If I had a penny for the number of times men tell me ”I am going to get shredded for Europe”, I would be rich! If I am hearing that from relatively fit men, I can only imagine the insecure voices raging through the minds of millions of women all around the world feeling self-conscious about showing skin at various destinations. Today I would like to write about body image issues and travel.
To say that social media and magazines fuel our insecurities is one thing, but then to arrive at the beach of your dreams to behold illuminated bronzed gods and goddesses can be traumatizing. It would send anyone’s insecurities into overdrive resulting in tan lines resembling a T-shirt and shorts.
Growing up as a chubby kid with body image issues, I always felt the need to be a certain weight so I could look ‘good’ on holiday. I would never have imagined that Kim Kardashian would contribute to my body issues. When in reality, SHE doesn’t even look like how she is portrayed in magazines.
It is incredibly unfair for us to judge our bodies solely on aesthetics. Especially when our bodies come in so many unique shapes and sizes, and with a variety of genetic predispositions. In saying that, it is difficult to undo years of mental conditioning, thanks to the likes of Vogue and Sports Illustrated.
There are a few things that I do a few weeks (or months) prior to my holidays that shift the focus away from my body image issues and increase my confidence in travel.
1. Engage in a sport or anything active that you enjoy.
It is especially important to engage in an activity where you have a target to attain. This could be hiking up a mountain to a certain point, finishing a game of tennis, or attending an hour-long dance class.
We all know that when we are active, our bodies release endorphins that trigger happy feelings. In addition to that, the feelings of achievement you would experience upon reaching your target would be a boost to your confidence because it reminds you that your body is healthier and capable of doing more than you thought is possible. More importantly, it is a reminder that you and your body are great as is.
2. Talking to positive people.
Having a supportive positive circle of friends is one of the most important things you could have in your life. These are people who love you just the way you are and see the beauty in your whole authentic self.
They will always encourage you to be the best version of yourself, both emotionally and physically. That means they will help you see yourself as the whole beautiful human being that you are, not just as a body that you wish to fix.
3. Shop for your body type.
Gone are the days where clothes and bathing suits were made only for one particular body type. There is a variety of online stores out there, selling affordable gorgeous clothes for any occasion which are also flattering for many body types.
It is just a matter of finding the type of attire that would give your body the most flattering silhouette. This might mean that your waist might need to be cinched to the gods or that Brazilian bikini bottoms are the way to go. Either way, there is something for everybody.
4. Eat nutritious food.
Dieting has never been my forte and my relationship with salad is non-existent. However, instead of eating a ton of processed food or even eating out, it is beneficial to consume a lot more protein, vegetables, and other nutrient-dense foods in your daily life even if you don’t want to incorporate portion control.
By eating well, you have more energy in general. You would naturally want to be active which results in happy endorphins and a boost to your confidence. By the time your holidays have arrived, you would have hopefully achieved a reasonably healthy lifestyle that you will maintain even after your holidays.
5. Get out there and flaunt it.
If you’re still feeling insecure while you’re on holiday, I urge you to take a leap of faith. Just flaunt what you’ve got anyway! Go to the beach and settle that sweet bikini body down on the sand. Then just really focus your mind on the soft sand, the sun against your skin, and the beauty of all that is around you.
The more you get used to placing yourself in uncomfortable situations, the more desensitized you become to it. All you need to do is take that one step to liberate yourself from being self-conscious.
As a Conclusion
You will eventually see that the insecurities really don’t matter. Because honestly, the world is too beautiful for you to dedicate any attention to anything that might take away from your enjoyment of it.
May we fully enjoy our precious getaways, instead of being worried about whether we need to suck our tummies in during our short walk from the beach into the ocean!
What are your thoughts about body image issues and travel?