23Jun
By: Neghar On: June 23, 2014 In: Be Happy, Eat, Fashion, fat loss, Featured Posts, Lift, Mindset Comments: 58

q: How do I get a bikini body?

a: Put a bikini on your body.

If you typed that question into your search browser, and Google would spit out this answer, it would mean we’ve finally-as a culture-come to a place of real body acceptance.

Alas, that isn’t the case–not yet, anyway. Type that question into Google (I know, because I did it) and you get a multitude of articles telling you just how to make your body bikini ready, most of which are done in 7, 21, or 30 days. Because who has time these days to wait for a bikini body? I mean, summer is HERE, am I right?!

Thankfully, most of the nutrition advice provided in these articles isn’t too off base, although you can certainly find some that are bordering unsafe or extreme. But the workouts, on the other hand, are usually ineffective at best. The larger issue here isn’t the quality of the diet or exercise plan that promises to “get you bikini ready fast,” it’s the fact that they’re implying that not only do you lack a bikini body, but you need to (and according to the articles, can) obtain one quickly.

I even found one article in Fitness Magazine that promised a “bikini worthy body.” Worthy. Which is a small step from saying not only is your body not bikini ready, it’s not worthy of donning one either.

If you follow my work, then you know I recently posted a photo on Facebook depicting a new, much softer body than I used to have. To read more about the way I feel about my new body and it’s fluctuations, click HERE to see the full post.

reverse progress

I’m not as lean as I was in 2009 but damn, I really do love my body and my life.

I eat a very nutritious diet with the occasional splurge on Australian licorice (my kryptonite), and the very frequent glass(es) of wine. I exercise daily, whether it’s a heavy lift sesh, a lighter and faster lift (metabolic resistance), yoga, SUP, hiking, or intervals of some sort.

My quick workouts range from 15-30 minutes on average, but if I put in a heavy strength sesh or go to the yoga studio it’s upwards of 60 minutes. I walk and ride my bike regularly as a means of conveyance, and I absolutely effing LOVE my lifestyle.

I’m not “fitness model perfect” or without flaws (if I was turned around in this photo, you’d clearly see my cellulite), but I effing love my body. Furthermore, I love the beach, and I’m not about to miss out on the fun because I’m not as lean as I was last summer.

Even after viewing my “after” photo, some people will say “that girl already has a bikini body” while others might insinuate that I could stand to lose a few pounds (trust me, I’ve been called fat several times); both of those sentiments are completely irrelevant. What is relevant is that I have a bikini body. You have a bikini body. We ALL have bikini bodies because we have bodies–the bikini itself is optional.

The unfortunate truth is that some people will completely miss the extreme significance of this message by arguing the minutia (don’t be one of those people!). The indisputable truth is this:

There is no such thing as a bikini body. 

There are just bodies. Some are taller, some more stout. Some thicker, some leaner. Some wider and some more narrow. Some have bigger muscles, others don’t. All of them are capable of (and worthy of) putting on a bikini any time they choose.

In fact, because I live at the beach, I spend a great deal of time catching the rays and reading a good book. While on the shore, I’m privileged to regularly see women in two-piece suits that most would not consider “bikini ready.” I see women of all shapes and sizes sunbathing, playing with their kids in the sand, or braving the chilly temperatures of the Santa Monica waves.

This courageous display of coastal frivolity brings me immense happiness. Witnessing so many women in their most vulnerable public form, regardless of shape and size–it warms my heart; it lights a fire in my soul. Maybe they’re working towards losing weight or changing they’re physiques, and maybe not. The point is that they all have bikini bodies simply because they are wearing bikinis. 

Listen, if you don’t want to wear a bikini, don’t wear a bikini. That’s your prerogative. Wear a kimono or a one piece or shorts or a sarong–whatever feels right to YOU. But because it’s your prerogative, YOU get to decide if you have a bikini body. Not society, not the media, and not bikini manufacturers…YOU. If you want a bikini body, wear a bikini. If not, don’t wear a bikini. The choice is yours, but regardless, you are bikini worthy.

