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Posted in Personal Blog

Over the past year my body mass has increased due to being a carer, stress and illness which has meant I can’t exercise the way I used to (which was my effective weight management tool), my 7 mile walks with the dogs have stopped and my body slowly seizing up and joints aching more and more. I have previously been far to self-concious and embarrassed about my size to don a swimsuit and enter a swimming pool to exercise with the wonderful support the water provides. That was until I realised how utterly ridiculous I was being ~ here I am, trying to promote self love and positive body image to my daughters yet hypocritically afraid of shedding my own clothes and embracing the body that has done me proud all these years.
I have a wonderful friend, Melanie, who speaks an awful lot of sense, and 3 daughters who are also incredibly mature and matter of fact about body image, who made me realise that I don’t need to worry or be afraid. It’s all about confidence and just getting on with life, why should I allow anticipated perceptions of others, imagined judgements from strangers, to stop me from just enjoying and living my life. They shared these articles with me which made me realise I was being silly to be afraid, the only person stopping me was me. You may wish to read them here and here.
So, the decision was made, I will start swimming and hold my head high in the process, I have NOTHING to be ashamed of.
First things first, I needed a swimsuit and being a bargain Betty I grabbed the first one I saw in my local Tesco which was very cheap and does the job (it covers my bits and pieces without cutting off my circulation).
How to get a Perfect Bikini Body:
Step 1. Have body – Step 2. Have bikini – Step 3. Combine (Step 4. Push anyone who objects into the pool)
Next step, find a pool I would be comfortable using, one with warm water (as many of the local pools are bloomin’ freezing). Our local Menzies hotel has a gym and pool for members only. Hmm, I’m not a gym bunny and so doubtful about cost and joining but then after chatting to The Dave we decided that I would join with him and be his gym buddy. Whilst he does the full gym workout I would walk very steadily on the treadmill before taking a dip in the pool. Now, I think by now most of my blog readers will know our family ME history and on top of the ME Tasha really needs help with pain and gentle exercise to help strengthen the muscles around her joints to hold them in place as she is hypermobile. So we managed to negotiate membership for her too, so long as she only comes with me as her carer. This means I can go with Tasha for hydrotherapy in the warm pool separately from the gym/pool sessions with The Dave and hopefully manage to get myself fit without exacerbating my illness.
Hydrotherapy in heated water allows the body to be supported, reducing the stress on joints, easing pain and making movement easier.   Most people are more relaxed in the warm water and the nervous system is more receptive. HOWEVER, if you have ME be cautious as hydrotherapy isn’t for everyone and it made my youngest daughter significantly worse when she had it via our physio department. Knowing the pitfalls first hand we won’t be going in gung-ho but just starting off entering the water and doing very slow gentle stretches, floating and relaxing and I will perhaps start by doing a little swimming ~ but definitely not Tasha as it would be too much for her.
The final step was to get us over to the pool and into the water! So today was that day, together we tootled off to the hotel and entered the health club. The warmth and comforting smell of chlorine greeted us, music was softly playing and the staff were friendly and welcoming. Thankfully as we go between 9am and 5pm the place was pretty quiet for our first visit and the staff don’t parade up and down glaring at you whilst you workout/swim but are discreetly there should you need assistance.
So ~ I did it! I wore a swimsuit and the world didn’t end, nothing terrible happened, I thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of moving through the warm supportive water, gently exercising my body before just relaxing back and enjoying the experience. It felt incredibly freeing and I wish now that I had done this so much sooner instead of being afraid.
My advice to anyone else in this boat? Just do it! Put on your swimsuit/bikini, hold your head up high and just be you, enjoy everything you love without fear of judgement from others. Confidence is the key ~ if you shuffle about and hold towels close to your body with an anxious look on your face by being self-conscious you draw attention to yourself not because of your size or shape, but by your behaviour. If you are confident and just enjoy yourself no-one takes a blind bit of notice of what you are doing.
p.s. I LOVE Beauty Redefined and if you do too you may like some of their merchandise which you can buy here I personally love these  mirror mantra signs which serve as a good reminder…
I DID IT! – proudly showing off my stretch marks, bulges and wobbly bits, popping into post swim shower 🙂
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