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Published August 15, 2013, 10:00 PM

Holt: Swimsuit an obstacle to beach time

I haven’t worn a swimsuit since 2004. Back then, I had two string(!) bikinis from Old Navy. Medium tops, small bottoms. Oh, to wear a medium anything …

By: Meredith Holt, INFORUM

I haven’t worn a swimsuit since 2004.

Back then, I had two string(!) bikinis from Old Navy. Medium tops, small bottoms. Oh, to wear a medium anything …

I was self-conscious wearing so little at a boyfriend’s outdoor pool, but remember thinking it was OK because I “had the body for it.”

Since gaining weight (a lot of weight), I quickly put away any beach-bunny notions.

I avoided all water-related activities except walking along the beach or sitting at the side of the pool. No swimsuit, no swimming, which is a little strange for someone who spent 20 years of her life on the coasts.

Like many situations, swimming was avoided so I didn’t have to face my fears.

That changed this summer. Slowly but surely I’ve become more comfortable with myself, no matter my size. And with that comes a willingness to try new things.

“You don’t like how you look? You’re worried about people judging you? Who cares! Do it anyway.”

My fiancé’s interest in having little adventures with me fuels it.

Tomorrow we’re catching a crack-of-dawn flight to Portland via Chicago to spend a week with my parents in Maine.

I want him to have the full “Vacationland” experience, which includes hiking, beach time and lots and lots of seafood.

This time, however, I want to leave the shore and get in the water.

To the swimsuit racks!

I started my quest with a trusted friend who’d been through the same thing and came out alive.

Trying on bathing suits was tortuous, but not in the ways I expected.

Instead of staring at my chub and flub, I cursed the “maximum control” fabric as it twisted into a giant rubber band.

I huffed and puffed angrily trying to get straps in their rightful place.

I sighed when suit after suit did not contain, um, everything, or gave me dreaded mono-boob.

If that wasn’t enough, most styles in my size and desired level of coverage (one level shy of “wetsuit”) were emblazoned with gaudy flowers or ’70s-palette paisley.

Luckily, I spotted a plain black-and-white swimsuit. Square neck with white trim and wide white straps, open back.

It wasn’t nearly as impossible to pull on as the others. And I didn’t look terrible in it. I even entertained pairing it with big sunglasses and a floppy hat.

Plus B&W will look good under the bold yellows and oranges I’ve been into this summer. Simplicity wins.

So I’ll get my big-girl beach time. No teeny bikini necessary.


Forum reporter Meredith Holt lost over 100 pounds between 2010 and 2012. She shares stories of her weight-loss journey in her column, which runs the first and third Friday of each month in SheSays. Readers can reach her at (701) 241-5590.

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