My bikini body has undergone some serious changes over the course of my life, but it’s always been my bikini body, regardless of it’s shape. The shape I take changes all the time.

 As a teenager, I was the thickest girl in my peer group, but as I grew into adolescence I started lifting weights and transformed my physique.

While I was in the Air Force, I dropped down to 115 pounds and my parents said I was too skinny.

When I was pregnant I was 170 pounds, 2 years ago I was 12% body fat and 120 pounds, today I am roughly 134 pounds and wearing a size larger than I did 2 years ago.

I have stretch marks on my inner thighs and a fair amount of cellulite, but I also have strong legs, a muscular torso and delts that my meathead husband admires.

At every single one of those stages of my life I was worthy of wearing a bikini.

Why?

Because I’m worthy. Right now. Not -10 pounds from now, or 2 years ago when I was shredded. NOW. And so are you.

That’s not to say that you can’t work on changing your body as you see fit. There’s no rule that says you can’t love your body and still want it to change in some way, but there is a problem with hating your body until it reaches some perceived level of “bikini ready.”

You can’t hate yourself into your fittest self, because by definition, fitness is health. Fitness is the health of your body, mind, and soul. Therefore your fittest self is not only physically fit, but mentally strong, confident, and loving towards itself and others.

Harboring negative thoughts about yourself, or obsessing constantly over the shape of your body is not healthy. Not to mention that hating yourself into leanness is not sustainable; changing your mindset is the real key to stopping the obsessive yo-yo cycle. Self-love, body acceptance, a nourishing diet, and regular exercise–these are sustainable strategies for changing your physique and being your fittest self, not self-hate and 7-day bikini body plans.

Don’t get it twisted, self-love and body acceptance are going to take some time. It doesn’t happen overnight, and even those of us who have embraced our bodies sometimes have struggles. You have to truly commit to the idea that you can and should love your body, no matter what it looks like. It’s a daily practice that will eventually become a habit, but it starts with just one thought:

I am worthy.


Are you sick of the world telling you what a bikini body is and isn’t? Do you want to take back your power and worthiness and embrace self-love and acceptance? Join the Rebellion today. It’s absolutely free to join, and it will change your life–forever.

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  • Talya Jacoby

    Amen!! so many people think only about their looks or busy judging others when they should just do what they can to have a healthy, well functioning body..looks are secondary. It’s what you have inside that counts with the brain being literally at the top :) Our bodies are extraordinary machines..we should keep them well “oiled up” and work on our mobility https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoHlbMVpdFs

  • Rookie Avenger

    Love this. Definitely the best I’ve read on the subject. Shaming women in to losing weight or getting lean is totally wrong. It doesn’t work and can have serious mental implications. Hence people being caught in a never ending cycle of yo yo dieting. Having a positive attitude and confidence in our own body, I feel is the key to a healthy life. I have about 20lbs to lose, having lost a shed load already. But you know what, I love my body, even being over weight. I love seeing new muscles show and love what I can do. I wore a bikini when I was bigger and I didn’t care. I never felt ashamed and now I’m getting results.
    I couldn’t give a fuck what society thinks about my body. It’s all mine! (Oh and possibly David Beckham’s if he ever needed it!)

  • Bodyn Soil

    Of course you both look fabulous and I get what you are saying about toning down your training and coming in softer. I’m a mom and 51, who happens to remain fit as a child free twenty something and yet I still fuss about my level of fitness in a bikini. Media is a mind freak and I’m hoping we can get beyond this expectation of perfection we have of ourselves and be happy we are fit and able.

  • Mike Kneuer (WhatMikeEats)

    Too many women focus on attaining this image of beauty that’s in magazines but even the girls in the magazine don’t look like the girl in the magazine before makeup and photoshop. http://www.MikeKneuer.com

  • I am so happy to have read this – your words are more than encouraging, but nuanced, critical and REAL. Wish more people, myself included, would believe the words: “I am more than enough”.

