Fat in a Swimsuit

Published January 1, 2011 by Fat Heffalump

Well, whaddya know.  Guess who fell into a big pile of self loathing in the past 24 hours.  Yup, you’re looking at her. (Ok smart arses, you’re READING her!)

Yes, it still happens.  As positive and as confident as I get, sometimes it just happens and there’s no rhyme or reason for it.  Yesterday, I wrote my previous post for the New Year’s Revolution, was feeling good, and spent considerable time posting body positive messages to my Tumblr until midnight rolled around and it was 2011.  I was feeling good.

But then, in preparation for going to the beach with my friend Kerri today, before I went to bed I decided to pull out my swimmers and pack my stuff up ready to go again.  I got a pair of new swimmers on sale the other day, so I planned to wear those.  I tried them on (I knew they’d fit, but I wanted to make sure the straps on the shoulders were the right length) and looked in my full length mirror… and it hit.

In hindsight, it’s because the top half of the swimsuit had NO bust support.  Which meant that my magnificent rack of doom had nowhere to go but down.  And it was uncomfortable, no – PAINFUL.  But instead of doing what I should have done, which is cursed out the manufacturers of a size 26 swimsuit, it became a spiral of self loathing.  I hated my breasts.  I hated my belly.  I hated my thighs.  I hated my back.  I hated my chin.

I agonised over that damn swimsuit and my body for a good hour.  Eventually I decided to put it away and wear my old swimsuit (which I only bought last year) which also doesn’t have adequate bust support in it, but I can wear a bra under that one and it isn’t visible.  I can at least know my back and chest aren’t going to hurt because I’m properly supported by a bra.

Just an aside, who the hell makes a size 26 swimsuit without adequate bust support and thinks that’s ok?  Who do they think is going to wear this?  Ok not every size 26 woman has big breasts, but wouldn’t it be better to have too much bust support than none at all?

Swimsuit designers, manufacturers and retailers, here is what I want.  I want a two piece swimsuit, the bottom half doesn’t matter that much, briefs, skirt, shorts… whatever, I prefer the shorts but will wear the others.  But the top half, I want a HALTER necked tankini style top, with fucking UNDERWIRE and proper adjustable halter-neck so that I can fit the damn thing properly, and not have my boobs dragging my back and shoulders and chest down.  I want one that has REAL support, like a proper bra, but is made of decent swimsuit fabric, in cute colours and prints, and I want you to put a reasonable price tag on it.  Not $300, but under $100.  If my size 12 friend with B cup tits can get this, why the fuck wouldn’t you be making it for people with bigger breasts?  SERIOUSLY.


Off to bed I went last night, feeling crappy.  I woke up feeling crappy.  Yes, in the midst of all the body positivity of the New Years Revolution campaign, all my talk about giving up dieting and self loathing and so on, it hit me.

Because it does.  It doesn’t just go away overnight.  It doesn’t go away at all really.  And no matter how immersed you are in fat acceptance, body positivity and surrounding activism, it still whomps you on the arse unexpectedly at times.  Some days you just can’t avoid it.

However, now that I’ve got through today, I think it’s a good thing that it happened to me when it did.  Because then I can share with all of you that it still happens, it still sucks… yet we survive.  We go on.  We keep going with this body positivity and fat acceptance stuff… because it really, truly does make it better.

Because of being part of fat acceptance, I was able to take a moment this morning, acknowledge that I felt crappy, and then consciously ask myself what I could do to try to make myself feel better.  The first thing for me is music.  I made sure I was armed with a couple of songs on my iPod that I know just lift my mood.  The second thing was to pop online and go through my Tumblr stream.  Sometimes, I need to hear those body positivity messages too.

Most importantly, I knew that the best thing I could do was put my damn swimsuit on (with bra on underneath), grab my stuff and get my arse out the door.

Kerri picked me up, I put my happy song on in her car, and I spent the day with my friend who makes me feel good about myself.  I went to the beach as planned, chucked off my sarong and went and got in the water.  I swam and fell over and laughed and got sand in places where sand should just not be, I swallowed great gobs of salt water, I talked with my amazing friend about life, the universe and everything, I let the power of the ocean take over and spent a good hour and a half being hammered about in warm salty water.  Then we went and got changed into comfy maxi dresses (I wore this one), headed up to Australia Fair, got a decent feed and wandered around the shops together.  I saw a dude who was so smoking hot that he took my breath away, our eyes met and we had a flirty moment.  Kez and I talked some more, laughed some more, shopped some more and then had a ridiculously flavoured coffee before heading home, salty, sandy, sunburnt and sleepy… but feeling great for having spent the day hanging out together.

When I hit the shower as soon as I got home, I realised I didn’t hate my body any more.  I was angry at the damn swimsuit manufacturers/designers/retailers for not providing me with adequately made swimsuits.

