Clearly I am an authority on this topic. This was verified to me yesterday when my boys and I took a break from pool fun to lay out in the sun. Not only did my ghostly white hue boast the starkest contrast to my sons’ dark chocolate skin, when I stood up, my eldest looked at my wet swimsuit print and told me with no attempt at etiquette how big my bottom was. Easy to say when you’re a beanpole like him! But still, I can’t and shouldn’t measure this summer specimen of mine in terms of slim golden-brownness. Life has taught me some tidbits on thinking of my beach bod in far more helpful ways, and here they are…
1. Wear a shirt
In a society where everyone is pressured and trying to optimize how they look with less clothes on, it’s refreshing, free, and simple to remember that you’d worry about that a lot less with more clothes on. Ladies, trust me, you’re just as attractive in the ways you want to be in more clothes at the beach than in a bikini. And any guy who thinks you need the latter to make you sufficiently attractive is not someone you want anywhere near you-especially when you’re in a bikini. Dudes, trust me, any woman you want around you will appreciate your shirted self respecting and being genuinely interested in who she is rather than focusing on flexing each of your 6 abs at her. And even if all else fails and you’re not the favored physique-shirts or skins-you’ve made others feel better about themselves while reducing your chances of premature wrinkles, sunburn, and skin cancer. Think of it as charity now with you getting the last laugh later!
2. Optimize your body for what it should do, not how it should look
Despite the countless hours and dollars humans put into tanned muscle-bound and skinny-toned bodies, I have virtually never found myself in a situation where such qualities would have benefited me in any way that was even remotely worth the cost (Click to tweet). And if anything, they detract from our ability to benefit others. Those who focus their finite time, resources, and bodies on the greater good seem to find wonderful spouses, friends, and fulfillment as (and often more) frequently than those who seek such things through their appearance. Eating well and exercising are certainly important (medically, a moderate balanced diet and 45 minutes of exercise 3 times/week is all a person typically needs to maintain a healthy body), but they are important to increase your ability and longevity to do the fulfilling and fruitful good you were created to do, not to make you a slave to the mirror.
3. Repeatedly remind yourself who you really are
At the root of our predilection for physical perfection are millions of messages we’ve received from ads, others, and ourselves that tell us we need to look better, either to be worth enough or to be comparable enough to others. Even our best efforts to reject these voices have difficulty overwhelming such ubiquitous influence…until we truly believe the only concept regarding self-image that matters: Only one person knows everything about you and what you are subsequently worth. Not a marketing team or the people it employs, not strangers or friends communicating in myriad ways that you’re above or below average, and not even your own conflicting opinions subject to change as often as your mood or circumstances. Only God knows everything that went into you and everything about you; therefore, only he can assign your worth (Click to tweet). The greatest news is not just that he’s done so, but that he’s gone ahead and paid that price for you! God created you for perfect eternal community with him-starting here and complete in heaven-and wants you to be able to enjoy that so much that he paid the life of his son Jesus to make heaven possible. The only one who knows what you’re worth has told you how much and proven it with payment. But you need to accept God’s truth of Jesus and remind yourself at many times and in many ways to escape the frequent false voices telling you otherwise. When I was younger, every day I read a list of biblical statements affirming the great worth God gives me, and it slowly but surely made the truth present in my mind when I needed it most. Today my beach bod may literally pale in comparison to others’, but when it’s being who God made me to be and doing what God made me to do, I now know that it’s happier and healthier than theirs may ever be.
4. Beach bod vicariously through your kids
Talk, dark, handsome, lean, and toned. This guy’s got it all! 🙂