Ahhh, Memorial Day Weekend. With it, comes an unabashed nod to wear white shoes (admit it, fashionistas, even the edgiest among you still debate), unofficial start of summer, and, for many, official start of bikini panic.
I hate to add fuel to this fire because I think it’s a shame to waste precious, fleeting, summer moments (any moments, really) fretting and freaking out about how we look. Period. It should be a season of sun and sea, swimming and surfing, sand in our toes and salt in our hair. However, it’s often a season that begins standing in a dressing room under the cruel ambiance of fluorescent lights, wondering how our flesh-toned insecurities will cope: Jerseylicious spray tan? Wetsuit? Dying our hair pink as a decoy?
No bikini panic here. Me circa 1983.
The other option is to be sensible about weight loss goals and sensitive to the fact that appearances alone never make anyone happy. If they did, the entire tabloid industry, which makes its fortune on the exploits, demises, and personal derailings of beautiful and svelte celebrities would cease to exist. Think about it…
Or, think about these tips and tricks for looking and feeling like a bathing beauty all summer long:
- Redefine what your body is. Yoga tradition tells us that the body is comprised of five koshas or layers: physical, energetic, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Intuitively, we know this, but we forget because no one in the history of time has ever been approached by a handsome man or beautiful woman on a gorgeous beach who said: “Damn, baby, you have a bangin’ intellect…” Yet, our happiness depends on how we treat ourselves and how others treat us, on each layer. Neglect all but the physical, in a bikini or ever, and it’s no wonder we don’t feel so hot.
- Stop advertising that you’re on a juice cleanse. Fresh juice is the bomb. Drink it as often as you want for any reason you like. I love it and drink it almost every day, especially with greens like kale and spinach, which seem to improve my skin and energy levels. I also eat food everyday and generally recommend that you do, too. However, if you determine you’d like to use a juice cleanse to kickoff summer, please keep it to yourself. The hunger, headaches, and moodiness broadcast to anyone who will listen come across as little more than a crash diet play-by-play. They do not make anyone feel beautiful, most of all you.
- Listen to your body. Excessive weight gain or loss, poor athletic performance, and countless ailments and illnesses all boil down to one thing: not listening to our bodies. Tune in. Treat it kindly. And, please pardon the obvious: remember, you only get one.
- Eat well. Eat real food that’s healthy and as close to its original source as possible. Enjoy it. I could elaborate, but there’s no need. If you pay attention to your body and what you eat, you won’t need to diet.
- Drink sparingly. Drink as much water as you like. Enjoy fresh juice as stated above. Sip your tea or coffee sans sweeteners and additives, but nip everything else, especially too much booze. The calories are useless nutritionally and require just as much work to burn. Alcohol also saps your skin, quality of sleep, and energy the next day, all key to looking and feeling your best.
- Accessorize liberally. We all have flaws, and strategic accessorizing goes a long way to camouflage them on the beach. Consider: beads, bangles, tunics, caftans, water wings, Om Gal sarongs, and inflatable alligators. See below for the last two.
- Do yoga. Start with Sun Salutations for your whole body, Half Moon for your booty, and my not-so-secret weapon Eagle Abs for your core….But, that’s not where you end. Greater awareness of how you treat yourself and gratitude for your whole being are the most beautiful benefits over time, any season, any day, wearing a lot or a little.
- Run. If you have serious fitness goals, you need to seriously sweat. Running is tops for me, but you might prefer to take exercise or dance classes, swim, cycle, Crossfit, or something else. Find something that revs your heart and stick with it.
- Wear sneakers. In addition to regular bouts of exercise (and, especially, if you don’t get enough of it), it’s important to be active throughout the day. Wear sneakers so that you’re comfortable walking more–or take the stairs, stand rather than sit, commute via bike–whatever tiny tricks influence you to be most active each day will help you feel most fit on beach day.
- Rock a killer swimsuit. It can be skimpy, but don’t scrimp on how it fits or makes you feel. Do a little research on what will work best for your body type. Then, flaunt what your mama gave you. (The suit below was designed by my friend, Haverhill. Its ruffles conceal my voluptuous chest. Obviously).
- Surround yourself with beauty. Beauty is as beauty does. Surround yourself with people, sights, and mementos that capture this for you, in all their quirkily imperfect perfectness. Do beautiful deeds. Remark at beauty when you see it, in nature and character. The irony is that when you’re unconcerned with turning heads, when you let yourself be whirled around by beauty in the world, you become that.
- Laugh your ass off. If you’re laughing, no one cares about your cellulite, most of all you.