This is how it works my lovelies.  Through giving up the dieting and trying to change your body to something it is not, and focusing on caring for yourself, building up your self esteem, working through the tough bits, immersing yourself in positivity, surrounding yourself with people who build you up, not tear you down and living your life to it’s absolute fullest, you get through the bad times.  You learn to be able to put in place the strategies you need to get back on track.

But most importantly, you don’t miss out on all the good stuff, like spending the day at the beach with a dear friend, because you’re too filled with shame and self loathing to put on a damn swimsuit.

Now if you don’t mind, I’ve got to go shake more sand out of uncomfortable places.

38 comments on “Fat in a Swimsuit

  • Up until I bought a swimsuit from Junonia, I’ve never been able to find one that fit my rack of doom. The swimsuit I got from Junonia has a shelf bra in it, with molded cups, but unlike most swimsuits, this shelf bra extends all the way around and is made out of the same fabric as the swimsuit. It has plenty of support for my 52H bust, and that’s saying something. It’s a one-piece, and the price was reasonable, in my estimation ($108 US, IIRC), for the fact that it fit so well and actually looks good on me (it’s black and dark hot pink). I’ll never buy another swimsuit anywhere else.

    • Junonia are expensive and shipping is crippling to Australia. Plus I have to say, I’ve never met a shelf bra that has been able to hold up my rack of doom. I want underwire SO bad in a swimsuit!

  • Land’s End has swimsuit tops with underwire up to 26–the only one I could find. I tried Junonia didn’t work for me, though they have a large selection. It is ridiculous. I’ve also worn a bra under mine on occasion.

    • Land’s End has some cute things at nice prices, but surprise surprise, shipping starts at $42 to Australia. Makes it very expensive. This shouldn’t be an issue, we should all be able to buy what we need at reasonable prices LOCALLY!

  • I am glad that you carried on and didn’t miss out on a very happy day. We’re under 2+ feet of snow here in NJ, USA and the description of your fun day at the beach lifted my spirits. Being near or better yet, in the ocean, feeds my soul. Lucky you!!

  • It’s interesting what can send different people into the spiral. The great thing is, as you say, you did what you were worried about anyway.. I think it’s great that you can admit to these moments – because no one is ever perfect, no one’s FA journey is ever complete, and I think we all go through days like this.

  • Thanks for this excellent and honest post. I think it’s really important to hear that most of us, no matter how far along we are on the fat acceptance journey, have moments or days where the ‘fuglies’ rear up despite our best intentions. When they hit me, I tend to ask myself what else is going on and sure enough, find that I am feeling fragile about something else. And good on you for getting mad at the damn manufacturers – what you want in a swimsuit sounds perfectly reasonable! I recently went shopping for a swimsuit. Swimwear Galore in Melbourne (huge swimsuit place) had a pathetic range for size 18 and over. Alisi swimsuits, supposedly designed for women size 12 and up, had gorgeous tankinis in size 18-22 but with absolutely no bust support in them – madness!

  • it’s probably really expensive to ship these to Aus, but bravissimio.co.uk has an amazing collection of swimsuits up to a K cup (British sizing), I believe.

  • So glad to hear that you got over that bump and went and had a great time! I am so jealous that you get to enjoy warm sunny beaches at New Years time 🙂

    I have no idea what swimsuit companies are local to you, but maybe this would be something to take to them? Sounds like a new product line waiting to happen…

    • G there was no sun to be had yesterday. It drizzled on us the whole time. But yes, it was warm, and the water was delicious, and we figured we’re getting wet anyway, what’s a bit of drizzle!

      I think you’re right – time to talk to if nothing else, the chain retailers I’ve been campaigning with for Plus Sizes-Plus!

  • What a niche market waiting for an entreprenuierial spirit to market to – glad I was there to help you reverse the spiral, it was a great day (despite the sunburn) and i will happily facilitate the water baby (you) to have a regular fix, its something i really enjoy and i can communicate easily with you sans hearing aids compared with other people – Viva la ocean and beach!
    Great post too xx

    • Kez, I’m probably the only person that will just prattle on anyway whether you can hear me or not, LOL! Cos you know, no ability to pick up on subtle queues at all. Until you say “I can’t hear you!” I just keep going. But of course being loud has it’s advantages.

      Looking forward to our next trip, and Toots is in to come along for that one too.

  • I bought some swim fabric shorts and a top from Autograph when they had 50% off. I haven’t tried it yet (will when we go away camping in a few weeks) and I will let you know what I think of it when I get back. I agree about needing boob support though. I can’t do halter necks though, they really make my neck ache.

    • The shorts are great in both my pairs of Autograph togs. Particularly the cornflower blue ones I ended up wearing on Saturday – they’re cute and comfy and practical. The top would be fantastic just if it had some decent bust support built into it.

