Why “Bikini Season” Makes Me Cringe
It's March, which means that most gyms, studios and magazines have begun generating predictable excitement around the upcoming “bikini season” or “swimsuit season”.
In case you are unfamiliar with the swimsuit season, it’s promoted over the three months leading up to Memorial Day weekend (in the USA), the unofficial kickoff to summer.
Swimsuit season is used by businesses to revive activity after the New Year’s surge, and recruit women who may have been less body-focused over the winter months.
But you won’t see me marketing that way – not now, not ever. It’s one way in which I’m committed to being different in my industry.
The truth is that as a client, fitness instructor, and now studio owner, I find the swimsuit season concept cringe-worthy.
Well, this season is directed entirely at women and their socially ingrained body consciousness. We’ve all been fed the (unrealistic) societal standards for what is beautiful.
Even if we want to change our own narrative about ideal beauty, it takes some work to rewrite years of faulty messages.
And because of those faulty messages, there is not a woman out there, no matter how model-ready she appears, who does not have doubts and insecurities about her body.
When I hear myself return to the question of whether my thighs are too big, I’m reminded of my 10-year-old self, sitting with my two best childhood friends. We were scrunched together, hip to hip. One of them said, “Let’s see who has the biggest thighs.”
And then there’s those moments when I try on a top, and am reminded that there are some cups that I cannot fill!
For so many women, attaching our self-worth to our appearance began at a very young age.
Here’s what I’ve learned …
Swimsuit readiness is a beauty standard that we have allowed others to decide for us. When we deny ourselves the freedom to accept (andeven love) our body, no matter where we are in our wellness journey, then we give our power away.
We give strength to an inner, critical voice, who likes to remind you of your not enoughness.
The swimsuit-ready concept creates another avenue for such judgment.
It fuels the obsession that we’ve have with our appearance. We’ve been taught that appearance is an indicator of how hard we work on ourselves, a measure of self-control, and our willingness to spend on certain gym memberships or magical weight loss products.
Listen, our lives and our bodies are ours, and we can be proud of them no matter what.
What would happen if we approached swimsuit season (and every season) from a place of body acceptance, self-compassion, and radical self-care?
Your self-care may lead to an exercise program. But the energy and intent for doing it feels more accepting. It does not come from heavy criticism and a feeling of not measuring up. Or embarrassment about how others might judge your current body.
Swimsuit season delivers time-based, false pressure. It sets us up for seasons of healthy habits, fueled by force and shame.
There is another way, that isn’t time-bound. You simply decide that you are worth your attention, every single day.
Where you care for yourself while feeling good about it. Empowering thoughts and positive emotions become the motivation for making change.
You see, it’s never about the swimsuit. Because no matter your shape or size, no matter what you are wearing, you have the same brain.
Left unsupervised, your mind will continue to find unloving thoughts (and believe them!). But you can teach your brain to think differently. You can lose the mental weight of your critical thoughts.
We cannot ever control what others think of us, regardless of what we are wearing.
The only thoughts we can control are our own.
Soften your own self-judgment.
Cultivate truer, caring thoughts.
And let this be your season of health and healing.
P.S. I help women reach their wellness goals, using a simple, back to basics approach. They learn the tools for getting unstuck and feeling better. You, too, can reclaim your time, energy, and health, one small step at a time. For lasting change.
You are invited to a free call with me to talk about you and your wellness goals. You will come away with a deeper insight into what’s been standing in the way of your goals, and how to get unstuck.
Curious about whether coaching is for you? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with "Tell me more."