Friday, September 5, 2014

The evolution of a first-time bikini wearer

As promised, I am dedicating this entire post to the most uncomfortable (but exciting) thing I've done in a very long time... wearing a bikini for the first time in my life.

I've always wanted to wear a bikini, because all my friends did, but even when I was young, I felt ashamed of my body. My weight went up and down several times through the years, but I never felt like I was worthy enough to wear a bikini, for crying out loud.

When I was losing weight, I knew that even after the weight loss, I wouldn't have a "bikini body", because I'm pretty loaded with stretch marks--both from the excess weight and from having two large babies. My surgeon told me that even after my skin removal surgery, my stretch marks would still be visible, because of how high up they went. I was okay with that--I hadn't expected the surgery to give me the perfect body.

Every summer, when we go to the beach or a pool, or even a hotel pool, and I'd see women in bikinis,  I would briefly entertain the idea of possibly wearing one, despite the stretch marks, scar, and loose skin. When I was at my thinnest, just under 130 pounds, I still didn't feel "worthy" enough of wearing a bikini.

Recently, however, I've started to feel more confident in my body--which is very strange, because I've gained quite a bit of weight this year (15 pounds on a good day, 20 pounds on a bad day). But I've been trying to step out of my comfort zone a bit, and when we planned our trip to Punta Cana, I thought it would be the perfect time to wear a bikini in public--because nobody would know me, and I'd never see any of them again.

There were very slim pickings at the store, because I went in late August, but I found a couple of tops and a pair of bottoms that were shorts (bearing my stomach was hard enough, so I wanted to cover what little of my thighs that I could!). I was going to return one of the tops, because I only needed one to wear for a single day before wearing a one-piece bathing suit, but Jeanie, my sister, convinced me that I'd need more than one bathing suit. She said I should bring it, and if I didn't wear it, I could return it when I got home.

We stayed 7 nights in Punta Cana, and before we even got there, I was chickening out about wearing the bikini. I figured I'd put it off, and hopefully feel okay in wearing it for just one day toward the end of our trip. When we got there, Jeanie told me I should wear it the first day, and just get it out of the way--that way, I wouldn't be worrying about it the whole trip. That made a lot of sense.

To spoil the ending, I never even took the tags off of my one-piece suit--I wore a bikini the entire week! It was funny to see just how my attitude changed throughout the week, so I'll share that with you here:

Day One: I was SUPER nervous to put it on. My hands were literally shaking, and I decided to go next door to my sister's room to ask her very honest opinion about whether I should wear it. I felt super self-conscious just standing in front of her, and we weren't even in public yet! She assured me I should wear it, so I put on a cover-up over it, and we went down to the pool. I thought maybe I'd just avoid the pool the whole day, and stay in the cover-up, but it was hot and I wanted to cool off.

Taking off the cover-up for the first time was SO hard. I was sure everyone was looking at me. Finally, I just yanked the cover-up off, and beelined down the steps of the pool before anyone could see me. I was so surprised at how the water felt on my bare belly--it was strange! Once in the water, I felt okay, because the water came up to my chest.



When I got out of the pool, I grabbed a towel and wrapped it around me, and then as soon as I was semi-dry, I pulled on the cover-up again. There was no way that I was going to sit on the lounge chair without covering myself, and that's how it went for day one.

Day Two: When deciding what to wear, I almost put on my one-piece, but then I realized that I actually wanted to wear the bikini again, because it's less fabric to dry off (important when you're in and out of the pool all day). Again, I wore a cover-up over it.

At the pool this time, when I got out, I dried off with the towel, and then laid on the lounge chair just covering my stomach with my hands. I was getting a little braver!



Day Three: Didn't even think of wearing the one-piece. Wore the same suit as the day before, because it was very comfortable. At the pool, I didn't even hesitate when taking off my cover-up, and I took my time walking down the steps into the pool. When I got out, I didn't hurry to cover myself up again.

Eli wanted me to walk with him to get fries on the beach. Instead of drying off and putting on the cover-up, I walked to the beach and back in just the bikini. I was sure everyone was looking, but nobody paid any attention--it was awesome!

Jerry and I spent probably an hour in hysterics, taking pictures of each other under water. It was so fun!


I love this pic, because you can see the kids in the background watching us ;)



Day Four: Wore a bikini again. We were going to go snorkeling, and Jeanie said we would just wear our bathing suits on the boat. I couldn't imagine that--walking to the beach, then to the boat, riding in a boat, getting in and out of the boat... in a bikini?! I was going to bring a towel, but at the last minute, I ditched it. We walked to the beach to sign up (the warning flag was up, however, so we couldn't go snorkeling--but I walked to the beach and stood there at the scuba shop for about 15 minutes in just my bikini.

Day Five: Jeanie went home, but I still wore the bikini. By this point, I had no problem taking off the cover-up, lying on the lounge chair with my belly exposed, etc. I even sat in one of the floats we brought, which isn't a very flattering position, but I did it anyway.