      I’ve heard that from other people about halter necks, they don’t seem to bother me though.

  • We’re supposed to be having a day at the beach tomorrow, but the forecast isn’t looking too promising and my 9 year old threw up twice today. *sigh*

    It’s the doing it anyway that does the trick isn’t it? You discover that it is OK and it is worth the effort and then you get mad about the rest of the world telling you not to get out there and have fun.

      • Sadly no, it’s been grey and raining and quite cool here today. But at least the sick kid isn’t – he’s perfectly fine. We’ve just got back from Chinese for dinner and his appetite was as robust as ever.

  • Thank you for showing that everyone is on this journey and we may have to recoup and wallow in our vulnerabilities from time to time, but we dust ourselves off and get right back on course! Damn so I hate swimsuit manufacturers! My rack-of-doom does, too! Ha! Glad to have you in my life, Kath!

  • BEAUTIFUL post. Thank you. AND, I LOVE that sundress! You look great in it! Happy, and energetic, and ready for fun.

  • Thank you for your honesty Kath. I think we’ve all been there with the fear-of-bathers thing! Each year we go to the beach with my in-laws, and I admit it’s one time I do feel really self-conscious. They’re both always ‘watching their weight’ and I feel like they must judge me, although they don’t say anything. Anyway, it’s been tempting to just not swim when I go down there but FA — and also a post that mimbles wrote about swimming with her kids — has really encouraged me to enjoy the beach more. Especially now that I have my daughter, I would hate to miss swimming with her because I was self-conscious, or worse, to model body-loathing behaviour for her.

    Incidentally, I recently bought new bathers at Myer. Their bust support pretty good — but they only go up to a size 22 and I just squeezed into them. It’s so ridiculous — the racks were full of the size 16s in every colour but I had to hunt through to find one 22 in boring black and white. Obviously the demand is there for colourful bathers in larger sizes!! And yet, they don’t stock enough. And they don’t stock them at all in sizes 24+, for some really bizarre reason — Myer usually stock at least to a 26 in their plus ranges so it just seems doubly unfair. Makes me absolutely livid. Oh, and for underwires — I don’t know if they have them this season but I used to have a Sara swimsuit with good underwire cups. I’m not sure what size they stock up to though, and Sara sizes run really small, so again, it’s not helpful for many, many people. I notice Autograph are selling rash tops now, one of those with a bra underneath would be comfy and practical (but not very stylish). Sigh. We really need to either fix the exorbitant shipping costs or get some decent retailers here to sort this out. We fatties love to swim too!

    • I couldn’t bear to wear a rash top while swimming. I get kind of freaked out by anything on my arms, it feels like it’s pulling me under.

      Thankfully my older swimsuit covers a bra.

  • Great post! Thanks for sharing so openly about what happened (and seriously – why do people make swimsuits in a size 26 with no bust support? I have a really cute shirt that has a “shelf bra” that consist of a piece of stretchy fabric that doesn’t even cover my boobs. Dude). But I digress. You are making a beautiful point about working through the tough bits – to me Body Positivity doesn’t mean that you never have a difficult time, it just means that you find a way to work through a difficult time without pretending that it will be solved by trying (and failing) to make your body smaller (again).


    • Thanks Ragen. I believe by talking about those wobbly moments, where our self confidence leaves us, we’re making sure that everyone that reads knows that they’re not alone. Not to mention the fact that there is no shame in having wobbly moments either!

  • Why do we feel bad or guilty for wanting to put a swimsuit on? Yes I am a big girl and I should be proud of it. This is who I am. I am not fake or plastic. Why do others feel it is ok to laugh, point and giggle at us? I am 38 and have not worn shorts in years. I have 3 children and I don’t want to be in pictures with them because of who might see ME in the photos. Let’s talk about the high school reunion…. There is no way I would ever show my face. Why? Because I am fat. The reunion….it is a fashion show and how much money you have. They will not look at me for what I am and what I have accomplished in life. So why even go. So, I just want to thank you for your post. I am going to put shorts on this summer when we go on vacation and I am going to be in pictures with my kids…even if it kills me inside.

    • Welcome big momma. We’re the same age but I haven’t got the kids. My 20 year school reunion was last year, but I chose not to go. Not because I didn’t meet some kind of standards, but because I simply don’t like those people. I don’t like that fashion and money are more important to them than who a person is, how happy they are and what they’ve done with their lives. I don’t like that most of them wouldn’t have pissed on me if I was on fire 20 years ago, but now they’re all clamouring to be my “friend”. Don’t feel bad about opting out, it’s probably a wise decision.

      You are perfectly fine, as you are, right now. You deserve to put on shorts or a swimsuit and have fun with your family while you’re on holidays (or just whenever you want!) Don’t apologise for your size – it’s your body and if anyone wants to be judgey about it, that’s THEIR problem, not yours.

      Big fat hugs!

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