Bikinis are a season?

What do you mean it’s bikini season? Bikinis are a season?

The commercials say it’s bikini season, and so do the clothing racks at Walmart.

You know how the gyms get packed with fresh guilt and resolve at the New Year and by Valentine’s Day it’s back to not fighting for a parking space before Zumba? I’m starting to wonder if therapists gleefully rub their hands together in anticipation of the throngs of broken confidence vying for a spot on their client lists.

Join NOW! Don’t eat that. Sign up here! Be Happier Than You Are RIGHT NOW…after you pay the membership fee, of course.That’s what the commercials tell us.

And don’t forget to read the fine print telling you that you are not legally allowed to feel anything that even resembles happiness until you’ve successfully managed to wrestle yourself into that pair of skinny jeans without bothering to work out how the hell you were going to get them off.

Because until you zip up the jeans that magically give every woman on the fucking planet a muffin top and a complex, you just don’t get it. You haven’t earned your stripes. Those skinny jeans (and the bikini you have hanging on your bathroom mirror — placed just so as to allow for an unobstructed view as you wait for the scale to tell you what kind of day you’re going to have — those are our reminders that we will never be good enough because the standards keep changing.

Ever try reasoning with a crabby toddler in the middle of the grocery store? Because in this scenario, we are the parent and Other People’s Perceptions are bringing it home in the role of the kid throwing the tantrum in the deli section. We all know who wins in this scenario.

Bikini season is what we live for. It’s what we train for all winter so that when the snow melts and the sun makes us all sunshiny happy, the world knows who talked the talk and who actually walked the walk (or skated on by with a nip and a tuck, ‘cuz that works, too). In a bikini? You are granted this moment of self-validation. Not in a bikini? Don’t bother trying to come up with excuses. You have failed at life. And now everybody else knows. Maybe next year, you’ll actually take this shit seriously. For now, here’s your pool cover-up. I’m not bothering to explain to you why it’s scarlet.

It’s bikini season! This is serious, you guys. It’s time to count every fucking calorie in that celery and carrot sticks lunch and perform death-defying feats of mathematical gymnastics in your head while standing in line for the the elliptical trying to figure out exactly how long you have to torture yourself to make up for the two brownies you ate on the way to the gym because HUNGER IS A THING! You may as well stop trying to feed the rest of us that line about hating yourself skinny if you hate yourself now because everybody knows skinny people are always happy, Goddammit.  Let us know when you’ve decided to let go of that one about your fat ass not defining you as a person (because it totally does and you know it).

Oh sure, there are a few Devil’s Advocates out there spreading happiness and cheer wrapped up nicely in a confident little package for all. They call bikini season things like “Beach Body Bullshit” and try to tell you that it’s only this difficult because we’ve let it become so. They pass out smiles and pats on the head and tell us to find out own version of healthy and to get regular activity and eat a healthy and balanced diet because it makes us feel good. They make a bit of headway before all progress is reversed the minute another Hollywood mom gives birth and six week’s later is on the cover of People in a sexy suit. The picture alone is a head game, but I’m pretty sure the kicker is the carefully worded headline implying that we could have that body, too, if we really wanted it badly enough. I’d ask Gwyneth Paltrow for her opinion, but I’m pretty sure she’d tell me I just need to consciously uncouple myself from the Ben & Jerry’s.

My daughter, who is six, recently heard a friend of mine say something about bikini season and being on a diet because she’d gained five pounds this winter. Basically, my friend said she couldn’t wear a bikini, let alone a bathing suit, until she got rid of the pudge. I’m not going to lie to you. My friend is not a magazine model and was graced with Regular People DNA and a normal, average, let’s go shopping with Marylin Monroe sized 14 body. She’s pretty. She’s active. And she eats all the fruits and veggies.

Outside of “bikini” season, my friend is confident and sassy and has more good days than bad. The minute Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers start the mind-games with sexy-two-piece-wearing success stories, though, all that shit’s out the proverbial window.

Eliana asked me what my friend meant by not being able to wear a bikini when we were on our way home. Did she really mean she can’t physically put on on, she wanted to know. Or did her own mama think they weren’t appropriate? If that was the case, she wanted to know if I get to make the final call on her wardrobe even after she has her own kids.

You bet your sweet ass I said yes.

