It was a strange thing, booking a beach holiday so last minute. I’m used to lengthy countdown apps, overexcited “THREE MONTHS TO GO” WhatsApp groups, endless re-reading of hotel reviews and of course the infamous pre-holiday diets. I’m very used to those.
With this Greek trip only having ten days between “let’s book a holiday” and “ok we’re getting on the plane now”, there wasn’t time to get caught up in a beach body tailspin.
On the one hand, it was dreamy. I couldn’t beat myself up about having not lost a few pounds for the holiday, as time had not been on my side. I usually fail at pre-holiday diets anyway, so this time around I had the perfect excuse. I HADN’T HAD A CHANCE.
On the other hand, there were a couple of dark moments a few days before we left where I’d decided I probably shouldn’t go on the holiday at all. I wasn’t “ready”.
That’s very sad isn’t it? To think you’re probably too fat to go on your own holiday. With your husband who loves you. To a place you really want to go to.
On the day we were leaving, struggling to zip up the suitcase, I looked at the massive blue bottle of Nivea cellulite cream and spent a gut wrenching two minutes trying to decide if it really needed to be in the bag. I had been ready to plead my case for why this magical potion was more important than, say, my husband’s shoes (ahem) before it dawned on me that two minutes of earnest cream rubbing each morning probably wasn’t going to enhance my holiday. It certainly wasn’t going to make me slimmer.
I took it out of the case and we were finally able to do up the zip. Whilst ST was celebrating the fact we could now actually leave the house and get to the airport, part of me inside was wanting to have a little celebratory cry about the fact I was going on holiday without cellulite cream for what, the first time in 15 years? Maybe longer?
I associate the smell of that silky blue gel with holidays as much as I do the smell of coconuts. It’s part of the getting-ready-on-holiday-system: UV spray to protect my hair, sun cream to prevent getting burnt, cellulite cream to prevent ALL THE PEOPLE STARING. Because of course my thighs are what people go on their holidays to see, not the beautiful beaches or their friends or their loved ones – just me. They’re all setting off at 5am to fly four hours to lay in the sun and assess my dimpling, probably writing TripAdvisor reviews on their return: “great crepey texture, would confuse for orange peel again”.
The thing is though, people on beaches and pool loungers are more concerned with what they look like than what you look like.
I think I’ve always known this, yet each year I seem to forget it.
We mustn’t forget it.
If this holiday I’ve just returned from is anything to go by, then I’d go so far as to say that the best thing to do to boost your beach body confidence is to just GO TO THE BEACH.
Beaches and swimming pools in real moving technicolor aren’t what we convince ourselves they’re like on Instagram and Facebook. People are sweaty. People have heat rash. People have burnt patches. People have cellulite. People have ink on them where they sat on the paper. People have crisp crumbs between their boobs. People have stray hairs. People are asleep. People are sandy. People are rubbing sun cream out of their eyes. People have mosquito bites. People are hot and bothered. People are tentatively stepping into the pool then declaring it too cold. People are trying to retrieve wet bikini bottoms from clinging to their nether regions. People are running after their kids. People are forgetting to breathe in because they’re on holiday and they’re having an AMAZING time.
These places aren’t, in the main, fashion shows. These are intoxicatingly happy places where people want to read books and drink margaritas and just stop thinking about their office politics and mortgages for five minutes.
Sure there are *some* very posey beaches out there just as there are some particularly posey nightclubs out there, but generally beaches and pools are a gorgeous hodgepodge of all sorts. A complete mixture of shapes and sizes making one glorious average.
Please don’t worry about being seen in your swimwear this summer. It *is*unnatural to think about when we’re sat here in England – we don’t have the climate to effectively be seen publicly in our pants on a regular basis – but it all just seems to make sense once you’re in the boiling hot heat and everybody else is also awkwardly half naked.
The people who want you to obsess over “getting a beach body” tend to conveniently be the same people who sell you the tools to “get the perfect beach body”, which is always worth remembering.
And if all else fails, get a sarong.
Sarongs are great.