This day, when I walked to the bathroom, I didn't put my cover-up on. That meant walking all the way around the huge pool, to the bathroom, and inside where there were mirrors and women looking into the mirrors. I tried not to look at my belly (at least not judgmentally) in the mirror, but I did see it and notice the stretch marks and imperfections. But, I did not feel bad about myself. There were tons of women at the resort in bikinis, and they were all sorts of different shapes and sizes. Some with stretch marks, scars, loose skin, wrinkles, etc. If they could do it, I could, too... and at least fake being confident!

Day Six: The final day before our travel day home. There was one thing I wanted to do all week, but I was nervous to do it. It seemed so silly! I wanted to get a picture of Jerry and me on the beach, and I wanted to wear just my bikini--no cover-up. It just seemed like the perfect way to finish the week of the bikini.

So we went to the beach, and Noah snapped a few photos of Jerry and me. They aren't fantastic pictures, and I'm not going to photoshop out the stretch marks or anything. I like the photo because it reminds me of how I went from my hands trembling at the thought of wearing a bikini to wearing one all week long, and actually feeling confident in it by the end. When I look at the picture, I don't immediately look for my stretch marks, loose skin, and extra pounds. Looking at the picture makes me feel confident, and happy that I stepped out of my comfort zone. It wasn't nearly as scary as I'd imagined it would be!


If you've always wanted to wear a bikini, but you don't feel "worthy", I highly encourage you to do it--regardless of your size, shape, or imperfections. This was a HUGE confidence booster for me! And I guarantee it won't be the last time that I wear it ;)

59 comments:

  1. You look absolutely stunning!! Congrats on overcoming your fear!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You look great! Kudos to you for ditching the cover up and gaining confidence!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. You do look great! Definite kudos to you! Have fun in minnesota this weekend that is where i live too. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. You look awesome!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Katie, as I read through your daily notes, I found by the end I was a little teary lol You've come a long way and I'm not talking about your weight loss. Mark wanted you to live your life to the fullest and have fun...he'd be SO proud of you!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh my goodness Katie you look terrific!!! No need for cover ups at all. I've worn a bikini once at my friends pool and I literally Beelined for the pool or laid on the lounge chair (thank goodness there were only a few of us in the pool) I am proud and inspired by your confidence and hope that someday too to wear a bikini proudly despite what my body looks like bc am dammit I lost over 90lbs and I earned every inch of sagging skin and stretch mark I have, but they're my battle scars of the battle I fight day with my weight and continue to percevere!

    ReplyDelete
  7. You look amazingly happy and beautiful! There is no stopping you!

    ReplyDelete
  8. You look great Katie! I can tell how proud you were by the smile on your face, first thing I noticed :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Woo Hoo!! So glad you went ahead and wore the bikini the whole week!! Can't wait until I get to that point too! Next year I hope!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm a lurker and rarely, if ever, comment. I know - bad. But I had to break my lurker-status to say that you are a rock star! So proud of you for facing your fear. You look amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I also read your blog all the time and have never commented. We are our own worse critics. But as an outsider looking in you look amazing and beautiful! I think it's awesome you conquered your goal of wearing a bikini.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Katie, you look beautiful! I am so proud of you for stepping out of your comfort zone!!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. You looked awesome! What a fun vacation!

    ReplyDelete
  14. You look so great! I can identify with your post SO much. I have never in my life even tried on a bikini. Maybe next summer I will follow your example. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. A GREAT post!! You look fantastic! Congrats on this big accomplishment!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks for sharing. I know it's easy to be self critical. You look great in a bikini!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. You look great Katie!! Great job stepping out of your comfort zone and rocking that bikini!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. You look beautiful in that bikini. I LOVE the underwater pictures--especially the one with the boys behind you. So cute! My daughter-in-law invited me to the local swimming pool last month, to watch my granddaughter swim. I planned on just watching from outside the fence surrounding the pool, but she had passes and talked me into coming inside the pool area. When she got to my house to pick me up, I had on capris, she talked me into changing into shorts, she said I would want to at least be able to wade in the zero-entrance side of the pool. I hated even wearing shorts that come clear to my knees. But I did it, and when I got to the pool--what a shock! There were people of all sizes and shapes and most of them were wearing swimming suits. Nobody judged anybody else, and I'm guessing there were more people there that were overweight, than there were normal-sized people, and only a very few of those so-called "Perfect Bodies." It's so hard to just get over our insecurities and belief that everyone is looking at us and judging us. If I ever get back to the pool, I'm wearing my swimming suit! It was a hot day, the water would have felt great.

    ReplyDelete
  19. You look amazing, Katie! So glad you had a wonderful time!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Katie the last picture is great. Honestly if you hadn't mentioned stretch marks, I would have never noticed them. Which is great because I am pregnant with my first and now jave a million stretch marks on my belly. I used to worry a lot about it and worried what my husband would think of them, but now that they're there, I don't really care anymore hehe. Thank you for the inspiration! :) you are amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  21. You look amazing!!!!! Beautiful & inspiring!

