— Body Matters

This Instagram blogger's bikini photos will help you overcome internalized body-shaming

mylifecoachrachel / www.instagram.com

If you’re a woman who grew up in the U.S. (or anywhere), there is a pretty dang good chance you’ve experienced negative feelings about your body — especially in a swimsuit. So much of the media we come across, from magazines to movies to fitness blogs and Instagram accounts, tells us that only one type of body is ideal, or even acceptable. That’s why so many of us feel self-conscious at the beach, or believe we need to drop a few pounds for “bikini season.”

One woman took to Instagram to combat these ideas with a powerful message about self-love.

I've been sitting here trying to think of a good caption but this photo just makes me sad when I look at it. So how about I ask you a question: Who taught the young girl on the left to hide her tummy before taking pictures in a swimsuit❓ Who taught her that at only 13 years old, her chubby little body was unworthy of a photographic memory❓ It definitely wasn't her parents or family, so who was it? Well, did you know that this innocent young girl was bullied for her weight? Not by the girls. The girls were nice. But the boys...the boys were mean. From then on out, she never wanted to go to the pool, saw boys as a threat, cried to her teachers, etc etc. Things started to get better in middle school, but then came the media. *Knock Knock* Diet culture, fitness, cellulite cream--CELLULITE?? Why was a 13 year old worried about cellulite??? Because the media told her it was bad. That SHE was bad and needed to change. If you couldn't tell by now, the young girl was me. There's a big difference between the closed off, hiding, young girl on the left and the carefree, happy, open girl on the right. ❤️And that difference is self love.❤️ I taught it to myself. I had to. I had to find a way to be happy. The process wasn't quick. I'm still working on it at 26 years old. But I have a message for all the women who are much older and STILL feel ashamed to show their tummy at the pool: Don't be. Put on that bikini and smile. Don't feel the need to let other people's opinions ruin precious memories with your friends and family. Show your daughters what it's like to flaunt their flaws at the pool. No shame. Your imperfections tell a story. Your body is beautiful. You are BEAUTIFUL.

A post shared by Life Coach & IG Strategist💗 (@mylifecoachrachel) on

Rachel Spencer, who describes herself as a Confidence and Success Coach, posted a photo of her 13-year-old self side-by-side with her present-day self. In her throwback photo, her teen self is covering her torsos with her arms. In her current photo, she stands smiling and proud, labeling herself in that photo as a “self-love queen.”

Spencer urges us to remember that our bodies do NOT need to change to be “swimsuit ready.” All we need is self-love and self-confidence.

“Who taught the young girl on the left to hide her tummy before taking pictures in a swimsuit? Who taught her that at only 13 years old, her chubby little body was unworthy of a photographic memory?” she writes. “I have a message for all the women who STILL feel ashamed to show their tummy at the pool: Don’t be,” she writes. “Put on that bikini and smile. Don’t feel the need to let other people’s opinions ruin precious memories with your friends and family. No shame. Your imperfections tell a story. Your body is beautiful. You are BEAUTIFUL.”

So go on and get swimming! If your body is at the beach, you have a beach body.

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