Bathing Suit Season Blues

Ah, yes! It’s that time again. The music of the ice cream truck fairly well heralds its arrival – singing to all within its happy sound – “Summer is here!” Many welcome its onset with open arms – the days grow longer, the smell of charcoal hangs heavy in the air, children’s laughter echoes throughout the neighborhood. My own little girls are so delighted by this precious collection of weeks of freedom from the hallowed halls of their elementary school that they can barely contain themselves. As they rub the sleep from their eyes and look forward to the day’s events, each morning begins with the dreaded question – “Can we go to the pool today?”

 It’s a question I, myself asked regularly as a child. I was practically a mermaid – I was a proud member of the River Rats Swim Team, and my mom was a devoted ALTA tennis player – leaving me to my own devices at the neighborhood pool on an almost daily basis. I was blessed with such a high metabolism in my youth – that I could eat fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, candy bars and Coca-Cola every day and not gain an ounce. This fact remained true throughout my adolescence. I would spend most of the summer months in nothing more than a bikini – there was little to no shape to my body, but I still looked trim, toned and tan in my itty-bitty bathing suit.

 The exact opposite is true today. My metabolism began slowing my senior year in college, and I started packing on the pounds by continuing to eat whatever I wished, and exercising less and less. In my mid-twenties, my impending wedding motivated a sudden weight loss – which I was able to maintain for several years, until the birth of my first child. My husband was not displeased – with the added pounds came a blessedly increased bra size. As I attempted to lose the remaining “lbs” from my first child, I joyfully realized I was pregnant with my second. Suddenly, with two kids at home, my husband and I made the decision for me to become a “stay at home” mom. These were wonderful days – we played and laughed… and ate. Kids eat A LOT – three full meals, and snacks in between. I’d forgotten how delicious a peanut butter and jelly sandwich tasted (even better with marshmallow fluff and a bag of chips). I was so happy, I hardly noticed an extra pound here or there.

 Two events transpired, leading to the ultimate demise of my relationship with a two-piece bathing suit: 1) I started working from home once my children entered school, and 2) microwavable Mexican cheese dip became readily available from my local grocer. All of a sudden, an extra pound here or there was occurring at a much faster pace – and the only exercise I was getting was carrying a basket of laundry up the stairs and a “not so” brisk walk around the neighborhood with my dog. Instead of biting the bullet and getting my rear back in shape – with the onset of each new swimsuit season – I looked to fashion to solve the problem for me. I’ve tried the French cut one piece – high on the hips, and low on the cleavage – as if my breasts will distract from the roll of flesh that lies just beneath them. I’ve sought the aid of the “tankini” – a mental trick for overweight 30-somethings who wish to fool themselves into believing they can still wear a “kini” of any kind. I’ve even resorted to “boy short” styles and – to one thing I never thought I’d be caught dead in – a skirted bathing suit in an attempt to minimize my ever-increasing thighs. After spending hundreds of dollars on failed attempts to hide my shame, I’ve learned that I’m not alone. All I have to do is look around – I see loads of women in my very same position, but I’ve never been one to follow the crowd.

Instead, the battle of the bulge rages on, and I just need to stop waving the white flag (and dipping my tortilla chips in that delicious white cheese)! Now, at the heaviest I have ever been, the inevitable bathing suit season has rolled back around. My little girls want to go to the pool, and I am going to take them. My responsibility to them goes much farther than my chaperoning them to the pool, I have to set an example by getting back in shape without making it an obsession. Since I know that there’s no possible way to lose 20 pounds in the next four hours, I’m not going to worry that anyone might notice that I’ve packed on some extra weight over the winter months. I’m going to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle for my family, because I don’t want to miss a thing – not because I want to be remembered for how great I looked in my bathing suit. I refuse to give in to the Bathing Suit Season Blues (and you should, too!)

Published in: on May 24, 2009 at 3:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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