Buying a bathing suit use to a suck. It was a miserable, unpleasant experience that always left me selecting one that I hated the least. That all changed when I lost 55 lbs in 2011. It still isn’t as pleasurable as buying a new purse, but it is no longer traumatic. When I lost the weight, I didn’t do it to make bathing suit shopping easier. I did it because I didn’t want to end up in a hospital bed, weighed down by fat and medical problems stemming from being overweight, as my beloved aunt was that year.
Four years later my weight is still gone and I feel great but I am still getting used to my new body and what that means. Frankly I never believed it possible to lose that much weight, much less maintain it. I am embarrassed to admit that one of my apprehensions about our wonderful Australian sabbatical was that I would gain weight; to my amazement I actually lost weight while we were overseas. And one of my first thoughts after waking up from my three hour ankle surgery last November was concern about gaining weight. After a lifetime of dealing with food and weight issues, it takes time to retrain my mind.
One big adjustment has been buying a bathing suit. For years buying a new suit sucked. It was stressful because I never looked the way I wanted to. I never shopped for a suit in a store, preferring to try on suits in the privacy of my own home. I envied women who could walk in to a store and walk out with a bathing suit.
So you can imagine my panic when I found myself needing to buy a bathing suit on my way up to Tahoe for a long weekend with my son two years ago. We were heading up to spend some time together while my husband and daughter were traveling in Europe for her school’s choir trip. The house my son rented had a hot tub and by the time I realized I didn’t have a suit, we were too far away from home to turn back. As we approached Davis, CA I looked online and didn’t see any department stores listed, only a Target. I approached the store with a lot of stress and a pinch of panic thrown in for extra measure. You see while my new body walked in, it was attached to my old mind.
Within a few minutes of looking, I found a great looking suit, and lo and behold it fit—right off the rack! If you have ever been overweight, you can appreciate the flood of joy and relief I felt at that moment, standing in a Target dressing room, looking at myself in the mirror and loving what I saw. I wanted to run around the store, jumping for joy, but I knew my son was waiting in the car. So I paid for my new suit (and cute cover-up, because you know!) and strolled nonchalantly back to the car, as if nothing huge had happened.
But something huge did happen. I walked into the store with my old body image in my mind, but I walked out a new woman—one who can shop for bathing suits at Target! Now when traveling I no longer stress about packing pants or bathing suits (both of which used to be hard for me to find). I now travel lighter, figuratively and literally.
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