    Project NÜ

  • Amanda

    Love your beautiful words and those before and after photos you posted. All that matters is that you are healthy and happy in your own body, because you shouldn’t be trying to impress anyone else but you.

    • Thank you so much! xo

  • Kenneth Ragpala

    Loving those before and after photos you posted above. Doesn’t matter how the world sees and perceives you. What matters is that you have a high level of self-confidence that how people see you doesn’t affect what you think and how you act. Truly an inspirational piece.

    Nutrition Club Canada

  • Ben

    To a certain point I agree we have to accept our body, but fat acceptance goes way too far.

    At the extreme we have really fat people saying they accept their body and are happy like that when I can say that being overweight in the past I was never happy with it and am much happier now that i’ve lost it. People who are obviously fat and out of shape and harping on fat acceptance are just reinforcing their own issues.

    There are some people who should just not wear a bikini or revealing clothes, and you or your friend obviously aren’t in that category as you are both in pretty good shape.

    • Neghar Fonooni

      Ben, I think you are completely misunderstanding. Acceptance is not resignation, and at no point did I use the term “fat acceptance.”

      What I’m talking about here is body acceptance–accepting where you are, right now, on your journey. Whether you are 100 pounds over weight or already in great shape, you are worthy of love and you are absolutely within your right to wear whatever the fuck you want.

      This post (and my entire #bikinirebellion movement) is about saying a huge fuck you to the media and societal ideas of a “bikini body” should like. Women can and should wear whatever they want; they don’t have to wait until they lose the weight to do what feels right for them.

      I’m not sure if you noticed, but there’s an entire Summer training program attached to this blog post. Tell me how that is, in any way, enforcing or encouraging people to say, “Well I’m fat and I accept it and I just won’t do anything about it”?

      That’s right, because it isn’t.

      Shame is not an effective way for women to learn self-esteem, nor is it a useful tool for body transformations. Which is why acceptance is important: Acceptance of reality, of your current place in your journey, and of the fact that nobody’s damn opinion of your body matters but your OWN.

      Also, don’t ever tell a woman what she should or shouldn’t wear. That is not your place and it is incredibly presumptuous of you to think that you have that right.

  • thank you for the useful tips. my wife is really getting her bikini body back after she got birth to our beautiful daughter.

  • Natalie Cloutier

    This is a great post with a lot of helpful hints especially now that bikini season is here!

  • Hey Neghar, Thank you for sharing such inspiring words. Made My Day !!!

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  • Joni Ostler

    I LOVE this post. Thank you!

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  • I get so many questions and comments like this from my readers. Like they need permission to go to the beach, gym, night club,or anywhere else full of people in better shape than they are. It’s like people create these imaginary rules about what is and is not allowed.

  • Jo Dines PT

    Great article especially topical in light of the recent uproar about the protein world ads in the UK.
    Jo Dines Personal Trainer
    http://www.jodinespersonaltraining.co.uk/

  • Janelle Naruo

    I love this Neghar. Thanks for sharing this great message.

  • MJirovec

    This was a wonderful article! I enjoyed it immensely. The words we use can make all the difference as you’ve clearly shown with the Google example. We’ve created a society that sees flaw in every body type instead of appreciating the strength and beauty that we all have. Thank you for bringing that to attention. It’s not about being fat, skinny, or worthy. It’s about being healthy, happy, confident, and comfortable in your own skin.

    Ps. You both look fabulous in those bikinis. Rock on.

  • CatEyeKai Marquez

    And that was my goal this year… get a bikini body haha

  • Great article

  • Clint Watson

    Neghar, thank you for writing such an honest, transparent, and humble post. More importantly, thank you for being a beacon of TRUTH in a (sometimes) repulsive industry. Know that there are others fighting the good fight alongside you. I did a video recently that coincides with your article to a degree.
    Check it out! http://clintwatsoncoaching.com/embrace-the-fitness-process/
    God bless you!

