How do I show up to the beach in my fat beach body, you might ask? One answer to that question would be to simply show up and enjoy your day at the shore! Unfortunately, we all know that’s easier said than done. Though as a society, we’ve placed significant pressure on brands that use fat-shaming as a means to promote seasonal weight loss (Get your beach body ready! Ugh!), it’s still difficult for plus-size people, and society in general, to embrace plus-size bodies in a group setting — especially at the beach. (We can thank decades of damaging fatphobic messaging for that.) As a solution to this problem, we’ve compiled some tips that will help boost your beach body confidence prior to, during and after your excursion to the shore. Follow these suggestions and start loving the skin you’re in, no matter your size or the situation.
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1. Take control of your social media feeds
We cannot stress enough how important it is for you to curate your social media feeds. It will change how you view yourself. Seeing other women at the beach who look like you, on your Instagram or Facebook feeds, does wonders for your self-esteem and it improves your perception by changing how you feel about bodies of all sizes. Our personal experiences can attest to the fact that seeing fat bodies makes us respect fat bodies — including our own.
2. How much skin you show is your decision
Sometimes confidence comes in baby steps. In the days leading up to your trip to the beach, try wearing a skirt that shows a little bit more leg than you’re used to on a hot day, or maybe leave your shrug off and just rock a sleeveless dress all on its own. Make mental notes of when you feel comfortable and when you feel vulnerable. Understand that there is no prize for the amount of skin you show; you get to decide what’s best for you. Most importantly, know these hang-ups are incredibly common and you have kindred spirits all around you.
3. Choose a swimsuit you’re comfortable in
The good news is that brands are getting on board with swimsuits that are more on trend and comfortable for larger bodies. The not-so-good news is that most of these are only available online, so planning ahead is most likely necessary. Take the time to find a swimsuit that you actually love because YOU DESERVE IT.
4. Invite friends who look like YOU to the beach
A bevy of plus-size babes always turns heads, and on the beach, is no exception. Find support in others and make a friggin political statement while doing it! #AllBodiesAreGoodBodies
5. Watch body positive documentaries
There are some great documentaries out there like Embrace, Straight/Curve and Fattitude that talk about our body bias in all parts of society and what positive changes are being made to help battle it. Think of them as BoPo Warrior Training.
6. Quiet thoughts that are comparing and despairing
When you observe that your thoughts are in the downward spiral of comparing and despairing, stop yourself and change your thinking. Find something about yourself that you love and hold on to that thought. Likewise, find something kind to think about the person you’re comparing yourself to and acknowledge that your body is a good body, just like their body is.
7. Stay in the moment and remind yourself why the beach is so awesome
The best part of being at the beach is connecting with the environment. Keep your focus there and allow the following thoughts to sink in: the magnitude of the ocean, lake or sea that you’re viewing, the feel of the hot sand underneath your toes, the sound of the waves crashing against the shore, the fascinating forms of busy marine life. Look beyond the people that are in front of your face and appreciate the beauty of the natural world that surrounds you.
8. Bring some fat-positive reading materials with you
One of our most favorite things to do is to lounge on our beach towels with a good book. We suggest a beach read that will empower you while feeling exposed. Let your eyes feast on the delicious words of authors such as Jes Baker, Lindy West, Sarai Walker, and many more. Flood your brain with these new thoughts on how to view yourself and your body while relaxing on the sand.
9. Respond with love to haters
The fear of strangers verbally hating on us is real. When someone goes out of their way to make a comment about your body while you’re just enjoying your day, speaks volumes about them and their attitude. Get yourself armed with some love bombs to hurl their way. Our first instinct would be to laugh, and say “Thanks for noticing us babe!” Maybe mention how you admire their sunglasses or, if you’re feeling extra cheeky, ask them if they need a hug; we find this disarms even the nastiest of haters.
10. Take pictures and share on your social media feed/story
We’re not kidding! As you’re getting used to seeing others in their fat bodies, consider sharing an image of yourself at the beach online. Snap a pic or two or seventy until you find the one you’re comfortable with sharing. Post it online — you might be surprised at the positive feedback you get from your family, friends, and followers, and you never know — you might inspire someone who wouldn’t have otherwise taken a take a trip to the beach.
We hope these tips help you rock your beach bod, no matter the size! Tag us in your fierce Instagram photos with #PlusThisShow and #BBLPlusThisShowTips when you snag that selfie!
Actor/influencers Kathy Deitch and Eva Tingley spearheaded PlusThis!, the multimedia brand which features pop-culture, fashion, debates regarding food and health and the societal negativity and stereotypes that surround women who dare to take up a little bit of space. The duo broadcasts live every Thursday at 6 pm PT from Universal Broadcasting Network and simultaneously across several platforms including Facebook Live and YouTube Live.
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