Self + Body

May 24, 2011

The Gaily’s guide to getting beach ready without feeling bad about yourself (now with more kittens)

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Written by: MAB
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If you’re anything like me, the long days make your thoughts turn to cottages and beaches and patios and scoping out that cute guy playing volleyball who you think might be making eye contact with you, but you’re not sure because he’s probably not looking at you and, you’re probably not in his league…uhh, I digress.

Where was I?  Oh yeah, if you’re anything like me, you suddenly realize that going outside usually requires some modicum of personal fitness. And then the thought of taking your shirt off in public triggers those uncomfortable feelings of panic and anxiety, and you run back to the safe confines of your bedroom.  I mean, you could wear your shirt into the pool/lake/mud-pit, but you don’t want to be THAT person again.  And besides:  Moisture + Cotton + Nipples = Chafing, and that’s an equation no one wants a part of.

You’ve had it blasted into your head by our friends at large in society that you’re less than perfect because you don’t meet some restrictive ideal of beauty.  So what’s a more-than-ideal-body weight person to do? Well, here are a few do’s and don’ts to help you on your way.

DO: See your family physician.


If it’s been a while since you’ve been to your doctor, or had any blood work done, now might be a good time for an annual physical.  You can discuss some of your concerns with your doc, and explain to them what you’re trying to achieve.  They can check to make sure that you’re in good enough health to follow certain exercise or nutritional plans, and can even offer some helpful advice.  Besides, it’s always good to get an annual reality check on your health.  Don’t have a family physician?  Then get one!  Contact your province’s College of Physicians and Surgeons or your provincial Ministry of Health.

DON’T: Follow the Devil wears Prada Diet


Emily Blunt’s character in the Devil Wears Prada proudly announces that her new diet consists of not eating anything, and if she gets faint, she eats a piece of cheese.  Numerous research studies have conclusively demonstrated that starving yourself wreaks havok on your body, both physically and mentally.  If you starve yourself, you’re only setting your body up to replenish its fat stores with a vengeance when you do start eating again.  There are better ways to get back into that swim suit.  Following a reasonable eating plan that includes fresh local produce from your local farmer’s market is an excellent way to get started!

DO: Exercise!


You know, you know.  You need to get out and do more exercise.  It’s something I struggle with every. single. day.  But exercise has been shown to not only improve your health and well being by lowering blood pressure, low-density lipoproteins (the bad cholesterol) while promoting high-density lipoproteins (the good cholesterol), and stave off a variety of conditions such as type-2 diabetes, but it has also been demonstrated to be the most effective way to get healthy, while providing a long term mood and energy boost.  And it doesn’t have to be complicated either.  A brisk thirty minute walk three-to-four times a week is all it takes to get you started, and then if you’re crazy (like I’ve decided I want to be), you can start a running program, like the Couch-to-Five-K plan.

DON’T: Succumb to low self-esteem.


No matter what anyone tells you, you are the source of your own happiness.  Body image issues are something that plagues the LGBTQ community.  Sometimes, the best thing to do is to give the middle finger to the world and tell them, “You know what, I’m awesome just the way I am, so (insert your favourite expletive here!) yourself!”  If you need some help finding your inner lesbian (because we all know lesbians are awesome at telling people off, amirite?), there are a number of support groups available out there to help you find yourself.  Check ’em out.  Your local LGBTQ centre may have just the thing you need.

DO: It!


Borrowing from some random shoe company, sometimes it’s just important to get out there and do it.  This is basically just a corollary from #4, but really, what isn’t derivative these days (insert witty reference to derivative indie band here)?  Go embrace the sun, sand and water, get some friends together for a hike, or picnic, or all-night-patio-session.  But most importantly of all, just get out there and try some new things.  Who knows, you may find out that you actually really love kayaking down treacherous rapids at speeds liable to break most of the bones in your body, right?

About the Author

|Health Contributor| I’m the one your mother warned about. At 29-years old I managed to slough off the golden handcuffs of the federal public service to pursue a life of poverty (read: M.Sc. in Epidemiology) at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine. I have a particular (academic) interest in sexually transmitted and blood borne infections. I enjoy planting my face in my kitties’ bellies and going *phtbpbptbpbtopbpt*, digital photography, cooking, and asking, “why?” Pet peeves include pseudoscience, wilful ignorance and bureaucratese. And before you ask, I’m sorry, I’m married. To a boy. *giggle*



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  1. Rachelle

    ZOMG, how cute are those kittens? Great advice as well, my struggle is the motivation to work out. I always find a way to procrastinate any form of exercise…

    • MAB

      Oh, I know. I want to surround myself with them! Thanks. The motivation is always the worst. Sometimes it’s as easy as just doing it, and other times, you have to fight that little pernicious voice in the back of your head that says, “Hey, dude, relax. It’s raining outside, or it’s 3 degrees too warm/cold, or man, it’s so much more comfy here watching reruns of Firefly. Why would you want to leave? We can go tomorrow. Totally. We’ll go tomorrow. Yeah, now go back to relaxing…”

      I found putting exercise into my day timer helped getting into a bit of a groove. All I started doing was a quick stroll (20 minutes!) three times a week. Now, I’m training for a 5k run! And trust me, that’s a major accomplishment for me, who hasn’t been active in just over a decade…

      Keep at it! It’s totally worth it, I swear. And really, there are only so many times you can watch Firefly…

  2. Stephane

    The kitties are so apropos, it’s nice. Very good advice, I’d add is my trainers would scoff at the idea that a brisk walk is exercise. Studies have shown to be a lot better than nothing, but it’s like doing only oil changes on a car. You can and should do better…
    I’d also add “Just do it!” is a good motto for before a workout, don’t agonize over what to do, how you’re feeling, just get started and the rest kinda just follows. (Do have a plan of what you are trying to achieve in the long run though).
    Also, even if you’re fat (or probably more accurately for a lot of people, think you are but aren’t really… I digress). Regardless of how you’re built it’s still a good idea to lift weights, and at least to me, a chubby person that’s been doing weights still looks a lot better than one that’s never touched ’em. It’s also a lot easier to lose weight if you have more muscles.

  3. So, for some reason, every time I look at this article and see “If you’re anything like me, the long days make your thoughts turn to cottages” in combination with the title about beach bodies, I keep reading “cottage cheese thighs”. WHY? WHY is that where my mind goes? Obviously we all know what my insecurities are….

  4. Ty

    Just revisited this.. omg. <3

  5. I came for the kittens; was not disappointed.

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