I’m just back from twelve days of glorious sunshine on a campsite in Tuscany. Our trip involved sun, pools, ice-cream and all the carbs. (I’m not one to avoid carbs as a rule but in 12 days I have transformed to 95% carb.)
We booked the holiday before Christmas, just in time for the January magazines to tell me how to “get a bikini body” in various time-frames using different methods. Juice diets, high intensity workouts, drinking all the water, buying the supplement that sponsored the article.
I guffawed and shared the memes that say “I’ve a body and a bikini so therefore, I have a bikini body” on Facebook. I liked and shared the crap out of them. Attack is the first form of defence.
Here’s the thing.
I’m forty next birthday. I’ve three kids. I’ve had two c-sections. I have a mummy tummy.
You know, the loose skin, stretch marks, the paunch, the “medicinal” wine and slightly less medicinal crisps and chocolate.
These are not excuses, just the facts. I enjoy eating more than I enjoy exercising.
So while I laughed along and shared the memes there was a little voice inside going “really? You’re going to expose this whiter-than-white, wobbly tummy, these so-white-they’re-blue legs with their spider veins?”
So I bought a fit-for-the-pool swimsuit. It was strapless and pretty.
It was Officemum’s fault. I considered taking her advice and just forsaking the bikinis for swimsuits altogether but then I saw a cute bikini (for cute read forgiving) in the supermarket and it found its way into my trolley.
On the first day on my holidays I wore my supermarket bikini.
And I was glad that I did. I felt pretty good (this was day 1 of the carbs and ice-cream diet).
You know why?
Of about 200 women between the ages of 18 and 80 that I saw at the pool that day only two were wearing swimsuits. Everyone else was letting it all hang out, the tummy, the wings, the wobbles, the lot. It was the same every day.
I saw lots of bodies in bikinis but I didn’t see many that resembled the ones on the front of magazines that they call “bikini bodies”. That made me happy. It showed how bizarre it all is.
We’re comparing ourselves to ridiculous standards and getting stressed about not meeting them.
Yes, it’s good to be in shape but it’s bad to be scared to bare our midriffs, if that’s what we want to do, based on the front of the magazines. Sure, it’s fine not to want to wear one, it is absolutely a personal choice. But remember there’s not too many men afraid to let it all hang out, and you don’t see many magazine covers telling men how to “tone up for summer”.
I did wear the swimsuit some days, mostly to cut down on applying suncream. They have their uses too.
So, if you are wondering whether you are “bikini ready” don’t look at your body, look into your heart, look at your confidence levels, check your self esteem. If you’re going to spend all your time poolside feeling self-conscious and trying to cover yourself then leave the bikini at home.
But if you feel OK wearing it and want to wear it then do and don’t feel that your body isn’t a “bikini body” too. Because if they make bikinis in our sizes what are we supposed to do except wear them?
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Needed to read this. Off on my hols in 12 days and I will be letting it all wobble about. My bikini body plans failed but I’m going to enjoy myself and not be ashamed.
That is exactly the right attitude to have. Have a brilliant holiday
Love this. From someone who looks at her post c section belly and laments about how bikini days are over; this will be read over a few times before the next holiday to change my mind!
Two sections down and I wore one. I also wore one on DUNCANNON BEACH 6 weeks post section in 2013, although that was mostly because my swimsuit wouldn’t fit.
I came up with a new theory this trip (just for me now, not necessarily applicable to everyone) Most of the women at our pool were in bikinis too, and most had kids, and most had mum-tums. So far, so fine. But most of them were tanned all over – lovely wobbly bellies that were brown (mostly Italian, Danish and Dutch at our campsite) and they looked great. I on the other hand have a WAHM-tan on my upper body and legs, and the whitest belly known to (wo)man. I would have looked like a bizarre stripy person if I wore a bikini. So next year, I’m going to remember to put tan-moisturiser on my stomach a few weeks before the hols so I match up. I’m sure I’m going to remember to do this…
I’ll remind you, about that and the passports. The cocoa brown stuff is brilliant, I’m a recent convert. We should have a pale-off, my legs are genuinely blue.
Good point Sinead.
I’ve never been a bikini person though. One holiday in Crete getting sunburn on my tummy put any notions of bikini-wearing to bed. I’m happy with my swimsuit. Plus the top of it won’t pop off as I land in the pool after shooting out of the water slide 🙂
We went to silver coast this year Portugal …. Lots of Portuguese families … General rule of thumb is to get bikini on…. Arrange the back to show bum cheeks… Size shape does not matter …. Was very refreshing!! I felt like a nun in habit walking around in my one piece!! … Took a trip to cheap Chinese shop and bought a basic two piece…. And let that vitamin d penetrate the larger surface area of skin!! That culture have a great grasp on attractiveness, confidently being a woman, and celebrating sun and skin I loved it!!!! … And my 3 c section wrinkly soft gooey Tum xx
Isn’t it funny to see different cultures are a lot less hung up on it than others. Glad you got your two piece and liberated your tum:)
Great post. I generally wear a swimsuit partly because because of my wobbly white tummy but mostly because of the time my bikini top didn’t stay put after a vigorous dive whilst on holiday with a bunch of lads, 10 years ago but still cringing, thinking of it. Next sun holiday though I am going to revisit bikinis thanks to this post!
Oh cringe! I reckon the trick is to buy a good one, although my supermarket version did me proud.
Brilliant post Sinead, great inspiration! I’m working on toning my c-section tummy up at the moment but if I were to jet off no my hols in the next few weeks I think I might just brave the bikini…if I found one as cute as your one! 🙂
The trick is the turned down thick waistband it’s a hero for hiding and disguising! We had our c-sections at the same time so we should work on the tummies together- the time has come!!
My sentiments entirely. https://maireaddoyle.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/are-you-bikini-ready/
Great post, I am off on holidays in four days. I have the bikini out for packing, was going to try it on to see it still fits but maybe I’ll just take a leap of faith and throw it in the suitcase anyway 🙂
I really enjoyed this post. I haven’t worn a bikini since I had the kids. Only a few weeks ago I bought a tankini and briefs. It was much more flattering and felt less mumsy than a one-piece.
I also had an unfortunate incident with my bikini – after coming down a water slide and splashing into the pool, my bikini ended up wrapped around my upper arms and neck. It took me a few seconds to realise as some water also went up my nose and I was little disorientated. The pool was very quiet that day, but the lifeguard was sitting opposite the water slide and saw everything. I was mortified.
Oh dear! This holiday I’ve stuck to swimsuits so far but last year was all bikinis and no swimsuits
I’d not even consider wearing a swimsuit and after the first day usually forget to care. My problem isn’t other women it’s the fact I’ve 3 very toned daughters sitting or walking beside me. But their day will come!