Thursday, June 30, 2011

200 pounds in a bikini

A few weeks ago, according to the oddly addictive blogger stats page, someone found my blog by typing “200 pounds bikini” into google. Curious, I tried that search, and then immediately wished I hadn’t. The first result was Urban Dictionary’s entry for “bikini beef,” the extra bulges resulting “when the wearer exceeds the legal bikini wearing limits.” The second result was someone relatively thin asking the Yahoo Answers community how she looks in a bikini, with a bunch of strangers criticizing her body in response. Results 3 and 4 were people talking about losing weight in order to be able to wear a bikini. My “Rock your bikini” post was #5. The 6th link was a female blogger who feels “VERY STRONGLY” that there should be a size limit on bikinis, using words like “disgusting” to describe women like me.

I am very glad that my perspective is in that mix.

I’m all for being fit. It is important to me to exercise and eat intelligently so I can be here for my kids and give them a good model of healthy behavior. Despite what my generous proportions might imply, I take care of my body and treat it with respect. I am 37 years old and I weigh 200 pounds, and I am healthier and in better shape now than I was at 20 when I weighed 140.

And I actually think I am more beautiful now than I was then. Maybe not by any objective criteria, but there is a spark in me that has grown over the years into an inferno.

It’s my life force. My energy. My chi. My sexiness. My confidence. My mojo. It’s the thing Maya Angelou is talking about in "Phenomenal Woman." It’s That Thing. I didn’t really have it at 20, or if I did, it was still mostly curled up asleep. But I have it now. And it’s awake and alive and expanding every day. It’s spilling out through my skin and my eyes and my breath. And I believe with every fiber of my being that it is That Thing that makes a woman beautiful. We all have it in us. It just needs to be invited and nourished.

It’s fair to say that this bikini experiment has changed my life. I wear a size 16 and I carried twins to nearly 37 weeks. It would be very easy to find things to hate about my body. But the more I have shown it, the more I love it. This body has been good to me. It carries my brain around and mostly does what I ask it to do. It has given me so many amazing gifts: that feeling of pleasant soreness the day after a workout, the smell of fresh basil and a sun-warm tomato, the sound of my children’s laughter, the view of a sunset on the Amalfi coast, the wild abandon of dancing all night, the taste of a perfect kiss. This body gave me my children. And it is beautiful. Even in a bikini.

It bulges in some places and sags in others. Does anyone really think that makes me less beautiful? Isn’t that the craziest thing you’ve ever heard? Nothing… NOTHING can make us less beautiful unless we allow it to.











Photography by the amazing Rebecca Palmer at Lifescapes Photography. The photos are retouched for razor burn and child-inflicted bruises, but my body shape, bulges and all, has been left 100% untouched by Photoshop.



69 comments:

  1. Rock it, sex kitten! You're an inspiration to us all!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful and inspiring as always! Rock that bikini! You have been my guide for over 15 years as I search to find and nurture That spirit inside.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I need to get to this attitude - maybe someday soon... of course, that means a new bikini - all the ones I have are from when I was my lowest weight in the last 15 yeas...

    ReplyDelete
  4. You look beatiful, but more importantly your confidence radiates and you look HAPPY!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. you lovely being! I appreciate you, and your body, your showing it all to the world! Maybe the second version of this can be 63 year old woman with wrinkles in bikini!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Zorina, I would love nothing more! Bring on your bikini bod, you sexy woman!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Inspiration to all. Now if I could find that courage...

    ReplyDelete
  8. You are officially my role model. I want, I need, your confidence. And thanks to you I plan on finding it. Thank you for being such an incredible inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I live in Florida where everyone and their mother rocks out a bikini. You can tell who is comfortable in their skin by the set of their shoulders and, as I am an avid people watcher, the lack of self confidence affects the skinny to plump fairly evenly.

    That being said, you look great. Why can't people feel good about themselves without putting others down?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Well said. I am passing this on to my friends! Thanks for the inspiring post!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Pam-
    I'd love to talk to you about featuring this on BlogHer. Can you drop me a line at rita@blogher.com?

    Best,
    RJBA

    ReplyDelete
  12. "This body has been good to me. It carries my brain around and mostly does what I ask it to do. It has given me so many amazing gifts: that feeling of pleasant soreness the day after a workout, the smell of fresh basil and a sun-warm tomato, the sound of my children’s laughter, the view of a sunset on the Amalfi coast, the wild abandon of dancing all night, the taste of a perfect kiss"

    I love this post. I wish more women felt like this about their bodies instead of seeing them as something to hang size zero clothes on. Kudos to you!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Incredibly beautiful. Your use of Photoshop meets my approval, I don't mind removing bruises but draw the line at chunks of body! This is getting shared far and wide, thank you for being an inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  14. "It’s my life force. My energy. My chi. My sexiness. My confidence. My mojo. It’s the thing Maya Angelou is talking about in "Phenomenal Woman." It’s That Thing. I didn’t really have it at 20, or if I did, it was still mostly curled up asleep. But I have it now. And it’s awake and alive and expanding every day. It’s spilling out through my skin and my eyes and my breath. And I believe with every fiber of my being that it is That Thing that makes a woman beautiful. We all have it in us. It just needs to be invited and nourished."