  • Ethan Huber

    Hi Neghar Truly said “there’s no such thing as bikini body”.
    My sister also has this bikini body nonsense in her mind I am gonna recommend
    her your blog;. Also I have been searching for some home gym workout equipments
    for her and stumbled upon this site http://www.adjustabledumbbells.info and
    came to know about adjustable dumbbells. Can you please tell me; are adjustable
    dumbbells really effective and useful for home workout routine?

  • Love this post. I struggle with feeling worthy now but I never let my insecurities stop me from doing anything – it’s challenging but worth it! I’ve been way heavier (220+lbs) than I am now (168lbs), and much lighter (139lbs), but I’ve come a long way and stressing about what others think is the last thing anyone should worry about.

  • The most important thing is you feel good in your body, not what other people might and might not think. I make it a rule to sport and stay healthy all year long, for myself, not only in summer for other people.

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  • sarah

    Haha the article pic got me to read the article. A: put on a bikini…. oh. Haha. I shared this with some FB friends, I like articles that are more personal and less dry/instructional. Great stuff :)
    Sarah – 21dayworkoutplan.com

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  • Emily Hodges

    I’m totally with you! Also, I think that if girls don’t feel emotionally comfortable in a bikini-if it brings on insecurities and self-consciousness-they shouldn’t wear one. I spent several years running on the beach, feeling like I was running in my underwear. It was awful! I now swim in board shorts and a rash guard, and swimming has never been funner.

  • I just saw a post recently about a mother of 5 who finally had the courage to put on a bikini, and she was taunted and made fun of by the young people at the beach, but her body nurtured life 5 times, she’s earned medals, not taunts.

    Another girl who is pursuing a modeling career despite having a visible colostomy bag while wearing a bikini due to Crohn’s disease. To the ladies with the courage to feel good in their own skin, I applaud you. Nobody has the right to make you feel self conscious about your body, especially when you’ve done your very best.

    • Neghar Fonooni

      The courage to love and embrace our bodies at all stages of life–that’s true beauty.

  • You know, this is really inspiring to read. As a naturally thin as a reed woman, I sport nothing on top that would fill out a bikini top, and my legs look nearly bow legged. After having 3 children, my belly button looks inside out and I have not worn a bikini since becoming pregnant the very first time. I’m inspired now though, I’m going to do it while summer is still here! THANK YOU!

    • Neghar Fonooni

      You are so welcome, Caroline! Embrace that body of yours–it’s the only one you’ve got :).

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  • VeNeace Fossett

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m going to Jamaica in 27 days (kinda excited…can you tell?! LOL!) and I have been so unkind to myself as I prepare for my trip because I don’t think I’m swimsuit ready. I had a stupid 4 week bikini plan I downloaded and I was sadly going to try the plan and hope for the best. INSTEAD, I’m starting Week 1 of my 4 week rejuvenation phase from your L&L program and I’m so excited! I’m excited about self-acceptance and creating a healthier lifestyle. So thank you – I’m positive I will enjoy my trip and rock all my swim wear…bikini’s and onsies! XOXOXOX

    • Neghar Fonooni

      Yes! So much love for this, and I hope you have the most fun in Jamaica. You deserve it!

  • Lilly

    Hi Neghar,
    I have to say, this is probably my favorite article you’ve posted. So inspiring. I love your approach to food, fitness, and life. You don’t make it a struggle, you make it a priority, a gift. And I thank you for that :-)

    • Neghar Fonooni

      Thank you! I am so glad you enjoyed it.

