30,000-39,999 SparkPoints 39,123

How can I wear a bathing suit when I am fat?

Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I have had numerous comments and questions about the bathing suit issue. So many of you have asked me how I can be brave enough to wear a bathing suit at my weight. Others have told me they could never do it. Some people have told me how much they wish they could do it, but they can't because of how they look.

I am in the (bottom of the) morbidly obese category. Three times a week I go to the community center of my town and get into the pool. It is not hard.

The suit I have is in three pieces. It has a tankini top that I tuck into boy shorts. Under the shorts is a tummy control brief that may not do any good, but it makes me feel better not to be jiggling around so much. It cost about $45 for all the pieces at Target this year.

I would like to look better in this bathing suit, or any bathing suit, but I don’t. But more importantly, I want to feel better and be able to do more things and not be in pain. One way to do that is to take my overweight self to the pool and do the arthritis swim class. I’m a work in progress, and I can’t progress unless I work it.

Do I worry about what the other people at the pool think when they see me in a bathing suit?


No one cares.


The hot guys and girls swimming laps don’t even see me. I am off their radar screen. The others in my swim class are as grateful as I am to be in the pool and not in pain that none of us cares what the other looks like. The people in the Water Aerobics class before me come in all shapes and sizes, leaning towards the large.

If I have to worry about teenagers being grossed out, then I'm done for. But guess what. They are very self involved, and don't care about me anyway.

I live in Southern California. It is a very thin and beautiful place. I could worry about a lot of things.

-My hair is not streaked and flowing (and there’s some grey).
-My teeth are not blindingly white.
-I have a double chin.
-I don’t have a cool car.
-I don’t have designer clothes, sunglasses or purses.

Time will pass if you get in the pool or not. You are missing out on so much if you don't do this. One of my cherished memories is my time in Mom and Tot swim class with my 1 year old son. I have one photo of that time. An overweight friend saw it and said, "How could you have done that?" I say, "Thank God that I did that".

I was worrying about the really ugly sun hat I wear during class. It is so ugly I can’t even describe it. This was the only hat that was a remote possibility for me. I was in a huge rush to get the suit, flip flops and the hat before the class started in April. I have to have a hat because I will fry under that California sun as my head bobs along during class. But this thing is just horrendous, and I was feeling kind of bad about it.

Recently, I was re-packing my bag for the pool and I popped the hat on to show my now 16 year old son. He said, “Oh my God, Mom. That’s the coolest hat ever. I can’t believe you’re wearing that to the pool”.

Please don’t worry about what you look like when you work out. Just put your blinders and your determination on. You can do this. You will feel so much better working out than you do worrying about how you might look if you did work out.
Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I agree with you 110%! I avoided going to a gym for years because I was certain I'd be the fattest guy there. About 4 months ago, after being read the riot act by my doctor, I finally got the courage to join a program called "Healthy Start" at a local gym -- designed for people who were just beginning an exercise program and needed a lot of guidance. I was relieved to find that there were people of all ages, sizes, abilities and levels of fitness there and NO ONE cared what I looked like or how long it took me to do a set of exercises.

    Since then I've actually come to enjoy my visits to the gym and have discovered, to my delight, that there are actually muscles underneath all my flab and they are responding to the exercise. I'll never be on the cover of "Men's Fitness" but I'm stronger and feel better than I have in many years. I regret my self-consciousness kept me from doing this years ago.
    2822 days ago
    Great insight and attitude! I struggle to wear shorts right now.
    2822 days ago
    Hmm, perhaps better worrying what we will miss if we keep thinking what others think about our appearance. Good reading!
    2822 days ago
    I love it. Do what you gotta do for you, and don't worry about the rest. When it comes to you and your health, other people's potential negative opinions shouldn't matter.

    I sure hope everyone on SparkPeople and beyond get a chance to read this. You have the right mindset, and people should catch on to it like fire. That not only applies to weight, but to other areas in life as well. Don't let others hold you back. :-)

    Love It ... Love It ... Love It ...

    2822 days ago
  • EWILS1
    I too have joined a water aerobics class just recently. I was at first worried about how I would look in a bathing suit. But all the other ladies really don't care. They are all there for their reasons. whether to lose weight, work on injuries, or just enjoy the class.