Then I told her that there are still four seasons, that people think too much sometimes, and that as long as we are healthy and do what we can to stay active and eat what we believe is right for our bodies, that we are all doing just fine. I told her that healthy and happy doesn’t come with size options in the stores, no matter how many times society tries to tell us otherwise. And I told her that she’s just fine and I’m just fine and let’s go home and have some homemade coconut milk ice-cream because life’s successes are not defined at the end by how many bikini selfies we took in our younger days.

But how come she can’t put a bikini on, Mama?, my girl asked me again. I’ll tell you what I told her first, which is that sometimes people say they can’t when they start to believe what others say about happiness and it being a privilege to be earned instead of just being happy because we want to be. That seemed to suffice. The questions stopped. And we went home for ice-cream.

When it was time for a bath, Eliana asked to wear her one-piece in the tub. I’m not an idiot. I said yes.

For the rest of you? Let’s review the steps involved in “getting ready” for bikini season. It’s a simple two-step process that has been needlessly complicated, so I’ll go slow here for you to keep up. Ready? Good.

Step 1: Choose a suit you like in colors you like and show as much or as little skin as you damn well please (providing, of course, you are of age and not my daughter).

Step 2 - Put the fucking thing on.

See how easy that was? As for the snow, I think Mother Nature knocked the coffee over on her memo. Or maybe she just hasn’t felt like shaving her legs yet. Either way, my work is done here.

You’re welcome.

 

I’m combing through my archives in an effort to maintain just a little bit of sanity while trying to do a massive revision of my manuscript, maintain the blogging schedule because I’m OCD like that, and do that motherhood thing. Santa may be receiving a letter from yours truly in the near future asking for a maid, a cloning device, or a one way ticket to Fiji (his choice), but until I actually have time to write it, it’s all about the archived blog posts and a liberally poured glass of wine.

Or five.

And because I am now officially dairy-free, may I suggest coconut milk ice cream as a nice alternative for The Reverse Sundae?

 

sundae

Sometimes, you just gotta live it up. No matter what diet or eating plan you are following, carrots sticks and chicken breasts are going to get boring if you don’t treat yourself every now and then.
So what’s a mama to do?

Live it up, of course! But play it smart.

That’s how I came up with what I like to call the Reverse Sundae. I was up late one night working on my book and decided I wanted to have some ice-cream. Six months ago, that would have meant a huge bowl, ignored serving sizes, and enough sugar to put an elephant into a coma. But things have changed. I’m working with a nutritionist now, eating as clean as possible and learning more everyday, and best of all, I no longer suffer from the All or Nothing mindset that used to doom me and my good efforts the moment I let a pinkie toe off the proverbial wagon.

So I went down to the freezer and pulled out my Haggen Daaz Five Vanilla ice-cream pint and prepped the counter to slice up some fresh berries and a banana. I also made sure to get my dessert bowl out of the cupboard…the huge bowls I used to use are no longer the first thing I reach for.

Once the berries were slices and nearing the top of my dessert bowl (about a cup of fruit, I think), I placed two smallish scoops of Haagen Daaz on top of my fruit. If I had to do this again, I’d probably say I used less than a serving size and may use even less when I make my next Reverse Sundae.

And that’s it! I grabbed a spoon and headed back up to my computer, enjoying every single bite of cooled and creamy fruit as I wrote. I got my fix, a nice serving of fruit to go with it, and felt great about my decision, my new creation, and myself when the last bite was done.

Give it a try and see what you think!

This post originally appeared at Bookieboo.com!

 

What do you ask for when The Husband offers a gift to celebrate losing the baby weight and winning yourself back in the process? It didn’t take long to figure that out.

I already own this…

…so it didn’t take long to flutter my eyelashes and click submit on the order for these…


And when that little blue box arrived in the mail, I could only smile.

I have more to lose to make my goals for a healthier me, but dammit, people? I made it this far. And that’s worth celebrating.

 

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“Mama! Where’s my kettlebell?”

She’s standing between me and the TV, arms folded and hip jutted out to the side. Buttercup has been wanting in lately on the Pauline’s Search for a Smaller Ass Healty Kick and that means less solitary Ohms and more creative inclusion. I grab the remote and hit pause on the Gaiam kettlebell workout I just bought, set down my own four-pound bell of wonder, and start scanning the room.

