According to Women's Health magazine (July/August 2015), us ladies spend 58 days in our lifetime waxing and shaving. Wow, that's a lot of days to keep ourselves plucked and pruned. Well, regardless of the plucking, it rarely applies to me as I have gone into my little cocooned shell of covering up on holiday.
When it comes to, dare I say it...getting bikini ready, do you, like me, feel the pressure of getting your body in any kind of condition for holiday? Or do we just not care? My mind tells me that my little white body has bore two beautiful children and fine, I might not have the bikini body of a 21-year-old anymore, but in the words of my best buddy Sophie, she says "sod it! We're on holiday". And you know, she's so damn right.
I am unsure exactly when it happened, but after having my son in 2012 and I gained some weight, let's call it a stone for good measure. I’ve got to the stage where I can no longer say “I’ve just had a baby”. Sure; he’s almost four.
Considering I am strong, confident woman, I have turned my back on bikinis. I pack them in my suitcase every holiday, but once I get there, I lose my confidence to put it on. If my husband catches me trying the bikini on in the bathroom, he thinks I look great, but no matter what he says, I quickly change back into my comfort zone (my faithful Boden swimsuit).
Over the years, I've convinced myself that I am too old to wear a bikini and the swimsuit is the way forward, but who am I kidding? I read an interesting article one weekend in the newspaper, where a number of women of various shapes and sizes complete a swimsuit vs bikini look. From the photos, you can then give your own view on whether they look slimmer in the bikini or the swimsuit. In pretty much every photo my husband and I mutually agreed that the women looked more flattering and slimmer in their bikinis.
So perhaps I've got more body hang ups than I thought? But am I alone? Help me out ladies!
When my sister in law had her first daughter, she looked amazing. She was naturally fit and slim. I recall us having a fun day with the kids, splashing about in the paddling pool. I asked to take a photo of Catherine and her daughter and as I went to do so, Catherine leant forward, showing off her neat six pack. The perfect body photo. That will never be me. But you know what, that's ok. I just need to get back into a happier body place.
Thinking about body image, I don't think I have ever seen my mum in a swimsuit. It's always been bikini all the way and bloody hell, my mum seriously rocks one. Most importantly, she couldn't give two hoots what people think about how she looks. She's wearing a bikini, getting a great tan and in Sophie's words once again "sod it, we're on holiday!"
In October 2015 we travelled to Tenerife for abit of winter family fun. My other sister in law joined us and you won’t catch her in a swimsuit either. I’m starting to feel abit alone on this matter. She was very complimentary to me on holiday, saying "Jo, you've definitely lost weight since we last went on holiday together. You look great". That's nice isn't it. In fact, it was so nice that I got a surge of positive energy to sneak upstairs, put on my bikini and thought...this is my moment of glory. I'm going to brave it!
I came downstairs and was welcomed with 'nice bikini!'. We started loading up the car to drive to a nearby beach and with the engine running, I said 'hold on guys. I just need a wee!' After going for a wee, I snuck upstairs and quickly changed, putting on my 'safety blanket' swimsuit. As I got back in the car they could see my swimsuit under my white vest and looked at me with disappointed faces. To which I replied "what?". #epicfail
I realise this story is starting to sound terribly sad, but don’t worry – things are on the up. As of 2nd January 2016; it's no gluten, no wheat, no sugar and no alcohol. It's not long term but I'm going for 90 days and don't get me wrong, I will allow myself a few treat nights of pizza and beers. It's not a diet as my sister in law reminds me regularly - it's a lifestyle change. And she's right. If I want to be body confident for that poxy bikini, my mission starts now. So much of me says, this is ridiculous. Depriving myself of all my favourite things. It sucks. Pass the gin!
But I must see this through. I'm already eight pounds lighter than I was on 2nd January 2016 and going for a steady 45 minute run yesterday made me feel like a gazelle! When I excitedly told my husband how great my run was and how I felt super bouncy in my strides, he replied "that's because you are not as heavy …my darling". I think that's an attempt at a compliment.
When I asked him earlier in the week if I looked any slimmer, he told me I looked 'less bloated'. Guys - FYI - this is not a compliment.
I'll update you on my progress in a few weeks...