If you’re like us, that moment when you have to try on a swimsuit from last season, crossing your fingers that it still fits, is not always the best. This year, instead of thinking the worst about yourself and your body, let your bikini be a symbol of strength, acceptance and beauty, celebrating the unique shape, curves and imperfections that make you shine.
“I’ve stopped being my own toughest critic”
courtesy Christie Kylene
“In high school, I was pegged as anorexic because I couldn’t gain much weight, barely had any curves, and stood petite at 5-feet tall. It continued throughout my life: when interning at a corporate office in college, I returned from lunch with a slice of pizza on my desk adorned with the message: ‘You need this.’ I was already a painfully shy wallflower, and got used to shrinking into the background in every aspect of life—from work projects to relationships. Fast forward to my 30s, and after having gone through a transformational coaching/self-development program, I learned that I’ve been my harshest critic to date. The key is no one has the power to make you feel ‘different’ or ‘not enough’ unless you let them, so choose love and watch the right people, the right energy, and the right opportunities enter your life. You just have to be open to receiving the beauty around you and within you. That’s why posing in a bikini—after not even owning one after age 15—is empowering. I get to embrace my true self and be free of any judgement, including my very own.” —Christie Kylene. Are you your own worst critic? Here’s how to be kinder to yourself.
“I want women to know they can be muscular and feminine”
Courtesy Samantha Smitchko
“This photo is empowering to me because it shows that you can be a woman, have muscle, and still be beautiful and feminine. I have been training for seven years to get to where I am today. It took so much time, hard work, and dedication to reach this point, so every time I look at this photo it is a reminder of what I have been through to get here. And that makes me extremely proud.” —Samantha Dawn Smitchko. Here’s how to boost your confidence ASAP.
“There is no age limit on feeling great about yourself”
Courtesy James Eickman/GW Burns Photography
“For 28 years, I was a fitness instructor, but somewhere along the way of being a wife, mother, caretaker to my aging mom, and keeper of the books for our family business, I lost my mojo. I was exhausted, overweight, and feeling like less than a role model for the members who took my classes. The past two years have been an incredible journey. I have connected with women who inspire me and who have encouraged me to set goals and step outside of my comfort zone. This year I committed to the Team Fit Destination Photo Shoot in Sarasota, Florida. I followed our Team Fit workout and nutrition plan for 8 weeks and joined 40 other women down in Florida to celebrate our hard work in front of the camera. Our photographer, GW Burns, was amazing. He immediately put me at ease and I felt like a supermodel for the day! It was so empowering to transform from regular 49-year-old mom and grandma to almost a ‘pin up girl!’ This experience has changed me for the better. First it was about losing some weight, but then the journey evolved into being the best me I can be. I am healthier, fitter, and stronger than ever and best of all, comfortable in my own skin.” —Sarah Foster