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.
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.
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?
Simply because I say so.