Is Every Body a Beach Body?

by Ariela Paulsen
Is Every Body a Beach Body?

Image: My beach gear — sun hat, sun glasses, compression socks under compression leggings, supportive sneakers with inserts, ice pack strapped to my torso, fan and water bottle around my neck, spray bottle, and cooling towel.

We are living in an historical moment in which we are encouraged to go out, be ourselves, and show off our beach bodies, without feeling societal pressure to be perfect.  Yet, what does it really mean to be a “beach body?” For many spoonies, physically being on a beach does not feel inclusive. We may not be able to swim due to a PICC line, or bask in the sun due to Lupus.  We may not be able to wear trendy beach clothes.

It is important to love your body.  Body positivity is so difficult when feeling resentful due to illness, but it can make such an impact to see your body as an ally in the fight, rather than the enemy itself.  The visual reminders of our fight — whether weight fluctuations, rashes, medical devices, or literal battle scars — can also make it difficult to feel body positivity. It is so important to move towards being comfortable with your body, to love it in all its flawed glory.

But it’s also important to respect your body’s boundaries.  Find ways to push through shame or discomfort to enjoy the activities you love.  Make sure, though, to be aware of what the consequences are. Find the balance for yourself of how much you’re willing to risk.  If going to the beach may knock you out for a week or land you in the hospital, is it worth it? These types of decisions are for you to decide, but should be made with intention.  Strive to find supports that allow you to push the boundaries without too much risk.

So, this beach season, we hope you feel empowered to love your body no matter what it looks like, and not be ashamed!  But also, learn your limits and take care of yourself in the process!

Need a little inspiration?  Here are some amazing Friends in the Fight who are rocking their beach bodies!

TravisFlores #YellowHeartSquad I’m sharing this photo that I posted from 2017 taken by @lukefontana because it’s a reminder of many things. The scar reminds me of the #Gratitude I feel for my first #OrganDonor, acknowledgement of the #strength I’ve gained from a life of #CysticFibrosis #CF, and #wisdom from the things I’ve learned during my new life. But, most importantly it’s signifies #fear and #courage equally. Going through #rejection and a second double-lung #transplant was both incredibly scary, and also enlightening as to the resilience of the body, mind, and soul. We all have challenges. Allow those things to motivate you, and take you to new heights. In the moments when someone tries to scare you with words or actions, be reminded of the struggles you’ve already overcome. After everything I’ve been through, the last thing I fear is negative people, their words, their threats, their demands, their bullying. In fact, I stand against it. Claim your strength from the things or people that have tried to bring you down, but failed – because you will always win. I love you 💛
Kiera Sauter rocking her Mighty Pack: “Am I doing this lake thing right? Nothing like administering meds via unicorn.”
115 lbs => 145lbs in 10 weeks.
I’ll be honest, it’s been a huge struggle both mentally and physically to get to where I am now, and I still feel like I have so far to go. I get frustrated quickly because I’m a perfectionist, and I often feel that people judge me for my body since I work in the fitness industry. I’ve put pressure on myself for being too big, and I’ve put pressure on myself for being too small. I don’t always love this body, but I only get one. Even though it throws me for loops and changes constantly and makes me feel out of control, it’s the only one I get… so I’m going to learn to love it all the time, in its many forms. Love my thighs, love my scars, love my belly bag, and love everything I’m able to do right now, because for once my body seems to be cooperating!
Follow @sisterconnection_ for more inspiring posts and testimonies

Check out our tips for safely enjoying some sunshine, beach time, or hikes!

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