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B is for Bikini Body

by Katie Hodgkins

Recently I posted this photo on my Instagram with the caption:

Spa day today. Longest I’ve been apart from Alice. Was nervous about wearing a bikini, but then I thought, this body made and has sustained Alice for 8 months, that’s pretty incredible!

Looking at the picture, you’d be forgiven for thinking that I am body confident. After all, if you aren’t confident about your bikini body, why post a photo to all your friends and family, of your flabby belly that’s covered in stretch marks. Well, let me tell you a couple of things that led up to this picture.

The spa day snuck up on me. Since having Alice I’ve struggled to forward plan. Maybe it’s lack of time, but more likely lack of energy, but everything seems to be a last minute job. On the morning of our spa trip I realised I needed swimwear. Now, I have a box of about 20 bikinis, tankinis and one pieces. A lot of choice. But I dislike them all. So of course, I spent ages trying them on, hating what they looked like, and settling on the least awful, reminding myself that they’ll give me a robe, and packing a beach cover up just in case. I’ve never looked good in a bikini. I’ve never had a flat stomach. On holiday I’ll wear a bikini, but if I’m not lying down on a sun lounger, I’ll have a cover up on too.

In my head I thought, “You can’t wear a bikini. How many women do you see in bikinis, with flabby tummies and stretch marks? None. Bikini time has gone Nerys, just accept it and move on.” But my one pieces showed my stomach too. And the thing is, by not wearing a bikini, I’m adding to this idea that these things are ugly and should be hidden. If more people do it, more people feel free to right?

Ask Lewis and he will tell you, if I’ve shared a photo of me publicly, it certainly isn’t the only photo that was taken. I’ll take a few, hate them all, take a few more, still not be happy, take some more, pick the one I deem to be least dreadful. Every time. I think everyone is super critical of themselves, and when I look at a picture of myself, I am instantly drawn to my unruly hair, or uneven eyes or awkward smile. Probably things that other people don’t notice. So choosing a picture is always difficult.

Imagine my problem then when I ask my spa buddy Sam to take a picture of me. I can’t check then ask her to retake (several times over) especially when at this point we hadn’t even enjoyed the spa facilities! So she took one!

When I later wanted to post the picture I looked at it and was horrified. My belly was saggy and covered in stretch marks. My hair didn’t achieve that just-thrown-up look. My boobs were lopsided. And to my horror I now had bingo wings.

Nope, that picture didn’t make the cut. Maybe I could ask her to take another one. And then I almost kicked myself. For goodness sake, this is what I actually look like (minus the cheeky Instagram filter). If I want others to feel free to wear a bikini I need to show a picture that is an accurate representation of me. Not me in a flattering angle sucking my stomach in so I look thinner. That helps no one. That’s not to say I’m super happy with what I look like.

What it boils down to is this.

I’d like to be skinny. But I like eating chocolate and cake more.

It really is that simple.

Put another way, I don’t think my body is attractive, but it doesn’t bother me enough to do anything about it. Perhaps it’s pure laziness, or maybe having different priorities, but I will never be a gym bunny.

I will complain when I look frumpy when trying on clothes, but I will also eat cheesecake for breakfast.

Hopefully seeing my coffee shop ready body will give someone else the confidence to just simply care less!

Also, side note, made a snickers and salted caramel cheesecake tonight. You see my problem?

Written by Nerys Hillier for her blog, followingourfootsteps.


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