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a great post!
    I love that picture of you and your husband -- you both look so happy, relaxed, and like you're having a great time on vacation. I didn't notice anything other than that.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Amazing!!! So happy for you. I hope one day I'll be able to do the same. What a transformation of the mind!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Oh my goodness. I've never commented but this post made my day! I have a huge grin on my face. GO YOU!!! I'm so happy for you. Woot woot for self confidence. And hey oh! you look amazing in that bikini.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Way to go! you look great. Sometimes we look or find imperfections that aren't there. You are lucky to have such a supportive family.

    ReplyDelete
  26. You rocked that bikini!! I love the picture of you and Jerry on the beach! I've gone through the same thoughts and feelings, and learned confidence is always sexy!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I love this, Katie! You look so happy. Confidence takes practice, just like running takes practice. You just have to do it!

    ReplyDelete
  28. You looked great! So brave! I'm not sure I'll ever manage that...

    ReplyDelete
  29. Congrats Katie!! That's one of my goals too :) I think next summer I will do it regardless of my size. Thanks for inspiring me! And you look fab!

    ReplyDelete
  30. What extra pounds? You look great!

    ReplyDelete
  31. If I looked like you I would have spent the whole week naked!

    Ok I'm kidding. But you look fantastic, you rocked that bikini!

    ReplyDelete
  32. You look great! LOVE the last picture!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. So inspiring thank you for posting! I love all the details and thoughts you included in this post! You look great! Reminds me of something I saw it said "How to get a bikini body: Put on a bikini!"

    ReplyDelete
  34. I am only about 10 pounds from my goal weight and when I get there, my girlfriends and I are going bikini shopping for me! It'll be the first time in a while... my belly is so pale compared to the rest of my body right now! But I'm ready to give it a try and maybe even enjoy the last bits of warm weather in the South in a new bikini :)
    Thanks for the additional inspiration! I love your blog and I've been reading it ever since I started my own weight loss journey!

    ReplyDelete
  35. You are the QUEEN of Awesome! Congratulations on your achievements! I love your attitude and you are truly a wonderful inspiration! You go, girl!!

    --Mave.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I WISH I looked like you! Fantastic!! Maybe I'll run with just a tank, bearing my arms, some day...

    ReplyDelete
  37. You look SO beautiful and happy Katie! All I see is your lovely slim figure and the enormous smile on your face. I love this quote about stretch marks - "Your body is not ruined. You're a goddamn tiger who earned her stripes!"

    ReplyDelete
  38. Nice bikinis! I wish I could finally wear one someday. Congrats, girl. :)

    ReplyDelete
  39. I found your blog when I searched jog vs. run. Wow, you have a great blog and have come a long ways! I have been running for about a year, and while I haven't lost a ton of weight (23 lbs) I have lost a lot of inches. I feel better and look better, and best of all I have learned so much more about myself than just running to lose weight. It changes your life inside and out. I should add more to my blog about the personal journey, rather than just my running milestones and obstacles. I look forward to exploring your blog more!

    ReplyDelete
  40. So awesome!!!!!! You are amazing!! And you look amazing too!!!

    ReplyDelete
  41. What an amazing post! Thank you for sharing this. You look wonderful, and you can tell in the last pic how far you've come from the first one, and how happy you look. Great work!

    ReplyDelete
  42. You look fantastic. Thank you for sharing your inspiring journey with us!
    Thanks, Patty

    ReplyDelete
  43. you look fantastic! WTG! Glad your trip was such fun!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Gorgeous photos. I'm glad that you were able to get over your fears because you look great in your bikini. I especially loved the underwater pics -- really fun.

    ReplyDelete
  45. You look phenomenal! You can see your confidence shining through! And that bikini is super cute :)

    ReplyDelete
  46. thank you SO much for writing this. I think you look so happy and like you're having a blast- I would never have given you in a bikini a 2nd glance if I was there (and I mean that in a nice way). You look completely "normal" and healthy. I'm going to Jamaica in Nov, and I'm not at goal (about 30 lbs over). I've never worn a bikini either, b/c when I was young I thought I was too fat (and I wasn't). I was really hoping to wear one in Jamaica so now I might. I'll let you know if I am brave enough, perhaps for a Monday post in the fall :)

    ReplyDelete
  47. Thanks for sharing how hard this was for you. You look great!!! Just remember how far you've come. Kudos.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Funny how you were so worried about how you looked but you look great to me. No reason to worry!

    ReplyDelete
  49. Go girl!, you rule!! Every inch of you is awesome! Keep running this race!

    ReplyDelete
  50. All I see is your toned, flat tummy!

    ReplyDelete
  51. I think you look wonderful! Go you! I love when people overcome their body fears!

    ReplyDelete
  52. wonderful! you look amazing!!!

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear from you! I read all of my comments, and if you have a question, I do my best to respond; sometimes, however, I get busy and forget to go back to reply, so if it's important, just email me! :)