-by Shalina Bell
Recently, I had the pleasure of being invited to a weekend getaway with my cousins to celebrate our cousin’s birthday – four days and three nights on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico.
This was a much-needed escape, one I knew I deserved and needed, yet all my brain heard was, “I’m going to need to wear a bathing suit.”
I only had a week to lose the quarantine ten pounds I gained. So after booking my flight, I researched anything and everything on how to lose weight in two weeks. I found an array of choices, from the lemon detox diet to intermittent fasting. The one recurring theme was the importance of cleaning out any waste in my stomach and how that can make us lose a pound or two and give the appearance of a flatter stomach.
The quick fix answer all over the internet and, well, social media seemed to be a detox tea or juice cleanse. I settled on a detox tea that would arrive within 24 hours.
Sure enough, it was at my door the very next day, and I was ready and committed. I prayed the pounds would disappear as fast.
Day 1: I drank that first cup fast AF. Again, I guess I figured the faster I drank, the faster the weight would fall off. My stomach felt disrespected, which meant it was working for me. Despite the tummy pains, I was all hands on deck. “I got this!” I thought to myself.
Day 2: I tried a different flavor of tea, something I thought would be a little easier on my stomach. I followed the instructions and had a cup before bed, but woke up in the middle of the night with labor pains minus the baby. Later that day, I took a trip to Trader Joe’s, and just as I was checking out, the labor pains came back. I’m pretty sure I left indents in my steering wheel from gripping so hard, trying to make it home without an accident. Thankfully, I made it home but almost left the kids in the car because I was running so fast.
Day 3: Well, I’ll be honest, as I began to heat the hot water, I realized I didn’t have it in me. I wasn’t ready to put my stomach (and my asshole) through World War III. I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal if I took one day off.
Day 4: I never made it to day four. I couldn’t come up with a reason to jump back into the stomach torture. “If the weight comes off, it comes off,” I told myself. The next three days would include an hour a day at the gym. That’s all I had in me.
On day one of the trip, the time had come to get ready to go to the beach. It was bathing suit time. My insecurities were screaming at me. I was mad at myself for not finishing the full week of teas. All of a sudden, that cool-ass “if the weight comes off, it comes off” confidence was gone. It was too late. The girls were waiting for me, and, well, the weight was still on.
However, once I was on the beach, I was met with a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t the only one with insecurities about my weight. In fact, almost everyone felt insecure about their beach bod.
I was relieved we could relate to one another’s feelings. The thinner girls longed for thicker thighs and bigger butts. The thicker girls dreamed of flat stomachs and washboard abs. The tall girls complained about finding bathing suits long enough for their torsos. The short girls yapped about why two pieces don’t work for them. Everyone felt the same, but we decided this beach would get whatever body we gave it!
Suddenly, I was able to stop worrying about how I looked and focus on the amazing memories I was creating with my family on this beautiful island.
I know too many of us relate to the struggle of losing weight and that nasty mental battle with the number on the scale. The importance and power we give that little number can be overwhelming. We tend to put so much pressure on ourselves and our appearance that we forget the importance of self-love, regardless of what the scale reads.
We often mistake the images we see on social media for reality, but it isn’t until you get in a room or on a beach with a group of real women that you are reminded everyone has struggled with body image at some point. It’s far more enjoyable to connect with other women on our flaws than to beat ourselves up (and our bodies) over our imperfections.
Ladies, next time, skip the tea, unless it’s a juicy convo with your bestie. This queen is officially tea’d out.