The Daily Beet

21 Jun Swimsuit Ready.

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*An old advertisement to put ON pounds for swimsuit season.

I’ve had this love hate relationship with swimming and bathing suits in the past. Mostly, I hate it. There has not been much love. This started in the 4th grade. I was chubby. Super chubby. And I had this blue glittery bathing suit. When you are 10 and chubby, it’s hard to find a good bathing suit that fits you well. The options were generally old lady bathing suits, or the largest “kid” sizes, which really just kind of barely fit me.

This relationship with bathing suits just kind of kept getting worse. If you were a heavy-set teen, I’m sure you can relate. I kind of settled on bathing suits with long t-shirts. This was not attractive. And this did not make it possible to really learn how to swim the right way. T-shirts weigh you down, and guess what? It kind of looks like you are in a wet t-shirt contest when you wear one while swimming.

At my heaviest weight I settled on the bathing suits with the skirts. This seemed to mostly work, but I still was covering up with the moo-moo looking um, dresses? I don’t know what to call it, a sheet with a hole at the top for your head. Again, not talking about my most highest point of fashion.

During the worst of my T2 diabetes I had really bad issues with my legs, including neuropathy and a lot of open skin infections. This caused a lot of scarring that I still have today. I had been really self conscious about it all.

And then I realized that those scars are like badges of honor.These are scars that I have because my health was THAT bad, and I turned that all around, so there is that. And I’m proud of that.

So this all brings me to this summer. I’m still obese. I’m just not AS obese as I used to be. And do you know what I feel about bathing suit season this year? BRING IT. That’s right, bring it on.

You know what I realized about wearing a bathing suit? No one cares about my bathing suit. Years and years of worrying and stressing about bathing suit season, all to come to this realization. I’m not sitting out at the pool eyeing everyone, and I don’t expect everyone else is doing the same. And if they are? Who cares? Seriously.

I’m still obese, and right now there is absolutely nothing I can do about that. I mean, I’m getting healthier, working towards my goals, but you know what I’ve learned in the past few years of doing this? It doesn’t happen over night. And do you know what that means? You just can’t stop living your life till your some magic number. Life is here and ready and there are all sorts of great things about it, including putting on a bathing suit and going for a swim or going to the ocean.

So today I joined a gym with an outdoor pool. Do you know why? Because I wanted to. That’s the only reason I needed, and that is the only reason you need. If you are overweight, obese, if you are at your ideal size, skinny, thin, fit, go get a bathing suit. If you want to swim, SWIM. If you want to go to the beach, GO TO THE BEACH, do it. It’s time to put an end to waiting for our lives to begin when we reach this ideal picture of what we think swimsuit ready is, or what an ideal body looks like. As someone who has been overweight/obese most of my life, I can tell you that I’ve wasted so much time in waiting to be thin, and I for one am tired of it, there is too much life to live, and too many things that I’m perfectly capable of doing at any size.

And this is what I want you to know: You are worth more than waiting to be an ideal size or body image to live your life. I have friends who are perfectly fit model types who stress over what they look like, and I have friends who are morbidly obese who stress over what they look like. I believe that no matter who you are, or what size you are that issue of how you feel about yourself will be there, so my advice? Live life. Do the things you want to do, I don’t care if you are size 22 or a size 2, you deserve to enjoy the time you have on this earth, and you deserve to not live with regret. I for one have way too much regret over the things that I did not do because of fear or embarrassment. Not anymore.

So the bottom line, how to get swimsuit ready? 

Get a swimsuit.

Wear it.

You are ready.

 

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Natala Constantine
  • Rachel

    You are such a breath of fresh air in this movement. It is nice to see someone who is making progress, but who is confident and strong. It’s a far cry from so many posts that I see on other blogs complaining or talking about how much weight they want to lose. You inspire me.

  • ME

    I love your posts!

  • Dawn Martin

    I used to weigh 300lbs so a swimsuit was pretty much a torture chamber of “fashion”. I avoided it at all cost. I have lost 150lbs and last summer I finally got to enjoy a 2 piece bikini for the first time in my adult life… i had had all my excess skin removed the summer before and I was super stoked to get into that 2 piece… but you know what? I was STILL self-conscious!! I guess that “fat girl” mentality never really goes away. I’m pregnant this summer but I wore me a tankini on the beach in Cali for our vacation.. why? CUZ I WANTED TO DAMMIT!! Confidence is key….. but if you ARE 300lbs.. please don’t wear a string bikini…. Just saying! ROFL ;)

  • Charlotte Gould

    Tears are pouring down my face. Thanks Natala…I really relate and I really needed to hear this. I am going to the YMCA and take the plunge when I get home next week.

  • Susan

    ha :) people are on facebook are not actually reading your post (big shock there!) this is absolutely perfect and just what I needed to hear today! thank you once again for keeping it real.

  • jeanneinks

    Our past is a guide post – not a hitching post. Nice article Natala and a wonderful reminder to live now. Thanks.

    • Yvonne

      That’s great.. our past is a guide post, not a hitching post. Thank you for sharing that…so true.

  • Kim

    It is such a shame how women beat themselves up over their physical appearance. Why is it that that is always what it boils down to? Is it in our upbringing? Do men feel the same? I’d love to get to the bottom of it! This is a great topic, and especially important every time summer rolls around.

    • Josh

      To answer your question, men are generally just as self conscious as women and often feel the same way.

  • julie

    thank you, this article was a great way to start my day and a great reminder to just live life and enjoy. thank you.

  • Teresa Pitman

    YES!

  • KaleQueen

    I’m really mad that you were not speaking in Chicago. Someone said that it is because you are not at your “goal weight” I hope that is not true, but can you comment on that, I’d hate to think that E2 plays the same games with size as our society does.