    Frankly my goal is to strengthen my hips (because I have problems when I walk, which is my main goal to exercise right now) plus adding this class is also exercise. I love it!!! Frankly it does not bother me now. I have a goal and I am sticking to it.
    2822 days ago
    What a great attitude! I have come to that conclusion the last few years. If you spend ANY TIME on the beach, you realize that people get out there in any shape. The truth is, most of the time when we worry about what people are thinking of us, THEY AREN'T! emoticon
    2822 days ago
    I do not have access to a pool near my home, but I would love to be
    able to take some water aerobic classes. The few times I have been swimming in the last year, I did wear my "fat lady" bathing suit . I am certainly horrified by the way I look in a bathing suit and it is very hard to walk out of the dressing room and head to the pool. I know that is what keeps me from enjoying swimming as much as i should. I grew up on the Gulf coast and I lived in a bathing suit. I always looked fantastic ( I didn't get my weight problem until well into my late twenties, early thirties.) I was a into gymnastics and cheerleading as well as just being super active when I was younger. I ate anything i wanted without a care. Then suddenly I slowed down and so did my metabolism! Anyway, you certainly inspire me to get out there and try to forget about what i believe people are thinking about me and get myself back into the pool. You are great, thanks for being your beautiful self!!!! emoticon
    2822 days ago
    Thank you for sharing your experience! I LOVE IT! I don't really think TOO much about what others think of me anyway, but there are certain times when I'm a little sensitive. I thank you for sharing because we can all use a little boost! Also thank you for reminding me I need to check into water aerobics locally! I love it, just haven't had the time/money to do it... emoticon
    2822 days ago
    Good for you. I too, have had problems with getting in a swimming suit and going in public. This year we bought a pool membership and I have enjoyed it sooooo much! I love being in the water with my kids and husband...with or without other people around.
    Grateful for your message!
    2822 days ago
  • NICK11951
    I am with you sister!! I'm the only overweight person in my karate class. I feel like I would be missing out on so much if I hide myself away. I don't want to miss living life. I'm working on the things that I don't feel 100% comfortable about and enjoying myself every step of the way.
    2822 days ago
  • RITTA@49
    Thank you so much I to am having problems getting into the pool because of my size but reading this has help me to see that size does not matter what matter the most is that I get into the pool because I love to swim. Thank you so much.
    2822 days ago
  • LYNNIE121
    LOVE this!!!! Everyone workingout in the pool is THRILLED when they see EVERYONE who works out in the pool...honest. Thank you for sharing from your heart. emoticon
    2822 days ago
  • KAY3301
    I love you comments about heavy people doing the pool. Last year I started doing pool execise at my friend's apt. pool. At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to be seen in my big bathing suit but I needed to lose some weight and the pool is great for my joints. I lose 40 lbs last year and the pool help to reach that goal. This summer I still have a long ways to go but everyone is so nice and I have meet some new friends.
    Don't ever let fear stop you for doing something that you love and will have you be a better heathly people.
    2822 days ago
    I love your attitude! It's a great feeling to be floating in the water and I wish we had an Water Aerobics class in Puerto Rico! emoticon
    2822 days ago
  • JLOWE403
    Your attitude makes me feel more comfortable about getting into a bathing suit. This has always been an issue with me (even when I was thin). I know it will still be a struggle but I do feel a little better. Thank you for being such an inspiration!
    2822 days ago
    Good for You !!!
    So great to read your blog and put it out there for all...tell it like it is.

    At almost 400#s I can't buy my swimsuits at Target and at almost 6' tall a tankini would look like a tube top on me but still I own three swimsuits. Whether they are 2 pieces or one, they all have a short a-line dress look to them. I always try to get bright colors that cheer me.

    I know many, many people at sizes in the 1 digit range that are too insecure to wear a bathing suit of any kind and I feel so sorry for them. I figure that if someone sees me as gross that is their issue. Their second thought might be "but at least she is here doing something about it."

    I go to the pool 2-3 times a week for a range of motion class that works out all the joints of my body. Opens them up. Then after class I do some water walking or other exercises because I feel SO good. NEVER am I motivated to do exercises on land. Only in the pool can I feel unrestricted by my weight and released from severe chronic pain.

    I wouldn't let anyone's opinion rob me of my pool time.

    2822 days ago
  • MMULLIN1966
    You are a beautiful person and an inspiration!!!
    2822 days ago
    Great blog...helped me realize that I like me for me..thanks for the boost in confidence
    2822 days ago
  • LICIA119
    Wonderful blog. It was the first step for me, not caring what others think when Im working out. Thanks for posting!
    2822 days ago
    This made me happy and I will be hauling my fat ass to our pool this afternoon. I told my kids not to worry about what stupid teenagers said when they were in school, but I have been letting the comments from a few rude kids (whom I don't like, and whose parents I consider less than prime examples of parenting) intimidate me into avoiding our community pool. No more. If they have issues with me, it is their problem, and not mine. I owe it to myself to take advantage of the days of sun here in Pittsburgh and get healthier. Thank you a million times over for this blog post! You are my new hero! emoticon
    2822 days ago
    aaah...your insight is as refreshing as a dip in the pool!
    I began water exercise a few months ago for my fybromyalgia and just getting to the gym and into the pool was the hardest part but fortunately the ladies there were so welcoming that it was comfortable to be there
    2822 days ago
    I just saw this today when it appeared in my email.

