Do not, I repeat, DO NOT look at vacation photos until you’ve returned home and you’re sitting on the couch wearing pants with an elastic waistband. In fact, wait until January 1st or 2nd to look at your travel photos, even if you went out of town in July. It’ll be leggin’ and elastic-waist pant season and many gyms will have New Year specials at this time. By following these guidelines you’ll be in a better place, mentally speaking, when you see your bare flesh, with the 2 pm sun shining down on it, making your pale undefined thighs look even whiter than they are. You may truly mistake yourself for a ghost on the beach until you remember that in almost every horror film you ever saw ghosts can’t appear in pictures.
I reviewed a photo my boyfriend took of me on the beach minutes after it was taken. If you’re like me, in this photo all you’d focus on is your body. All of a sudden the clear blue Caribbean water became a polluted canal. The Pina Colada on the little bamboo table tasted like a slushy from 7-11. And the palm trees might blowing in the wind looked like roots. I immediately forgot about the joy I felt minutes earlier when I was walking in the ocean.
Most days I usually feel okay about my body. Sometimes I feel great about it. I work out a little bit to try to stay healthy but don’t participate in Cross-Fit or other extreme workouts because I’m not an Olympian and don’t think I’ll have to fight in a Gladiator Pit anytime soon. However, after seeing myself in a bathing suit from such an objective distance, it truly dampered the rest of my vacation a little bit. I tried to forget about the fact that my body did not look exactly as I had wanted it to, that my weight was still okay. However, every time I ordered another drink or Calamari, I felt a bit guilty. These thoughts were probably good on the budget since I really did start to drink and eat less the last 48 hours of my vacation in the British Virgin Islands.
I still had an amazing time on my vacation my with my loving boyfriend, who accepted my weight and loved me for me, but weight obsessed thoughts were always in the back of my mind the rest of this trip.
I’m convinced, though, that if I had waited until the cold, snowy, post-holiday season, these photos would have still upset me, but not as much. I probably would have been able to focus on the beauty of the beach and how warm and clear the water was. I’d probably go out and buy some Pina Colada or Daquri mix and throw myself a little tropical party. I’d think, hmm, I don’t look like a swimsuit model in this photo, but that’s okay, I have time to exercise and define my thighs. I’d even book a trip to the beach in the spring and have a whole new goal to work on for the new year.