    This made me smile - I feel exactly this and never put it into words. Awesome!
    Aimee

    ReplyDelete
  15. I cried reading this. You are so beautiful and for the record, I would never call you anything but. Regardless of your weight, I think you're beautiful and should never feel ashamed to wear a bikini :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Fantastic! Add me to the list of commenters who think you look amazing and sound amazing, inside and out! I esp love the black bikini. So classic looking. I am mid 40s and in my mid 30s is when I finally began judging my body by how good I FELT, not how good/bad I looked. I knew when I was strong or wimpy, and didnt need a scale or photo to tell me. I love that you've learned to love yourself, body and mind!

    ReplyDelete
  17. My proportions are similar to yours, and you have made my day. Your blog is my new favorite. Best wishes to you!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks so much for your refreshing attitude and 'to hell with what they think' approach to your own body. It is yours to love and appreciate and it's so obvious that you do!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Stunning!!! What an inspiration you are and what amazing confidence you have! Love it!

    ReplyDelete
  20. This is awesome. I'm so glad you're in that mix of Google searches, too, because we (women) all need to realize that LIFE happens in different (AND HEALTHY) shapes and sizes!

    Found you through BlogHer's tweet. :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. A confident woman is a beautiful woman. You are the whole package -- smart, sexy, confident, beautiful. You have a terrific voice, thanks for using it for the betterment of women :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. So impressed by your confidence and poise - beautiful pictures!!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Love this! Thank you for showing your confidence!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks for that - it is my goal to one day be confident with my own body like you are with yours - and you are a model of beauty and strength. Thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. You freaking rock! Sometimes I think I should feel embarrassed to put a swimsuit on my plus size body, but damn it, I love to swim. Thanks for inspiring me to try harder to quiet that nagging little voice.

    ReplyDelete
  26. You look fantastic, Pam--thanks for doing this.

    ReplyDelete
  27. This post makes my heart SING. Thanks for this.

    "NOTHING can make us less beautiful unless we allow it to." Brilliant.

    ReplyDelete
  28. You look fantastic! I wish I looked half as good as you do. Way to go!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Wow. I need to find That Thing.
    You are beautiful and you're right, it comes from you're entire being.
    Beautiful post.

    ReplyDelete
  30. My only issue with this post is that your pictures seem to have been taken at night - strut yourself out into the bright sunshine, girlfriend.Let the world see! You're a knockout!

    ReplyDelete
  31. I admire you for doing this. I really do. You look great in those photos. It makes me believe what you say is true - it's more about self-confidence than losing 20lbs. I hope to [someday] finally feel good about myself, no matter what the scale says.

    Oh, yeah. Look at my profile pic. I'm definitely one if those hide-behind-the-cover-up girls. :/

    ReplyDelete
  32. I am so inspired! You do look great and thank you for posting this and sharing your confidence with all of us!

    ReplyDelete
  33. you look fabulous-maybe I will start by wearing a sleeveless shirt.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Iron Spine Sally, I have gone to the beach in my bikini during the day with my kids. This photo shoot was supposed to be a sunset shoot, because that location is very pretty at sunset, but when the scheduled day rolled around, it was super cloudy and starting to rain, so some of the pics turned out dark. Thanks for the sweet words!

    ReplyDelete
  35. no seriously. Love every word. You rock, hot mama! :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. You look gorgeous! The only thing that matters is how you FEEL!

    ReplyDelete
  37. You just inspired me to buy a bikini.

    And I agree, my fire is raging hotter at 36 post two very large pregnancies than it ever did at 20 and a fit size 8. I don't even think I knew what fire was.

    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  38. what beautiful photos !!!!!!!!!!!! I love your article .......very inspiring

    ReplyDelete
  39. Wow! Fantastic photos and fantastic blog!! My daughter shared this with me as I constantly beat myself up for not being 140 lbs and a size 8. You are an inspiration and I am going to share your story with everyone I know!!

    ReplyDelete
  40. You are what a real woman should look like .

    ReplyDelete
  41. I've gotten steadily bigger as I've aged, and spent my entire life trying to hide in a corner. I applaud your courage, and maybe there's hope for me yet.

    ReplyDelete
  42. OK, but you are wearing a beautiful bikini and you do have a healthy body shape. Beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Beautiful post, gorgeous mama! Thank you for your bravery and inspiration! Love it :-)

    ReplyDelete
  44. :-) Awesome. You do look great. Maybe someday I will get to this point with my own self-image. While pregnant with my third, I posted bare belly pics and had my belly henna'd and that was a big step for me. I'm so glad I did those things.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I love you, Pam. Thank you for doing this and posting it. You rock!

    ReplyDelete
  46. You are gorgeous inside and out! I haven't worn a bikini in years, but you (and the Costa Rican women here who seems to exude sexy no matter what their size) are an inspiration! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Thank you ! I was surfing the internet to find things that weigh the same as me - 200 lbs !! And you look fabulous. The boost I needed...

    ReplyDelete
  48. My eyes just welled up. You're beautiful! I'm beautiful too! I'm wearing a bikini in my backyard today, it's really hot outside and I refuse to worry what the neighbors might think. Thank you do much for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  49. You are my hero. Your words are so refreshing and TRUE and healing. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  50. thank you, thank you, thank you. from one real woman to another.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love your blog!! :) Thanks for visiting mine.

      Delete
  51. I would be happy to share my beach blanket with her =)

    ReplyDelete
  52. you are so beautifill i also weight 200 pounds but im not beautifil like you. you go girl you look great in a bikini or any thing. you are inspire me and all of us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's easy to see the beauty in others. Much harder to see it in ourselves. Hugs hugs hugs.

      Delete