I’m going to let you in on something today. Because maybe you need to learn from my mistake.
I lived in England for 4 and a bit years (and seriously loved it). But I missed the sun. A lot. I missed the outdoorsy lifestyle that you never truly appreciate until you spend a significant amount of time living away from it. I missed the lazy days at the beach and too hot to sleep nights.
I came back to Sydney at the start of winter in 2013. Although an Aussie winter felt warm to my English weather acclimatised body, I was still desperate to experience that scorching heat from the summer sun.
But as summer began to approach, I felt that sudden, all encompassing panic when I thought about having to step into a bikini.
And then be in public in that bikini.
You see, it was during my first couple of months back in Sydney that I realised I had some seriously tricky challenges happening around eating and my body image.
I was given a massive wakeup call that I couldn’t keep eating in a way that can only be described as restriction, swiftly followed by rebellion, all wrapped up in stress.
But how did my body finally get my attention after all these years?! It stacked on the weight. Big time! (Biggest time.)
So, begrudgingly, I decided it was time to listen. And I began rebuilding my relationship with food.
But I still couldn’t accept my body. “How could I?!” I questioned, mostly while feeling angry about it. “How can I love this?!”
So here I am, carrying extra weight, totally unsure how to begin loving this body of mine, and summer has arrived.
I was so insecure that I came up with every excuse not to go to the beach. Even though my soul was begging for it.
I let my first Australian summer in years go by without going to the beach once. Without floating in the ocean. Without putting my feet in the sand.
When summer was over I was filled with so much regret. It was painful. I felt guilty that I kept myself small and basically hidden away. I knew I had denied of myself something that I loved and had missed so much while I was living away.
I promised myself that this year I would not make the same mistake.
A year on, and a lot of internal growth later, it all feel a little easier, but still daunting.
Here’s what I did differently:
1. I went shopping for a new bikini, one I would feel great in. One that suited my shape. (Still, an ultimate test of self love.)
2. I went to the freaking beach.
Hmm… not rocket science after all!
Was it scary? YES. Was it the best thing ever? YES.
I can’t begin to tell you how rewarding it was to face something so simple (like going to the beach) that I had made into this big scary thing. I felt so at peace being in the water and relaxing on the sand. Water has a calming effect that I love so much.
And I realised I don’t want to ever hold myself back again, in anything, ever, just because I don’t think I look good enough.
I didn’t want to look back in years to come and think about all of these situations I held myself back from out of fear of not looking good enough and think, damn it Jess, why didn’t you just relax and enjoy yourself. That’s why this process of actually going to the beach and realising I can do all the things I want to do now, was such a big breakthrough for me.
Look, here I am. At the beach! Happy as Larry. The expression on my face might look uncomfortable, but it’s actually my I hope no one notices I’m taking a selfie face.
So my question to you is, what are you holding yourself back from? Out of fear that you don’t look good enough, or you’re not in good enough shape?
What would you do if you did have the perfect body?
Whatever it is, start doing that now.
P.S Any comments or contributions? Leave me a note below! (You know I love to hear from you.)