    What you say is so true! If I worry about how you look in a bathing suit and use that as an excuse not to go to the pool, I'm cheating myself out of the opportunity to look and feel better. Who will be the loser in this equation? Only me, because, as you pointed out, most of the people I'm worried about are likely not even aware of my existence.

    I also find that there are all sizes and shapes of people in classes and doing laps at my local Y and that is as it should be, in my view.

    Thanks for posting.
    2822 days ago
  • LDCOLE85297
    This is awesome thank you so much for sharing. You are so right. My kids are now grown and parents themselves and I am so saddened by the fact that there are VERY few photos of me and my kids, I was always taking the pictures because I was too fat to be in the picture. Now I realize that no one cares how fat I was, they just want to be able to look back and see photos of their Mom or wife or sister, ect... So now even though I am not the size I want to be I make sure to give the camera to other people so that I too will be in the pictures with my kids and now my grandbabies. emoticon
    2822 days ago
    Bless your heart for sharing this encouraging post!!! I have recently begun Water Physio for a problem back, and have had to adopt the same attitude, and know what? It works!! And I love the water as well.

    Keep on keeping on, woman! You ROCK! emoticon
    2822 days ago
    I just started working out even though I should have been working out since my Jan 09 heart surgery.

    I've been ignoring my sparkpeople emails for quite some time, but you caught my eye with : "I'm a work in progress, and I can't progress unless I work it."

    That is so great!

    I know the post was sort of about a different theme, but you've inspired me for the week. Thank you!

    2822 days ago
    What an absolutely amazing blog. I can't tell you how great it really is. You hit on so many important points. LOVED It. If you want to workout, swim in a pool, go to a gym do it........Your body will change over time, and you will feel great. Instead of thinking about how you look right now focus on how good working out makes you feel, how hard you have been working and how much you are trying. That is what is important. Swimming is a GREAT way to workout. No stress on joints and it burns alot of calories. When I see people who are overweight doing active things it makes me smile. I say to myself that person is trying to live healthy and active. I am proud of people when I see that. No shame should be involved when you want to go to a pool.
    2822 days ago
    I have recently been lacking motivation to work out at all because my weight. I have been feeling like a failure for all the weight I have gained back after previously loosing it and not wanting to work out because I would once again just end up here. Thanks for your article. It really helped me realize that I'm here, I look like this and will continue to unless I get out and moving. Most importantly, it reminded me that when I originally lost the weight, it wasn't the change in physical appearance that I like the most, but how energized and great I felt! Thanks so much you are an inspiration!
    2822 days ago
    Thank you for posting this. There are days I don't work out because I hate the way I look and I cannot fit into my fitness clothes. I think I am so gross but nobody else notices.
    2822 days ago
    Good for you! You are truly an inspiration to me.
    2823 days ago
  • LINDAE12
    I usually end up wearing a T-shirt over my suit,as much to protect me from the sun as to hide my body. But you're right, people come in all different sizes, and fat or skinny, noone has the perfect figure. I would think 9 out of 10 women are self conscious with the way they look in a bathing suit. We are just more so.
    2823 days ago
    I am also in the obese category... I hate the way I look in a bathing suit too. My son is overweight and really self- concience. I told him that no one really cares "how" you look. They are too worried about how "they" look to care. He thought about it and then laughed. I refuse to let my fears or negative thouhts ruin my life... I trudge on. Recently, I bought a few "diet" items... journal to keep track of food, the weight watcher points calculator. My obese husband, rolled his eyes and was going to say lots of negative things to me. I stopped him cold... I consider all of my "failures" learning experiences I said to him. I also added perhaps my weight would have been 50lbs higher if not for all of my failed attempts... maybe I am successful at not being bigger. Attitude is EVERYTHING!
    2823 days ago
  • MOOGIE10
    I can't even think of the number of memories I missed out on because my eyes were on myself. I am so proud and happy you went for it! I really was blessed by your example. Thank you!
    2823 days ago
    Read this article just after I ordered a very large swimsuit (Making It Big) catalog sale. In fact, I am having it sent to the motel where we are going next week in ME. The pool has a ramp, so I was able to wheel in on my rollator last year. Last year had to make do with batik top and shorts. I will take this article with me as I wear my new suit. (I just hope it fits.)
    2823 days ago
    2823 days ago
    I put on my blinders. I'm not social at all when I'm working out at the gym. The only time I'm social is when I'm at Jazzercise.
    2823 days ago
    Hahahahahahaha... that's right, NO BODY CARES!


    and anyone who does, and is rude enough to giggle or comment, won't care in another 30 seconds... and F them, anyway. ;)

    Who cares? No body cares.

    and, the world keeps on spinning, so do what YOU want. :)

    Great post!

