Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Swimsuit season

We're having a beautiful summer here in the Bay Area. Of course, we have no cold winters to contrast it with. But, comparisons aside, I'm really enjoying the weather. Going to the pool is especially appealing on days like this. But wait. That means exercising in public, and wearing something that exposes my shape and size in a way that street clothes don't. I think about how many women are deprived of the fun of exercise, especially exercise that involves swimsuits, because of the fear of exposing our bodies. I've definitely been there. A couple of things helped me get past it. One was going to a weekly swim that was for fat women only. It was a size acceptance event, so diet talk was not allowed. Eventually, I got so used to seeing strong, beautiful fat women in swimsuits, my own image in the mirror began to look strong and beautiful, too. (That swim is still happening on Sundays at the Albany Pool. It's called Making Waves.) It also helped to get a swimsuit that fit well and felt good. I even let go of my old preference for basic black (how many times have we been told that black is "slimming" and therefore best for us?), and invested some cash in a beautiful plus size suit from Junonia. Now I get to play and stretch and move in ways that could never happen for me on land. Each body is different, of course, but what I've learned about mine is that 1) gentle movement in water is healing for my weight bearing joints (which, on land, bear more weight than average), 2) being in water means there's less weight for those joints to bear, so my heart and lungs can get a thorough, pain-free workout, and 3) fat is extremely buoyant, so I can spin like an otter, jump like a frog, or literally "hang around" in the pool as much as I want. Max Airborne has created a great resource for finding fat-friendly places to swim in the Bay Area and elsewhere at

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