How To Get Beach Ready The Right Way
I’m going to the British Virgin Islands next week. Crystal clear waters, the whitest of white sands, and not moving a muscle unless my piña colada so happens to need a refill — you know the type.
It goes without saying that I’m excited. But, as someone who has struggled with food, eating habits, and body image for the vast majority of her life, these types of the-less-clothing-the-better trips come with more than a single twinge of anxiety.
Minimal exercise + maximum lounging + decadent food + morning, afternoon, and evening drinks = terrifying.
Add being in a bathing suit the entire time to that equation and…well…is it crazy for me to stay home?
To be totally honest, it's my natural instinct to want to starve myself one to two weeks before a beach vacay. At minimum.
It took years and years of work for me to realize how destructive, unacceptable, unsustainable, and dangerous those types of thought patterns were for my health and for my life. Fortunately, I no longer do that, but it doesn't mean that those types of thoughts don't come crawling back every now and again, desperate to break through the surface I have worked so hard to create and sustain.
To no one's surprise, those beach vacations didn't disappear along with my thoughts of starvation, so I had to find a middle ground in order to feel beach ready and safe at the same time. I started to turn to these other seem-to-be-healthy, quick-fix solutions:
~ No sodium.
~ No drinking.
~ No carbs.
~ Exercising 2x/day.
~ All of the above.
These never worked.
I become an insane person before the trip, obsessing about food so much that I end up eating more, and spiraling into a tornado of sabotage, guilt, regret, and devastation. Once I finally dipped my toes into my picture perfect beach vacation, I’d be trapped: I couldn’t drink a sip of water or nibble on a blade of grass until I’d been in my bathing suit for a few empty hours. I’d have to go to the bathroom before leaving the house — and was willing to do anything necessary to accomplish that. I’d find ways to sneak in runs and beach yoga at the expense of time with people I loved. I was on a roller-coaster of unhappiness and disappointment.
Working at Sakara has taught me a lot. And one of the most prized possessions I now own and treasure, thanks to my Sakara family, is the ability to connect to my body, be present in my physicality, and dare I say, even love it from time to time.
So, as my dreamy beach vacay got closer and closer this year and I started to feel those old habits resurface, I created a new game plan: I threw all my diet / exercise plans out the window, and focused on my body. I spent a lot — and I mean a LOT — more time naked. On the couch, in the kitchen, in front of the mirror, eating, brushing my teeth, working. I looked at my body, touched my body, played with my body (you can interpret that however you’d like), and spent extra TLC in the places I disliked the most. I dressed my body up in tight, sexy clothing when it was socially unacceptable for me to don my birthday suit, and I spoke to it. I thanked my body for all that it has done for me, regardless of the abuse and hatred I regularly throw its way. I told it that I forgave it for not looking like the bodies in magazines and asked for it to forgive me for even thinking that in the first place. I said I love you, I love you, I love you, regardless of whether or not I felt it in full.
I would love to love my body.
It's a journey, and it's my journey so it's allowed to look however it is meant to look. In the meantime, I’m happy to settle for feeling comfortable in my body because after comfort, comes acceptance.
And then, comes love.
I know it.