How To Get A “Beach Body”: You Already Have One

How to get a beach body: you already have one. Like many teen girls, I struggled with negative body image. I was a little overweight, not a lot, but Twiggy shot onto the scene when I was about 11 (and she was all of 16). All my friends envied her and some of us starved ourselves trying to get model thin.

I had anorexia from about age 13 to 17. That is not Twiggy’s fault; it’s complicated as hell, as all mental disorders are. But I hated, hated my body all through my teen years, whether is was a little overweight or dramatically thin. Going shopping for a bathing suit was pure hell.

So I can really get behind the body-positive campaign at the site About Face. The section on resources for teens is especially inspiring. The book Real Gorgeous is a treat for any age.

From the About Face site:

“Since 1997, About-Face has taught girls to understand and question their media environment, including unrealistic beauty ideals that leave so many women worried about taking off their swimsuit cover-up so they can hop in the pool and have fun with their friends and families.    

Young women are feeling a lot of pain, fear, and anxiety in dressing rooms all over the United States, where they’re trying on swimsuits, shorts, dresses, and all kinds of other clothes. What will they miss out on?”

A worthy mantra. Source.

While the site is targeted at young women suffering from poor body image, it has a positive message for us all.  Beauty comes at every size and every age. Don’t miss out on all the good stuff because your body doesn’t meet the media’s and culture’s narrow definitions. To my friends over 50: wear a bikini if you want to! And post a pic and be proud.

“And I said to my body softly, ‘I want to be your friend.’ It took a long breath and replied, ‘I have been waiting my whole life for this.”

-Nayyirah Waheed

In related bikini news, Mekayla Diehl, Miss Indiana, received praise and attention for having a “normal” body, rather than an unnaturally starved look. (Some women are naturally thin, but beauty pageants abound with women who’ve gone hungry to look “perfect.”)

I think she’s gorgeous, of course. And while she is “normal” (like the rest of us with bodies) she’s far from the “average” U.S. woman’s body (about 5’4″ and 170 pounds, according to Centers for Disease Control). So congrats to her, and please – when can we be done with beauty pageants altogether?

Have you made progress over the years with loving your own body size and shape? Let’s roll into our senior years full of compassion for our magnificent bodies that do so much for us.

Stay fabulous and safe, wash and wash and wash (your hands), xo

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  1. Thanks for sharing your body issues. I think it would be hard to find a woman our age who wasn’t happy with her body when she was a teenager (and many who have never been happy with it). I was very thin up until I was in my 40’s and it often seemed to be more of a problem for other people, who would ask me to my face if I was anorexic. I wasn’t, and I was shocked at how people felt it was ok to ask such personal questions. So much of how we feel about our bodies come from other people’s reactions to them, which is so unfortunate.

  2. This is such a lovely and inspirational post. It’s a message that we need early in our lives- with constant reminders like this one. Thank you for your positive words!

    • Thanks for your kind words Debi. It’s good to remind ourselves that our bodies do so much! Stay safe and well, xx.

  3. Wonderful topic Patti. Poor body image in my youth, best shape of my life in my 60s. Now I am more muscular than I have ever been, I drink tons more liquids, and try not to eat processed food.

  4. I could have used some of that advise in my teens – I’ve been transcribing my old journal from when I was 17 (1984-1985) and it’s heartbreaking how I bash myself and the names I call myself (fat pig, disgusting). I was 5’4″ and weighed 120 back then! I’ve had weight issues my whole life, and while I’ve gained a bit of weight during Covid, I feel better about my body than I have during so many periods of my life, even when I was thinner.

    Hugs to you, Patti, for the great article.

    • Hello dear Sheila. I feel so sad for your teen self (I called myself bad names too). Love your body, my friend, you always look fab. xx

  5. Lovely post!. Really love how you encourage everybody to wear a bikini and enjoy a good time at the beach/pool.
    Actually I wear a bikini at the beach and my mom does it too and she rocks!

  6. Merci beaucoup for your warmth, positivity and supportive message and site. With aging I have learned to accept the wrinkles & very mature bikini body and learned to always put my best self forward with positivity, kindness to others, fashion, and an aware well read mind with Love and knowledge to share ..I remember beloved Louise Hay who advised us about self acceptance and told us to look at ourselves in the mirror each day and say I Love You.
    PS -Sorry for past and future writing errors but with the golden years I have noticed I make more errors.

    • Hello dear Joan and thanks for coming over. Positivity, kindness, and knowledge are always beautiful! Your writing is simply perfect. xx

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