Got any rules you want to deconstruct today?

I went shopping for a bikini yesterday.
Honestly.
I never thought that would happen in this lifetime.

It started with my upper arms.
I had a rule that I couldn’t wear sleeveless tops because my upper arms were fat and soft.
But summer is short here in Toronto, and I always yearned to wear tank tops.
When I turned 40, I decided that my arms were not going to get any better, and it was now or never, and I bared those arms – flab and all.

I loved that I gave myself this gift of accepting my upper arms.

Funny thing happened. My upper arms did get better.
Way better.
I lost a lot of weight and gained a lot of muscle, so my arms are now quite toned
(which never fails to thrill me when I pass a mirror!).

This was my first clue that acceptance is the first step to permanent, joyful weight loss.

This summer, I decided to deconstruct another rule,
which I believed, until now, was a law:
‘Only women with flawless  bodies can wear a bikini.’

It started with three of our amazing Weight Coach students, Anu, Angie and Kathie –
They invited me to question my beliefs about who decides whether I am sexy,
which led me to explore the “body rules” that I had inherited and made up.

I had taken it as a fact that you need a certain body type (perfect) in order to be sexy.

BUT

If sexy is a feeling
and feelings are caused by thoughts
then anyone can choose to feel sexy anytime.

Sexy has nothing to do with what you look like.

I have evidence for this in Miami, where I spend my summer and winter breaks.
The beach is full of South American women, of all body types, wearing skimpy bikinis.
This includes mothers and grandmothers with cellulite, flab, stretch marks and scars.
Gorgeous, seemingly comfortable in their bodies, and their thongs – ubersexy.

I decided to further my field research on the nude beach near our condo.
Here’s what I discovered:
This perfect body image I have – it can be found.
On teenage girls.
Women my age usually have some record of our lives on our bodies –
we’ve had babies, we’ve lost and gained weight, we’ve lived with gravity.

While my stomach is muscly and fairly flat thanks to my love of planks and V-sits,
these muscles are hidden underneath a layer of what my eight year old daughter charmingly calls “doughy”.

It is my choice whether I make this mean that this body of mine,
which I’m so proud of and grateful for,
should be hidden under a full swimsuit or not.

Thanks to my students’ perfectly placed questioning, I realize now that I  get to decide:

Am I sexy?
Am I bikini worthy?

Yes.
And Yes.

Simply because I say so.

(Image courtesy of computerclipart.com)

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About Forever Free with Bev Aron, Certified Weight Loss Coach

I work with emotional eaters who desperately want relief from emotional eating, but can't seem to do it on their own. They know they need to eat less and move more, but can't figure out why they aren't doing it. My specialty is showing them the why and the how. I also work with parents who are worried about their children's weight. I help those parents encourage their children to have a healthy body image and a healthy relationship with food.
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