Something that’s very important to know about me is that I love the beach. It’s where I find myself most at peace. The tranquility of the waves and the soft touch of the sea breeze is something that just takes me away from all of my problems. Well, most of my problems. The challenge for me is how insecure I become once I put on a bathing suit. I start picking apart everything I loathe about my body. I’ve always done this. It started at a young age, and even when I was in the best shape of my life, I couldn’t feel comfortable in my own skin. In fact, writing this post is something that is very scary for me. I am about to expose my deepest insecurity to a community of people who I don’t know. I am sure there will be trolls. I am sure there will be people who think I’m crazy for being so nit picky about my body. But the reality is, we all have our own story. My story isn’t overly complex, but the long and short of it is that I can’t look at myself and feel beautiful, let alone satisfied. Some days are better than others. Like my wedding day. I felt beautiful because I had a team of artists glamming me up. But even then, I look back on some pictures and see the things I see every time I look in the mirror. I feel disgusting. The pockets of fat around my belly, under arms and back repulse me. So I can only imagine what other people may think. I am relatively confident that my closest friends aren’t judging me harshly. But going to the beach where I don’t know anyone – and shouldn’t care about their opinions, paralyzes me. That’s why I am taking the time to type out exactly how I feel right now, before I go. I’m including the picture below because my story isn’t over. I gained and lost all of the weight from college, which you already know if you read my story. I feel more confident than I did back then, but I don’t fully respect myself and my body the way that I should. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment bathing suit season became such a problem, but I know the exact moment I felt I needed to be “hotter”. I was in high school and the person I was dating at the time made a comment about a friend of ours and how hot she was. Frankly, I couldn’t disagree. She was and is a gorgeous person. She had the body of an athletic gymnast and a great smile. Everyone doted on her. The next day, I came into school all dolled up, in a skirt with my hair and makeup done. Mind you, my typical attire was hoodies and sweatpants or jeans if it wasn’t game day. I was trying to fit into someone else’s idea of beauty. I wanted to be acknowledged as someone with that type of attractive physique. And I think part of me still does, which is what makes all of this so damn hard. Not to mention the fact that these insecurities while previously perpetuated by magazines and television, have become increasingly painful as a result of social media. When we began WLC, I took to finding various social groups or accounts related to fitness to do some research. What I found was a whole lot of seemingly fake, or at the very least unattainable fitness pages that sexualize women more than any magazine or tv show could. And women are doing this for themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about girl-power and equality. But is this how it should be done? By glorifying starvation? Or over-exercising? Or depriving yourself of the occasional treat because it’s “all or nothing”? I don’t think so. So, before I sign off let me say this. I am not happy about how I look today. I don’t regret eating pizza last night. I wish I had more discipline to get a body that I can whole-heartedly respect. I want to start holding myself more accountable. But that won’t happen overnight. And I’m in Florida for two more days. Am I going to sit inside and feel ashamed? No. I am going to walk to the beach (to get a little bit of cardio in) and I’m going to shyly take off my tank top and board shorts, hoping no one looks too closely or judges too harshly. I will feel uncomfortable for a minute. Then I will let the ocean take my cares away. Be mindful. Be healthy. Love your life. Nikki

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