  • Amber Keumurian

    Well done, Natala!

  • Kelli

    yes!!!!!!! you r my hero

  • Karen P

    It was with trepidation I read this post. Although I feared just another summer swimsuit post filled with self loathing, something told me this might be different – and it was. Thank you so much for putting words/a voice to my thoughts and feelings. It is great to know life is today, our body is now and not some future vision. Happily tear
    fuL and thankfuL! Enjoy the pooL :)

  • mauranj

    “You just can’t stop living your life till your some magic number.” YES!

  • Shelly

    BRAVO. Once again! I love when you write!

  • LoriG

    Natala, your articles are always interesting and insightful but this one has to be your best. It applies to swimsuits and so many other things that we put on hold until the time when we feel we will deserve to be seen. Thanks for a inspiring kickoff for summer. Hope you great one. Lg

  • Jennie

    I love your articles Natala. Thank you for brightening my day.

  • Yvonne

    I really resonate with what you are saying Natala… I went to the beach last July 4th and had lost 50 lbs but still had 130 to go and figured… I don’t know those people on the beach… i will probably never see those people again. It is a scorching hot Florida day.. I am walking around in my batching suit and let them think what they want to think. I felt great, enjoyed the day with my nephew and sister in law and given the heat appreciated the fact that I was not “covered up”. Life is meant to be lived.. like you said – enjoy your time on this earth. I am looking into swim lessons as well (I can swim but want to learn the different strokes) – I am finally small enough for a Speedo and yes, I still have thighs and I really don’t care. I am too busy enjoying my life to care. Maybe dance lessons too. Thanks for all you do!

    • Granny

      I don’t know you, but loved your post! Please take the dance lessons. You will have so much fun. Especially with your fantastic attitude!!!:-)

      • Yvonne

        Thank you… I’ve actually started looking into it but might do the swimming first since it’s summer. Just glad I have all of this energy now!

  • Sherisse Hartley

    Wonderful post Natala!

    “You just can’t stop living your life till your some magic number” This really spoke to me. I am currently reading Feel the Fear…and Do It Anyway! By Susan Jeffers. In the beginning of her book she summarizes that one cannot wait till the fear goes away to do something, if we wait for that day, guess what?! We will never do it! The only way to break through the fear is to do it.

    I will take your advice on how to get swim suit ready this year, thank you! <3

  • JuicingDiva

    I had been following a plant-based women/health expert for a while, but she was so focused on her looks, all the time, she’d post these photos of herself, obviously photo shopped, and always looking perfect. She’s super thin. Then she posted this “photo shoot” she did and I was so shocked and offended, all of the “vegans” they had were super models, thin, it was all about sex. That is not real. You are real! Be proud of who you are!

  • Linda

    Natala, which events are you speaking at? I want to go to to one so I can meet you!

  • Paula in Chicago

    You and Jeff Novick should go on the road together! A lot of what you say reminds me of what he teaches, and I believe he is one person in this movement that does not judge based on size. Maybe you guys should write a book.

  • BigEm

    Wow. A friend of mine sent this, I don’t even know what Engine 2 is, but I just bought both the books because of this post. I am 400 pounds and I just hate myself and I hate how people treat me. I’m tired of living this way, but I’m also tired of hiding. Thank you very much, I look forward to catching up on all of your writing.

  • Marcia

    I lost 100 pounds, and have never felt worse about myself. I thought once I lost weight everything would just get better. Instead, my life is at my lowest point. Just goes to show you that “thin” doesn’t fix anything. You have to be just as good at 250 pounds at 150 pounds. I wish I read this a few years ago.

  • Jen

    Could you write about what it is like working at Engine 2 as someone who is plus-sized? I would think it would be really hard and there would be a lot of judging. The entire company is filled with models and thin people, I don’t know how you do it.

    • TampaHeather

      I’d like to know about this as well. I’m not sure how much she can share, but being that Rip really focuses on body size and losing weight, I’d like to know how this works, as it seems that Natala is more about being less judgmental, I’m not saying that RIp is judgmental but I get a different vibe from him.

      • debs

        Hi Heather. I can speak from long time personal experience. I have known Rip very well for almost 25 years…loooong before E2 was ever thought of. He is very compassionate about health and fitness and absolutely cares about people, no matter if they are small/large or anywhere in between. He is genuine and nonjudgemental….he’s the real deal.

  • Kim

    Excellent article Natala!

  • Patti

    That deserves a big Amen! Thank you! I’ve weighed more than I do now and I’ve weighed less. I still struggled to find the right bathing suit even at an average-sized weight. I’m starting to do the things I want to do and in the meantime, I’m keeping my eye on the goal. To be the best version of myself I can be, in all areas of my life including health. I’m loving my plant strong food plan so far! Thanks for the article Natala.

  • Kirsten

    Absolutely love this…thank you Natala!

  • ricewoman

    I agree with everyone Natala–such a great and positive way to live and to think about life.
    I have always been super thin–until I hit 37, and it was all weight gain from there. I am not obese–nowhere near it actually–but because i am in the dance and fitness business, my body image is “off”. Very hard to veer off the “judgy path” in terms of my own inner voice in terms of my weight, but on a plant strong diet I just feel SO good all the time it has really turned me into someone who was always thinking “diet” but spinning my wheels. Now I am thinking “health” and it has released a lot of negative thinking. So much less of a daily burent to carry around. I feel lighter already!!

  • ddpdx

    That is great advice! I am specializing in eating disorder therapy and this is exactly the attitude we strive for clients to have and everyone else for that matter! It isn’t easy, but you’re there!

  • Tara :)

    Yes. Preach, Natala :)