If you typed that question into your search browser, and Google would spit out this answer, it would mean we’ve finally-as a culture-come to a place of real body acceptance.
Alas, that isn’t the case–not yet, anyway. Type that question into Google (I know, because I did it) and you get a multitude of articles telling you just how to make your body bikini ready, most of which are done in 7, 21, or 30 days. Because who has time these days to wait for a bikini body? I mean, summer is HERE, am I right?!
Thankfully, most of the nutrition advice provided in these articles isn’t too off base, although you can certainly find some that are bordering unsafe or extreme. But the workouts, on the other hand, are usually ineffective at best. The larger issue here isn’t the quality of the diet or exercise plan that promises to “get you bikini ready fast,” it’s the fact that they’re implying that not only do you lack a bikini body, but you need to (and according to the articles, can) obtain one quickly.
I even found one article in Fitness Magazine that promised a “bikini worthy body.” Worthy. Which is a small step from saying not only is your body not bikini ready, it’s not worthy of donning one either.
I got frustrated with this-as I generally am with the state of the fitness industry-so I decided to do something about it.
Before we go any further into this notion, I want to address the bodies in the photo, as I know there’s sure to be some inevitable debate. I want to be very clear so that the true spirit of this post is not missed, and you aren’t focused on the bodies in the photo as opposed to the sentiment itself.
On the left is yours truly, weighing in at roughly 130 pounds at 5’1″ (and 3/4!). This is a pretty flattering photo of me, as I tend to carry most of my fat in my legs, particularly posteriorly, which you can’t see. I’m also very tanned, as I live by the beach, so I’m pretty much always tanned. And, if you follow my work, then you know I recently posted a photo on Facebook depicting a new, much softer body than I used to have. To read more about the way I feel about my new body and it’s fluctuations, click HERE to see the full post.
I’m not in the best shape of my life in either of these photos, but I’m in pretty good shape. I eat a very nutritious diet with the occasional splurge on Australian licorice (my kryptonite), and the very frequent glass(es) of wine. I exercise daily, whether it’s a heavy lift sesh, a lighter and faster lift (metabolic resistance), yoga, SUP, hiking, or intervals of some sort. My quick workouts range from 15-30 minutes on average, but if I put in a heavy strength sesh or go to the yoga studio it’s upwards of 60 minutes. I walk and ride my bike regularly as a means of conveyance, and I absolutely LOVE my lifestyle.
I’m not “fitness model perfect” or without flaws (if I was turned around in this photo, you’d clearly see my cellulite), but I love my body. Furthermore, I love the beach, and I’m not about to miss out on the fun because I’m not as lean as I was last summer.
My point is that some people will say “that girl already has a bikini body” while others might insinuate that I could stand to lose a few pounds (trust me, I’ve been called fat several times); both of those sentiments are completely irrelevant. What is relevant is that I have a bikini body. You have a bikini body. We ALL have bikini bodies because we have bodies–the bikini itself is optional.
The unfortunate truth is that some people will completely miss the extreme significance of this message my arguing the minutia (don’t be one of those people!). The indisputable truth is this:
There is No Such Thing as a Bikini Body.
There are just bodies. Some are taller, some more stout. Some thicker, some leaner. Some wider and some more narrow. Some have bigger muscles, others don’t. All of them are capable of (and worthy of) putting on a bikini any time they choose. In fact, because I live at the beach, I spend a great deal of time catching the rays and reading a good book. While on the shore, I’m privileged to regularly see women in two-piece suits that most would not consider “bikini ready.” I see women of all shapes and sizes sunbathing, playing with their kids in the sand, or braving the chilly temperatures of the Santa Monica waves.
This courageous display of coastal frivolity brings me immense happiness. Witnessing so many women in their most vulnerable public form, regardless of shape and size–it warms my heart; it lights a fire in my soul. Maybe they’re working towards losing weight or changing they’re physiques, and maybe not. The point is that they all have bikini bodies simply because they are wearing bikinis.
Listen, if you don’t want to wear a bikini, don’t wear a bikini. That’s your prerogative. Wear a kimono or a one piece or shorts or a sarong–whatever feels right to YOU. But because it’s your prerogative, YOU get to decide if you have a bikini body. Not society, not the media, and not bikini manufacturers…YOU. If you want a bikini body, wear a bikini. If not, don’t wear a bikini. The choice is yours, but regardless, you are bikini worthy.
My bikini body has undergone some serious changes over the course of my life, but it’s always been my bikini body, regardless of it’s shape.
The shape I take changes all the time. As a teenager, I was the thickest girl in my peer group, but as I grew into adolescence I started lifting weights and transformed my physique. While I was in the Air Force, I dropped down to 115 pounds and my parents said I was too skinny. When I was pregnant I was 170 pounds, 2 years ago I was 12% body fat and 120 pounds, today I am roughly 134 pounds and wearing a size larger than I did 2 years ago. I have stretch marks on my inner thighs and a fair amount of cellulite, but I also have strong legs, a muscular torso and delts that my meathead husband admires.
At every single one of those stages of my life I was worthy of wearing a bikini.
Because I’m worthy. Right now. Not -10 pounds from now, or 2 years ago when I was shredded. NOW. And so are you.
That’s not to say that you can’t work on changing your body as you see fit. There’s no rule that says you can’t love your body and still want it to change in some way, but there is a problem with hating your body until it reaches some perceived level of “bikini ready.” You can’t hate yourself into your fittest self, because by definition, fitness is health. Fitness is the health of your body, mind, and soul. Therefore your fittest self is not only physically fit, but mentally strong, confident, and loving towards itself and others.
Harboring negative thoughts about yourself, or obsessing constantly over the shape of your body is not healthy. Not to mention that hating yourself into leanness is not sustainable; changing your mindset is the real key to stopping the obsessive yo-yo cycle. Self-love, body acceptance, a nourishing diet, and regular exercise–these are sustainable strategies for changing your physique and being your fittest self, not self-hate and 7-day bikini body plans. Don’t get it twisted, self-love and body acceptance are going to take some time. It doesn’t happen overnight, and even those of us who have embraced our bodies sometimes have struggles. You have to truly commit to the idea that you can and should love your body, no matter what it looks like. It’s a daily practice that will eventually become a habit, but it starts with just one thought:
Don’t get it twisted, self-love and body acceptance are going to take some time. It doesn’t happen overnight, and even those of us who have embraced our bodies sometimes have struggles. You have to truly commit to the idea that you can and should love your body, no matter what it looks like. It’s a daily practice that will eventually become a habit, but it starts with just one thought: I am are worthy.
Now that we’ve got this “bikini body” nonsense out of the way, I’ll acknowledge the obvious: We still want to look and feel our best–regardless of whether or not we choose to wear a bikini, and regardless of how much we accept and love our bodies. Wanting to be our fittest selves is a worthy endeavor when our heads and hearts are in the right place. So, in order to help you with that endeavor, I’m going to share with you a simple and effective plan to help you become your fittest self, bikini optional.
Your Eat, Lift & be Happy Summer Plan is 100% complimentary, and will help cultivate and enrich your lifestyle this summer. No more stressing out over bikinis and pool parties–instead, I want to help you focus on becoming your fittest self from the inside out.
Have a fabulous summer!
Neghar Fonooni, fitness & lifestyle coach, entrepreneur *Founder: Eat, Lift, & be Happy negharfonooni.com