4 Ways To Empower Yourself When You're Feeling Unconfident In A Bikini

by Joana Ribeiro

Growing up, I always had body issues.

I was born prematurely and didn’t gain much weight as a child. However, when puberty came, the weight hit me like a ton of bricks. Things started to grow more than they were supposed to and my body seemed to want to store calories in all of the wrong places.

As I compared myself to friends, magazines and movie stars, I eventually realized there was something very different about me, and for many years, I couldn’t bear to look in the mirror without finding any flaws.

My mom always had the best intentions when she offered to help me lose weight, but getting advice from someone who has a perfect figure is discouraging from the get-go.

I’m simply built differently.

My father passed down to me (and to one of my brothers) the “fatty” genes, which, when mixed with a sedentary lifestyle, is a recipe for disaster.

My weight always fluctuated between “chubby” and “overweight,” but a month ago, it reached a new peak, right in time for the summer.

As I visited Portugal for two weeks — a trip that presented a golden opportunity for some beach and sun – my family saw how much weight I had gained and the comments began. They meant no harm and were simply concerned. But, it was a great wake-up call that forced me to think long and hard about the following:

1. Don’t listen to what others say, even if they’re your family.

I allowed my family to make me feel badly about myself because I am overweight. Sure, I am now heavier than ever before, but I know this and shouldn’t need to stay behind locked doors to avoid comments. Can only the perfectly built people among us go to the beach and catch some sun?

Enough is enough. If you want to go to the beach, go to the beach. Go ahead and buy yourself a bikini; have a blast. Have a coconut drink or whatever your heart desires.

2. Stop staring at the mirror.

Beyond for checking your hair and mascara, you should stop looking in the mirror and analyzing yourself so critically.

I have inspected myself in the mirror in the morning, countless times, and it only ever leaves me feeling discouraged and sad about the woman staring back at me. The hips are an issue and the six-pack never existed... How will I ever manage to accomplish anything if I feel so helpless in my own skin?

So, I stopped.

Stop staring at the mirror and start looking. Look into people's eyes each day and smile. Breathe in and out and make peace with yourself. Sure, you are not magazine ready, but so what? Even models have bad days — remember that.

3. If you feel badly about yourself, work on what you can control.

Metabolism and genetics are not among the many things in life that we can control.

No matter how much weight I lose, I will always have big hips. I will most definitely never have a six-pack and I will always be on the chubbier side, simply due to my build.

However, there are some things I started doing to improve my health: I started paying attention to what I eat and often cook my meals from scratch. Vegetables are now a constant in my diet and I never touch soda.

I don’t go to the gym, but I walk. I walk slower than most people, but I always walk 30 minutes per day. As days go by, I can breathe better and can also walk faster than before. I plan my meals carefully and drink water like there’s no tomorrow.

I am still overweight, but since making these changes to my routine, I have felt better and healthier.

4. Find someone who supports and understands you — steer away from everyone else.

It can be your friend, a coworker or even your significant other.

If you surround yourself with people who love and support you just the way you are, you will feel empowered to do whatever you want with your body. You’ll also understand how idiotic any other idea is.

Why should you settle for anyone else’s version of perfect and feel miserable all of the time?

So, go buy that bikini you had your eye on, get out your favorite book and head to the beach. I’ll meet you there.

Photo Courtesy: Instagram