If you think you are the only person who gets anxiety as the temperature rises, you aren’t the only one. Apparently, “too fat for summer clothes” is a common Google search, which makes me really think: do all girls hate summer, or is it just the insecure ones (like me)?
Growing up, I didn’t like showing my body during summertime, although in Southern California we experienced extended summers with daily temperatures of 100+ degrees. I did my best to cover up even during insanely hot temperatures and stuck to black T-shirts and baggy black pants to hide my figure.
As I grew up, I gradually started showing a bit more skin as the summers grew hotter and hotter. I eventually traded the baggy black jeans for lighter colors, but yet, it still wasn’t cool enough. Off came the pants, and on went the shorts and dresses.
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Of course, you could only imagine how insecure I felt wearing significantly less clothing. My thighs got major friction burns from rubbing against each other when I walked, plastic school chairs would stick to my butt and breathable fabrics would be damp from sweat and wedge up my crack. My flabby arms waved around like flags, and my legs jiggled with every step I took. This insecure feeling I got every summer was eventually dubbed by me as the “bikini season blues.”
By now, if you’re a woman too, you’ve probably realized that you’ve gotten the bikini season blues during summertime, more or less. In fact, even many of my “skinny” and even “fit” girl friends have uttered similar complaints. Some of my skinnier friends with zero jiggle and athletic friends with tight and toned bodies have complained to me saying at least one of the following:
“My thighs jiggle so much when I wear shorts!”
“I hate wearing ripped jeans because my fat seeps out through the holes!”
“I never wear tank tops because I hate showing my underarm flab!”
“I always wear empire-waist tops and dresses to hide my beer belly!”
“If I have to wear a bikini, I’m going to have to starve for a week, because I will look pregnant if I don’t.”
Sound familiar? And even if you personally have not said these things aloud doesn’t mean you have not thought about them. Therein lies the problem: your self-perception is severely distorted, thanks to society.
Where the Bikini Season Blues Comes From
Every time summer comes around, we get hit with TV and radio commercials promoting workout equipment that doesn’t work, or liposuction starting at the low $1,000’s. Our Instagram feeds become flooded with mega-influencers promoting weight loss teas, sporting teeny-tiny bikinis sponsored by online retailers. Facebook blasts us with ads promoting weight loss systems and workout regimens that claim to lift and shape your butt in 30 days, and Pinterest is flooded with pins that offer one weird trick to flatten your belly instantly.
And it’s not like we aren’t already brainwashed with the unrealistic images of women that are fed to us courtesy of retail giants like Victoria’s Secret.
So it makes sense why many women, not just me, begin feeling the pressure to pursue a bikini-ready body by June. It’s as if summer marketing campaigns for all brands associate summer fun with frolicking at some expensive beach, drinking margaritas and eating barbecue in the most minimalistic bikini with tanned skin and beachy bums. And if we don’t experience summer like that, we’re doing it all wrong.
Insecurity vs. Physical Comfort: What’s More Important?
Now that I’m older and the summers have grown hotter, I’m fighting with my own insecurities to dress practically and comfortably for the summer, despite the fact that I may feel emotionally uncomfortable with more revealing clothes during the summer. I am, like many women in warmer cities, at a crossroads where I have to trade my insecurities for physical comfort.
Even though I think rationally in this respect, it doesn’t mean this way of thinking is healthy – and I’m working on it – but I’m also noticing that other women are just as jaded as I am with this kind of thinking. Why the hell should I have to trade my emotional discomfort for physical comfort? Why am I not comfortable with my body in the first place?
I could start by blaming the perpetuation of unrealistic body standards for women, but that also means that I’m refusing to take responsibility for how I feel about my own body and learning to accept it. By pointing my finger at the media, I’m also admitting that I am incapable of learning how to love myself, regardless of what society throws at me. And while being aware of the power that the media has over our culture is great, I find it even more disturbing that people are using this fact as a cop-out for their inner self-discontent.
The best (and only) way to beat bikini season blues
Originally, when first writing this post, I was going to write this disturbing passage:
“I planned ahead to jumpstart my weight loss journey so I can feel comfortable by the time summer hits, and so far it has been a success. My clothes fit me much better, and my gut no longer feels like it’s going to force the button of my jeans to fly off and put someone’s eye out.”
And now I’m realizing that I am absolutely no different from the problem that I have seen. Just like every woman, I have insecurities, and I work every day to fight them. While diet and exercise is a good solution for watching your health, I think it can be very concerning when girls shame themselves for being supposedly “fat” when they look perfectly fine. I am trying to tell myself that I am the exact woman that I am concerned about, but you know, nobody is perfect. It just goes to show that I’m just as much of a human as everyone else is.
I’m sure that by now you already know that the best and only way to beat the blues is to learn to accept yourself and your flaws. Sure, you know it, but how easy is it to actually implement this practice? Learning to love and accept yourself along with your flaws is the only thing that you can and should do to fix this problem. Some great logic that makes me feel at ease when I feel insecure is that when I compare myself to the bikini bodies I see on magazines and Instagram, I remember that Photoshop commonly used (even I use it on my own pictures). So, you should never take any pictures you see of others as 100% authentic.
Also remember that I am just like you, going through the same inner fears and insecurities. You aren’t alone. None of us face this issue alone.
Don’t forget, if you don’t learn to love yourself, nobody will be able to give you self-love. You only get that from you.
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