I have recently returned from a fun in the sun holiday at an all inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic; it was a lovely location where I got plenty of rest and relaxation. I went with a girl friend to celebrate 30 years of friendship. I felt it was important to mark this occasion; knowing and valuing someone this long during these times of disposable everything is noteworthy.
In preparation, I made a major decision: leave the one piece “grandma” bathing suit behind. I shopped and purchased a high-waist bottom and a bikini top. I was not ready to embrace a low-waist bathing suit bottom but I saw that “the girls” looked fine in the new top I had purchased. I decided to be brave and stop hiding my slightly padded, middle aged body.
Once there, I was surprised to find that most of the guests were European rather than North American. This was quite a lot of fun as I “people watched” the many guests at this resort. I found it striking that there were only two or three women wearing a one piece bathing suit and about the same number wearing tankinis. The rest wore bikinis. No. They were not all bathing suit models. This is what surprised me. These women ranged in age, height, size, and were, for the most part, lovely and plump.
None were affected by body shaming that is prevalent in North American society. We either do this to ourselves or are victimized by others. Apparently, this isn’t the case for the women from across the pond. It was an eye opener that was incredibly freeing…and reassuring. Here I thought myself very brave in my new bathing suit only to find that my style was still quite sedate and conservative. Wow!
All of these women were fully enjoying themselves, no shame, embarrassment, or self-consciousness.
I would have put a picture of myself on the beach in my bathing suit, if I had one. Sadly, I have none. So, in preparation for this article, I searched for pictures that would represent what I saw on the beach. There were many terrific pictures of larger women in bikini bathing suits. Yeah!
When I followed the links for these pictures, I sometimes ended up at a person’s personal blog. She would be the lovely lady in the picture and was proud of herself and not ashamed of her body type. That was uplifting. The comments were the eye opener. They ranged from very supportive to an almost “how dare you show yourself in public” type of response. They usually included something about not being healthy and that such a person shouldn’t be proud of herself and the list goes on.
It seems that, to these people, there is only one acceptable body type that is deemed healthy and beautiful and that is the thin, sometimes nearly emaciated, bathing suit model type woman. That, however, is far from the truth.
Not everyone who is thin is healthy. Not everyone who is plump or overweight is unhealthy. Each person is different and will experience her or his own level of health. Here’s my personal example.
The week after I got back from holidays, I went for my full physical. I am over fifty, have a little extra padding around my middle and thighs, can still wear the same clothes that I have had for years and most of all, I have absolutely NO prescription drugs to take for any medical condition whatsoever. My physician – who is awesome and whom I respect – took my blood pressure, height, and weight. When it came to weight she pointed to the number and said that I was a little over the recommended BMI. My reply was that the BMI scale was NEVER intended for a single person. She tactfully ignored that comment and went on with the rest of my examination. I will cover the truth about BMI in a separate article. Stay tuned!
Here’s my point, I am fully mobile, walk extensively, practice yoga, eat nutritionally balanced meals, sometimes eat junk food, and drink alcohol. I am HEALTHY. If you look at family pictures, I have the same body type as the women on my mother’s side of the family. To hell with BMI! I am who I am and proud to look and feel younger than I am.
If, like me, you are active, eat well and have a little extra weight, then that is the healthy weight for you. Don’t let anyone body shame you or try to make you think that you are unhealthy when you feel great in your own skin.
As for me, we’re heading into winter and cold weather, so not bathing suit weather. However, for next summer, I fully intend to retire my one piece bathing suit and getting a new bikini. I’m “all that” and going to flaunt it.
Be bold, be brave, be beautiful.