The time had come.
It was already approaching mid-August and I had committed to trying on a minimum of two bikinis a month until December – at which point I agreed I would purchase at least one.
I had made an appointment with a fit expert named Larisa at the Swimco located in South Centre Mall in Calgary. I nervously made my way to the store, unsure of what to expect.
My greeting was so warm and welcoming, I instantly felt comfortable! Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all. She even offered me bottled water, which I gratefully accepted!
I explained to Larisa that I had recently lost 45 pounds, and am working to build my confidence, and get to a point where I’d feel comfortable enough to wear a bikini. I have never owned a bikini, only the odd sporty two piece that I’d use under my lifeguarding uniform in my late teens. I explained a little more about my fitness journey and that I was working towards getting my mind wrapped around all of the changes my body has experienced since January.
I let Larisa know that I had no intention of limiting her creative process, she was the expert and I’d happily try on any style, size or colour that she felt would be reasonable for my body.
She explained that the first step would be trying on tops. Sometimes the matching bottoms aren’t the best fit for the top they come with, and she told me that trying on tops to get an idea of styles I liked would make matching bottoms to them much easier to do afterwards.
Then I tried some more.
Then I fell in love with two tops, and it was at this point I knew I was going to have to take one of them home. (Was this even real life?????!!!!!)
The bottoms were next. I tried on a pair with gorgeous ruching, another that had no seams, and a pair that had these kind of strips of fabric on the sides that you could see my skin in between. I thought, “there’s no way I’d wear these.” They, in fact, turned out to be my favourite pair!
What I learned from this experience, is that having a fit expert to guide you through an awkward or unfamiliar process makes a world of difference. Not only did I feel comfortable in the store (you may remember from my last blog that I was nervous to even go INTO a store), but I felt welcomed, confident and like I could actually wrap my head around this process. I usually get pretty sweaty and overwhelmed in a change room, (attractive, I know) but I didn’t experience this at all. The folks at Swimco are definitely well trained and experienced, as well as encouraging, upbeat and pleasant!
Next month, when I return, I intend to bring a group of willing folks with me. I usually joke that misery loves company, but the truth is, this was the most fun I’ve had trying on clothes since my early 20’s and I want to share that experience with everyone! Larisa knows I’ll be asking for her specifically again as well. She made it so easy. I want it to be this easy for everyone!
I bought the top and bottom that I would have least expected. It was not something I would have chosen off the rack, and I certainly was surprised once I put it on how comfortable I felt. I purchased it, about four months ahead of my “goal” that I had agreed to.
The next step was wearing it out.
This was a whole different experience.
I was so excited and encouraged by my husband’s response. He really seemed to love the suit I chose. We made plans, albeit somewhat last minute, to go to Chain Lakes to do some kayaking this past Sunday.
My kids knew that I’d be taking my bikini and accompanying stretch marks, squishy tummy fat (there’s still some kicking around) and hopefully my confidence out for a test run. It ended up being quite chilly, but somehow we managed to get some shots of me with the kayak. So far I have only worn this new suit in front of a handful of people, most of whom are my children. It still feels a little weird letting my super untanned torso hit the air, but I think it’s something I can start to get used to. The kids teased me that it’s essentially the same as wearing underwear but they seem generally unconcerned.
I worried that Chase, my husband, would be embarrassed, but he still keeps saying nice things to me about my body and how it looks in a bikini.
Ultimately, I guess I don’t really need approval from anyone else, my hubby included, but it is nice to have encouragement, and I do feel pretty good knowing that my family is supportive of my goals and of my desire to feel good about the skin I’m in.
My stretch marks are probably forever, the belly fat is on it’s way out as I get a solid handle on my healthy eating and weight lifting, and the loose skin will likely always be loose as I did grow three large beautiful babies.
Being that these are all just part of who I am, I want to be able to take the good with the bad, not be afraid to show it, and not feel the need to hide it.
I also want to set an example of body positivity for my children for years to come. I want them to see their mom as flawed but confident. My body is far from perfect, but it’s perfectly mine.
In the words on the wall of the change room at Swimco, “Your body is beautiful because of the life it lets you live.” #swimsuitmodel #feelgoodhalfnaked