Let’s stop hiding bodies

Today I saw a picture posted in social media of a girl about 12-years-old in a cute bikini. She was beautiful. She was having a great time. She had a belly and her thighs rubbed together. So what?

She had a belly that many people would question why she wasn’t wearing a one-piece swimsuit or at least a baggy t-shirt over her bathing suit. Why should she?

She had a body that some people would say was unfortunate, It stops her from actually being beautiful. You know, the old, “she has such a pretty face…..” The rest of the sentence goes on like this, “…it’s too bad she’s overweight,” or the rest of the sentence is left unsaid but the meaning remains the same.

Happy and confident is pretty. This is what we should be teaching our children, not the need to obsess over flat bellies and thigh gaps.

I looked at her and thought how wonderful it was that she was comfortable with her body. I thought it was great that she chose a suit she loved and wore it without any signs of self consciousness. She was young, but not that young. She was definitely old enough to hate her body because of how it looked, but she didn’t. She was old enough to have established a healthy body image that I hope she keeps for the rest of her life.

You might think that I work for Weight Watchers and blog about weight loss that I would wish she’d do something about her weight. Absolutely the wrong thing to think. I loved how free she was to have fun and enjoy the beach. I hate the thought that people will try to make her uncomfortable.

I don’t think she should get weighed at school and her BMI tracked on a growth chart. That is something that only her doctor should do. If there are concerns about her weight and its effect on her health, that too, is for her doctor to discuss with her and her parents.

My thought as I looked at this happy, beautiful girl was I wish everybody would stop covering up their perceived “imperfect bodies.” Their bodies aren’t imperfect and there’s no good reason to cover them up on the beach.

This isn’t gross; it’s normal. If we stopped hiding our bodies we would know that the images we see in magazines and on screens isn’t normal.

Our bodies are the containers that hold us. We shouldn’t be critical of our bodies or force them into unnatural shapes and sizes. We should enjoy them and care for them. If more people stopped hiding their bodies there would be less body shame and healthier people.

People take good care of the things they cherish and appreciate. What deserves care and appreciation more than your own body. Let’s stop hiding bodies because they don’t conform to some silly standard. Let’s appreciate bodies as the magnificent gift because it is.

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.