By Helene Fuller
60 is…having the confidence to wear a bikini, even if you don’t have JLo’s abs!
Helene, 52, from Australia explains why feeling bikini confident over fifty really isn’t about having a perfect body.
It was the beginning of November 2019 and as I walked into a gorgeous local swimwear store I was full of excitement!
In two days time I would be boarding a plane and flying to Canggu, Bali with a girlfriend for a nine day, women’s only luxury Yoga & Spa Retreat.
Nine days of sun, swimming, yoga, massages, relaxing and beautiful healthy food. It couldn’t get much better than that!
I spent an hour trying on heaps of different swimwear designs, and finally settled on five. Much to my surprise, three of those were bikinis!
Yep! 52 years old and I was about to spend my dollars on three new, gorgeous bikinis. And it felt amazing because for the first time I felt comfortable in my own skin.
The truth is I haven’t always been like that. No way. NOT at all!
For a large chunk of my life, I’ve been really self-conscious about my body shape. I know now that I had a distorted image of my body. I believed that my bum and legs were way bigger than they were…and that my body was so very different to most other women’s bodies.
My lack of body confidence probably started in High School when some of the boys there called me ‘the biggest arse in the class’ a few times. They even wrote it in my school Year Book. I never forgot that!
Even though, externally, I may have shown confidence in myself, internally I had created an almost ‘disconnect’ which included heaps of self loathing and resentment that I couldn’t wear, and look great in, tight jeans and short skirts and dresses like all the other girls I saw.
I’ve always had cellulite on my legs and bum, and that has increased as I’ve gotten older. So all of these things stopped me from feeling good about myself.
On previous beach holidays and even friends’ pool parties I had “tried” to wear bikinis but I made sure I had a ‘wrap’ or shorts on, or something to keep myself semi covered up and I’d avoid having to walk past people!
You’re probably wondering what changed for me and how I was suddenly confidently buying bikinis! What made the difference, and what was the magic formula that got me to a point where I’m confident, and happy, not just wearing, but walking around in a bikini at 52 years old?
Well…I hate to tell you this, but there is no ‘magic’ formula. I had to do the work.
It’s taken many years of learning to love myself, my body, and who I am as a woman. And it hasn’t just been about that. It’s also been about the choices I have made in my life, in all areas.
Five years ago I walked away from a very toxic relationship and made the decision to put my health and wellbeing first. Doing things every single day that feel good, and in turn, make me feel good about myself and my body.
I’ve become more and more confident and worry less and less what anyone else thinks. I’m now so much gentler with myself, and my body.
The funny thing is my body has been pretty much the same for most of my life. My weight has probably fluctuated over time give or take 5kg or so, apart from pregnancy and post pregnancy (I have two kids!)
Since approaching peri-menopause though my body has definitely become curvier and I have gradually put on a few additional kg’s. I’ve adjusted my nutrition and exercise every day which keeps me feeling good. So it’s my mind set that has changed, not my body.
My current partner Joe has helped me so much, just loving me for who I am. He’s my rock.
Helene finally feeling body confident in Bali.
When I arrived in Bali last year with my new bikinis on board I felt beautiful and confident. It was a game changer for me. The girlfriend that I went with is someone who I have known for 45 years. She loves me for who I am and is so, so supportive of me and everything I do. She is my cheerleader.
That was right when I started my new Instagram page - @ichoosehelene - which is focused on encouraging and supporting women to love themselves, especially midlife women!
I am trying to share what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown in a way that inspires other women. That’s the most important thing for me.
And something else I’ve done! I’ve stopped worrying about what other people think. Stopped believing that I ‘should’ be perfect – in the eyes of society around what IS seen as ‘perfect’.
The reality is that while I’m walking around in my bikini on the beach or around the pool, no one is even worried about what little old me is doing! Seriously…everyone else is too busy worrying about themselves!
So my advice to all of you is…if you have always dreamed of wearing a bikini – please, please just do it.
Embrace and love yourself. Be gentle and kind to yourself. I can guarantee that if your daughter or girlfriend was questioning whether they should wear a bikini, you would say OF COURSE!
So go ahead and say the same thing to yourself.
To be further inspired by Helene follow her on @ichoosehelene