“Let’ see what we can find for you to use.”

Buttercup smiles. She’s in!

“What about this?” I hand her the pink Disney princess squishy softball that was wedged under the couch. I’m figuring it’s small enough to handle and light enough for her to mimic the movements without hurting herself.

“No. It doesn’t look like yours.”

Okayyyyy….

I sigh and walk into her playroom, Buttercup hot on my trail. She isn’t going to settle for a cheap substitute. She wants Mama’s kettlebell. And Mama isn’t gonna get her workout in until Buttercup is happy.

I’m not going to argue. I’m thrilled my little girl gets to see me setting a good example. And I am doubly happy that she associates exercise with being healthy and strong instead of the words that plagued my formative years.

Fat. Big. Calories.

I was bulimic by the time I was 15. I was eating disordered long before then, hiding in the food pantry to binge as a small child.

Buttercup wants a kettlebell to be healthy and strong. I want to encourage the positive.

“Baby, I can’t find anything for you to use. Will you let Mama finish my 20-minute workout and then you can sit down with me on the computer to order you a kettlebell for kids? One that is safe for you to use?”

She considers while I hope like hell that such a thing exists. If not, it’s back to working out after she is asleep, knowing full well I will have lost all motivation by then and go back to making excuses.

“Okay, mama.”

So I work out. She plays. And when we are both done, we sit down on the couch with my laptop. Thanks to a twitter recommendation, I find a sweet stuffed kettlebell toy named Buffy on etsy. I buy it. And Buttercup is beaming.

When it shows up in the mail, Buttercup declares it her new best friend and wants to sleep with it. I, however, did not just pay $28 for a new addition to the Ignored Stuffed Animal Collection.

“Does Mama sleep with my workout equipment?” I point to my yoga mat, kettlebell, and hand weights sitting in the corner of the living room. “Or do I only use them for being healthy and strong?”

Buttercup chews on her lip, torn between the desire to play with her toy and the one to be like me. She breaks into a huge grin.

“No,” she says, laughing. “That would be silly.”

“Yeah,” I say, “it would.

“Being healthy and strong isn’t silly, right?”

“Of course not.”

She nods her head at my response and sits down on the floor to velcro on her her sparkly gym shoes. She stands up, Buffy at the ready and her own little face the very picture of determination.

“Then let’s do this.”

Yes, ma’m.

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This post originally appeared on Bookieboo

 

@Raisingboychick

Everyone is allowed to think/talk about themselves as they wish, but seriously, could we stop with the “I’m fat THEREFORE I’m not sexy!” BS? Because I’m fat, and damn fucking skippy I’m sexy. They are not incompatible states of being, thanks very much.

I haven’t been on twitter as often as I used to be, so I consider myself lucky to have seen this sassy bit of  ‘tude come through my stream. It’s the perfect reminder for me, anyway, that even though I might be working for a healthier body tomorrow, there is no fucking reason to not embrace what I have today.

Which? Sounds great and would probably look fantastical on a bill board. Or a Zazzle T-shirt. But it’s not always a theory I am interested in subscribing to. I was a big tall kid in a family of Mexican midgets short people and confused “big” for “fat” without anyone realizing that I was heading straight for an eating disorder. Now I’m a mom with a daughter who is doing her damnedest to make sure I skip the word “fat” in the children’s books I read to her (seriously, Dr. Suess?) and tell strangers she’s tall for her age when they comment on how “big” she is.

I also think I deserve to be canonized for not commenting on the size of  a single one of these dimwits or the asses attached to them to see how they like it, but that’s besides the point.

Forget the number on the scale. For me, it’s about the mental outlook. That’s what defines me and my perception of my body.

When I am depressed and feeling sorry for myself because it’s so hard to lose weight with PCOS and blah blah blah and just give up? No. I don’t feel sexy. Instead, I feel like the 33-year-old version of the 15-year old with her head in the toilet.

But when I am eating right for my body and making the time required for me to exercise? So I can feel good about me no matter how little the scale might move? So I can show my daughter that curvy is pretty and activity is healthy and fun? Yes, even at 200 pounds, you can bet your ass I feel sexy.

Fat, curvy, thick, full-figured or whatever you call it…you can be sexy, too. All it takes is you looking in a mirror and believing it.

Thank you, Arwyn, for the reminder.

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