Here’s a picture that I send people a lot of times when they ask for a “before” picture for something they are writing.
You notice that the picture is taken on the beach. You will also notice that I am not wearing a bathing suit. Instead I am wearing homemade capri pants and a size 2X t-shirt. I did take off my little white tennis shoes, but that’s as far as it went. No bathing suit for me. It was extremely uncomfortable to be getting my capri pants soaking wet, but I didn’t want our little daughter to miss out on the fun.
I never loved parading around in a bathing suit. I’ve always been on the modest side so whenever I needed to wear a bathing suit I felt uncomfortable, even when I was an average size. But that feeling of basic uncomfortableness progressed to absolute horror once my size could be compared to that of a football player. And so I didn’t ever wear one again.
It wasn’t easy to live in Florida and not own a bathing suit – especially when so many people I knew had pools and beach/lake houses. The girls were frequently invited to pool parties when their little friends celebrated a birthday. And the invitation usually read, “Moms are welcome and encouraged to swim!” Yeah, right, I’d think.
But I’d lumber off to the party, excited girls in hand. I dreaded every minute of the days leading up to the party, knowing that me and my one other obese friend would be the ones standing at poolside watching our children swim with the other moms who weren’t mortified at the thought of wearing a bathing suit. I was always relieved when the party was over and I could escape.
I tried to convince myself that it was okay to wear a bathing suit but I just couldn’t do it. I even tried a few on in the “Women’s Department” at Sears but cried in the dressing room because it just looked so horrible. So I put the suits back on the rack and didn’t try one on again for about six years.
After I lost my 158 pounds I bought a bathing suit. Going swimming with my kids was pure joy. I didn’t love the way I looked in a bathing suit, but I just got into the water quickly and didn’t get out again until we were leaving. I knew that my arms and shoulders looked fine so whatever else I didn’t like couldn’t really be seen and I was okay with that.
To this day I still don’t parade around the pool deck in just my swimsuit, but I don’t completely avoid the pool and beach either. Just knowing that I can wear a bathing suit and not feel as though everyone is whispering about me is a victory. I wish I had possessed the self-confidence to just be comfortable in a suit while I was morbidly obese, but I didn’t.
How do you feel about bathing suits and swimming these days? Diane