• Deborah Charles-Nelson

'"Summer-body Goals" I Don't Want...'

If I'm honest, I can't remember a time where I was super-confident and happy with my body or weight (sad, I know). Even when I was in university and at my slimmest (130 lbs), I still wasn't content; I was always chasing this 'summer-body' that, looking back, wasn't really attainable with the way my body is genetically made up. I wanted to have small boobs, a big booty and 'wash-board' abs, which is great if you have it, but just didn't happen for me. I lost lots of weight but, for me that didn't result in those abs I wanted. I always had a little belly pouch that just WOULDN'T shift, regardless of how many leg raisers and sit ups I did!

I'll never forget the last time I wore a swimsuit (3 months after giving birth to my son) when I took my sister to a spa for her birthday. I remember squeezing into an old two-piece that I had bought before I was pregnant. I felt quite proud that I was able to squeeze into it, but in hindsight, it wasn't the best decision because 'oh did it fit differently!' It hugged my body in all the wrong places and my belly,... well let's just say I still looked 5 months pregnant. I felt really uncomfortable in my own skin, and I found myself day dreaming about getting my old body back. I would create a little home in the corner of the pool and dread that walk of shame; the pool stairs, feeling as if people were looking on in disgust of my body (all thoughts that obviously were just in my head).

Fast forward...my son is one, and yes, I still feel awkward in a swimsuit. But I care so much less about what people think about it now tbh. I still have a 'pouch' and yes, I am less toned than I used to be, but I'm happy and unapologetic for my 'mum-bod'. And quite frankly, I'm tired. Tired of chasing this 'summer-body'. I am tired of the pursuit, for it to only make me feel unfulfilled and merely comparing my weight loss results to others. Motherhood has shown me a lot of things, one being mental strength and resilience. So, I am choosing to only follow social media accounts that make me feel good about me or inspire me, and those that make me feel bad are unfollowed.

I have to say, the body positive campaigns are great, but honestly there is still so much work that has to be done to fight the years and years of institutional body biases. Even in the black community, if a woman doesn't have a 'itty-bitty waist' with larger hips and booty, then you're somehow less desirable. Even in the plus size fashion industry, more work needs to be done. If all 'plus size' models look the same; chiselled face, small boobs and slightly (and I mean only slightly) bigger thighs and arms, then we need to do better because, in my opinion, that does not represent diversity. And in the nicest way possible, but simply put; if that's your idea of summer-body goals, I don't want to be a part of it :)

I can't pinpoint the exact moment I stopped needlessly fussing over my body, but what I do know is that on days where your baby has a temperature, doesn't want to eat their food or just feels like crying unnecessarily all day, whether you have that “summer-body” or not just pales in comparison. Don't get me wrong, I am very health-conscious (I'd be silly not to be, especially having a career in healthcare), and I definitely try and watch my sugar intake, water consumption and all that good stuff, but just not at the expense of my sanity anymore. I have to remind myself to 'live a little'; the odd ice-cream cone with your kid at the seaside won't kill you and the occasional glass of wine after a long day won't either.

So, this summer, remember: if you've got a body and it's summery outside, then you have a 'summer-body' and YES! You are “summer-body-goals” already! Life isn't going to wait for you to love yourself before it goes on. Time waits for no one. So embrace those wobbly thighs, the stretch-marks and that 'mum-tum'. It is a part of you, and you, my friend, are beautiful regardless...

Simply Deborah xo