’t as small or as toned or as smooth as I wanted it to be. It wasn’t ‘summer ready’.
Looking back, I’m so glad I took that dip, swam naked with a bunch of ladies in a tiny pool in the middle of the vast Icelandic wilderness. In the end, our wobbly bits were forgotten and yet that memory is fixed as magic in my mind.
That’s what the Wild Women spirit is all about. It’s about discovering that fitness is a feeling, not a number on the scale or the size on your bikini. It’s about freedom… around food and exercise but also around yourself.
When you’re hiking, you’re stripped of your armour… your clothes, makeup, jewellery and tech are left behind and it’s just you and your boots, one foot in front of the other. You’re forced to let people see you just as you are, and they still love you and so you realise that is enough. You are enough.
So this summer, I’d encourage you to ditch that ‘bikini body’ mindset. You don’t need to tone up or remove hair or lose weight. Your body, right this moment, is perfectly acceptable to swim, hike, walk, dance, jump and play. I can tell you that without even seeing it.
Don’t hesitate. Strip off and jump in the damn ocean.
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