No One Wins in Hide and Shrink
By: Alexis Sears About Alexis: A few years ago, Alexis graduated from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Currently, she is a Master of Social Work candidate at the University of Michigan. She is passionate about sharing her story of full recovery from food and body image challenges. Her hope is that others are inspired and empowered to experience the same sweet freedom from disordered eating and negative body image.
I know that I am not alone in loving summer. Warmer weather, longer days, BBQs, time on the water, it’s almost impossible not to enjoy this glorious season. But, for me, summer has always had one little catch – that it is synonymous with ‘swimsuit season’. Those two words alone make me want to hide and/or shrink. And so each summer, I spend significant time and energy attempting to do both.
But this summer was different. I made no attempt to be a smaller version of myself. No cleansing, no detoxing, no “low carb, no carb”, no exercise plan, none of that. No hiding, no shrinking.
Instead, I listened closely to my body’s needs and followed its cues to eat, sleep, and move. I chose to trust my body’s inherent wisdom, in spite of any pressure to do otherwise.
I was also intentional about finding a swimsuit that fit me, instead of trying to change my body to fit into a swimsuit. (Because, I have to say, the latter is downright backwards… clothes are meant to fit you, not for you to fit them, ok?)
And as a result, this summer, I spent more time relaxing, swimming, laughing, reading, chatting, running, enjoying, and embracing, than any summer prior. And as the summer season changes to fall, I am grateful & content, rather than relieved that ‘swimsuit season’ is over.
I want to share this because I believe that summers, friends, vacations, family, and the world, need YOU, in your entirety and in your wholeness. No one wins when you play hide & shrink. Your purpose is not to try and take up less space. Not during this season, not during the next swimsuit season, not ever. There is room for you to embrace & enjoy too. Please take as much space as you need.