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  • Jess Mather

    That bathing suit on the right is SO CUTE! Love that top! Why do you have ALL of the cute clothes?! ;-) In reference to the article, the irony really is NO one cares and usually NO one can tell if you gained a couple. A patient of mine that I haven’t seen in a year came in yesterday and commented, “I see you haven’t gained a pound! Still just as tiny!” When I was actually 10 pounds heavier thanks to some REALLY stubborn hypothyroidism. (“What?? Where’d it all go, your big toe???”) The BIGGEST difference in how I felt about those 10 pounds was getting rid of my tiny clothes from college, and upgrading 1-2 sizes bigger to accommodate dat BOOTY! Now trying to squeeze into your short shorts from three years ago when you were at your leanest can be pretty crappy. I’m still bummed I can’t wear my fav shorts, but it DID give me an excuse to go shopping. And that makes any girl happy. ;-) Another bonus: I feel like the boyfriend loves my body more than ever thanks to the new curves!

    • Neghar Fonooni

      Haha! Thanks. The suit is from Maaji, and to be honest, I am just obsessed with fashion. So, I spend a lot of time scouting brands that are not mainstream and I do shop a lot. I am always giving stuff away and upgrading/changing.

      And I agree, no point in trying to squeeze into old clothes. Bodies change! We should always wear what makes us feel good, not try to conform to shorts from 3 years ago.

  • Ann Wendel

    Thank you for sharing. Really on target. You are healthy and happy and strong, and that’s the real goal of fitness.

    • Neghar Fonooni

      Indeed it is :).

  • Diane Flores

    Thank you Neghar. Home run again on this topic. Love your message and aspire to be an influential leader such as yourself. Much love girlie! Keep kicking ass :)
    xo
    D

    • Neghar Fonooni

      Same to you, love! Keep doing your part and being extraordinary. xoxo

  • Thank you for writing this! I work with women on body acceptance and body-love by empowering them to make positive lifestyle changes to nourish their physical, mental and emotional bodies. I love what you wrote about “hating yourself into leanness…” I call that dieting. Placing restrictions on yourself, beating yourself up for not “sticking with it” and the truth is, you’re right! It’s totally not sustainable. Especially during the “bikini season” when all you see in the media are articles on the “Best bikini-bod workouts” and “Drop 5 pounds in 5 days!” this post is incredibly refreshing. Nicely done!

    • Neghar Fonooni

      Thank you for reading, Stephanie, and for working so hard to spread the message of body love! The world needs more women like you.

  • Rabia R.

    Christ on a bike, people call you fat?! Sheesh. Thank you for writing this. My husband and I went on a belated honeymoon in 2012 to Maui, and leading up to it, I was so worried about wearing a bathing suit there. I was self conscious about my stretch marks, flabby upper arms, pooch belly, wide hips, you name it. Then I thought, “Eff it, no one cares what I look like because everyone’s too busy enjoying Maui!” And I loved every minute of being in paradise :)

    • Neghar Fonooni

      It’s true, no one cares! If we could all just remember that we’d be better off. And when people judge, it’s THEIR SHIT, not yours.

  • Dina Juliano

    Neghar….GREAT post today! You made my day. It is all so true! I feel funny taking my shorts off while walking around at the beach all because my body isn’t perfect like the pics you see in magazines. I too have stretch marks on my inner thighs and near my hips and buttocks and I feel like they stick out like flourescent lights in the dark. But you’re so right! So what that my body isn’t perfect! But it sure doesn’t look too shabby! I am proud to have this body as well at my age of 45 years old. After reading this, I NEED to take my shorts off the next time I’m down at the beach and walk around with my head held high. :)

    • Neghar Fonooni

      Yes! Rock that booty, who cares about what magazines portray. It’s all airbrushed anyway ;).

  • Josh Hamilton

    Why do I smile when I read your writing, Neghar?

    Awesome message, and I’ll be spreading this around. You are essential reading for my sisters, especially.

    • Neghar Fonooni

      I put extra smiley energy into my writing just for you ;).

  • Amy Dix

    Thank you Neghar. What a breath of fresh air this was to read.

    • Neghar Fonooni

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  • Great article Neghar. I’m sharing this.

    • Neghar Fonooni

      Thanks so much!