Swimming without a bikini body

When body image keeps you from swimming

bikini bodyThis photo was taken at the end of my NLP Practitioner course with Lizzi at Going Coastal. As the business name suggests, Lizzi’s practise revolves around the coast and I spent many hours coaching against the beautiful backdrop of Perranporth beach. As someone who enjoys the sea every day, Lizzi naturally wanted us to end our time together with a swim. I hadn’t been swimming, or even in the sea, for ten years or more.

I always felt like swimming wasn’t really a choice for me. If I didn’t have a bikini body, then I couldn’t bare my skin and go for a swim. No one needed to see my rolls! Even as a size 8 teenager, I would rarely go to the beach. When I did, I sat on the sand in my jeans, afraid to be seen.

But, the theme of Lizzi’s training was ‘have a go’ and I intended to do just that. I didn’t own a swimming costume, but I thought ‘it must be easy enough to find one’. I’d buy something from the supermarket on my way to the course early the next day.

I knew exactly what I wanted: a tankini with shorts. It had to be this. Nothing else would cover up my jiggly thighs with their stretch marks and the rolls on my tummy. I’d piled on the pounds in recent years, I had to cover up!

Imagine my panic when I get to the store and I can’t find a tankini. All I see are standard swimming costumes – and they certainly won’t cover my stretch marks – and then there are shorts as part of a bikini set – and those will leave my flabby belly exposed!!!

I waste time searching and searching, hoping to miraculously find just the right tankini set – the one I imagined in my head. As time grows short, I have a quick decision to make – do I show my jiggly thighs and my stretch marks or put my flabby midriff on display?! It’s one or the other, I’ve committed to this…

I run to my car owning my first bikini.

The sea doesn’t mind that I’m not a size 8. The world doesn’t end and I don’t feel ashamed. I hear no comments on my wobbly bits and I see no looks of judgement. Calm washes over me as I enjoy the cool waves. Was it really worth being so afraid?


  • Hayley Stanton

    Hi, I’m Hayley - the original quieteer. I, too, identify as a quiet person. I’m naturally a highly sensitive introvert and I love and appreciate my quiet strengths now, but I spent much of my life not feeling good enough and experiencing social anxiety. I missed so many opportunities because I was afraid of being judged harshly, criticised and rejected – and because I doubted that I had the ‘right’ personality to succeed. Quiet Connections exists in part because I had a fantastic coach who helped me to work through old patterns of keeping myself small and hidden so that I could show up and be seen to play my part in creating the more connected, curious and compassionate world that I dream of. Now, I’m passionate about helping quiet people discover their unique qualities, gifts, passions and experiences and explore how best to use these to express themselves more authentically and contribute to the world in a way that works with their quieter or more sensitive nature. Get to know me here.

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