    2823 days ago
    You said it all--no one cares what you look like when you go to a swimming aerobics class. We have had ladies wear shorts and t-shirt cause they didn't want to wear a bathing suit. I found one that covers me up and is modest. It is one of the best classes you can take, easy on the joints, and you really burn some calories too. You go girl and be proud!! I am right with you about not caring. As long as I am ok with me, it's ok. ((HUGS)) Linda Kay
    2823 days ago
    Thank you, just what I needed to read today!
    2823 days ago
    That was amazing. Thank you so much for keeping things in perspective, and in the pool!!!
    2823 days ago
    I used to only wear uncomfortable ill-fitting black one piece suits on the theory that it makes one appear thinner . The notion that confidence was the best accessory at the beach was ludicris. Eventually, I found a brightly colored 2 piece that I loved at a deep discount and thought why not? I got tons of compliments on the cheerful ensemble and not a single comment on how my belly stuck out or my thighs were too big. I've never looked back and have added dozens of bright suits to the bathing suit drawer since then in spite of being more than a few pounds overweight...feeling happy and comfortable really are key to a good day at the pool. Great article!
    2823 days ago
  • SUGGLE74
    always love yourself. you are the most inpotant in your life.
    2823 days ago
    I am so proud of you !!!!!! First of all I can't swim and getting in a pool is not something that I am doing alot. As for being over weight and putting on a bathing suit in public is a hard thing for me to do. I don't like how I look and then I am worried about how other people think about me. My friend told me that I am not 17 anymore and don't have to look great like I did when I was a teenager. He said that I am a sweet person and that should be my most important point. It still is hard for me. I know that alot of people in todays society are over wieght and I am one of them, but that still does not make it okay for me. I am struggling with my weight and have to lose 65 pounds to be at my desired weight.
    2823 days ago
    I loved this! What a great way to show strength and give others the right attitude! Thanks so much for putting everything in perspective...You are a true inspiration!
    2823 days ago
    So true! I'm so glad you wrote this blog. Ages ago, at 130 pounds, I thought I was too fat to wear a bathing suit. I also worried about spider veins. Then I was diagnosed with stage 3 thyroid cancer. That's when I realized life if too short and too precious to worry about what other people MIGHT think about me.

    Thanks again for a great post!

    2823 days ago
    Thank you so very much for posting this blog. I also am bottom morbidly obese. I have MS and I use a battery electric bike which i can pedal and when i am tired I can just ride. There hasn't been one time in the ten yrs since i had my final main attack, therefore, haven't been able to drive since and never will, where I do not get harassed at by name calling, rude comments, etc. It always breaks my spirit. If I can get rid of the 150lbs would help me move differently/better and after reading your blog and a few others like yours, I know I can do it and hold my head up high. Thank you. emoticon
    2823 days ago
    That is so true! :)

    What an inspiration!
    2823 days ago
  • EEYORE80110
    I read your blog regarding being heavy and wearing a swimsuit and all I can say is AMEN SISTER! I am a 5'4' woman weighing an average around 300 due to thyroid issues. I go swimming as much as I possilby can. Do I care what other's think I look like??? Heck no! If they don't like it they don't have to look. The fact is that I am active and trying to stay healthy, I am beautiful in my own right just as all women are. Our weight does not define us! So swim on sister and for all those who lack the self confidence to wear one, stop and take a look in the mirror, focus on one part of your body that you admire and say to yourself "I'm beautiful and anyone that doesn't agree can bite my big butt!" And PS~ those HOT men out there, don't always like those skinny women! I know, my fiance is hot, and amazing and most of all loves me for exactly who I am! And he's even seen me in my swimming suit! HA! Confidence ladies. You all deserve it!
    2823 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/31/2010 4:02:30 PM
  • WOODY48
    Great post. So true and motivating.
    2823 days ago
    How wonderful!
    2823 days ago
    I live near the beach, and I like the fact that (in publc)
    there is always someone bigger than me, and most often dressed
    inappropriately for their weight. I feel much better then.
    2823 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment
    Member Comments Page (1853 total):  << First < Previous 2 3 4 5 6 Next > Last >>

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.