Love the skin you’re in

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By Madison Swart

As we approach summer, we all know the looming stress of attaining a ‘beach bod’. The pressure we put on ourselves, the pressure created from that girl from high school who was always a little posting her ‘transformation Tuesday’ and looking like a flippin VS model. We all know it. We all hate it. And I have news for you – YOU’RE ALLOWED TO IGNORE IT!

shells-792912_640So for today, I have put together a list of my top 6 favorite blogs you can follow/read this Spring and Summer to help remind you that YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL – Cellulite and all.

So this Summer, wear that bikini. Lay out on the quad. Own your body, and know that there are those of us out here who will support you and love you no matter what size shorts you wear.

  1. Stop Hating Your Body By talking about self-love, this blog encourages readers to discuss body image issues related to size, gender, and sexual orientation. Followers are allowed to post their own content, given it follows the guidelines that have been set to maintain a safe space. The blog is described as “Healthy, not healthy, working on it, abled, disabled, we are all human, we all deserve to be happy, we all deserve to love ourselves.”
  2. Fat Girl Food Squad 
 This Toronto-based blog focuses on body positivity by talking about the intersection between food, fat, and feminism. Amanda and Yuli started the blog after feeling alienated by their size at PR events. You can also find IRL meetups regularly through their online community they have built!
  3. The Militant Baker Jes’ blog took off in 2013 after she recreated Abercrombie & Fitch’s ads with the tagline ‘Attractive and Fat’ after their CEO made some crude and unwelcome comments saying that A&F didn’t make XL clothes because he “doesn’t want larger people shopping in the store.” The Militant Baker has more than 500,000 views a month, and focuses on topics from body acceptance, and rape culture to feminism and empowerment.
  4. The Love Yourself Challenge 
Scotty and Rae are a brother and sister duo who create original image content (inspired by their own experiences) with the goal of challenging young people to learn to be comfortable in their own skin by offering them positive and encouraging messages. Rae even shares her story.
  5. Weightless PsychCentral‘s body image blog focuses on wellbeing through a personal, relatable lens.
 The blog is written by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S., who interviews experts, features recovery stories and provides real and honest feedback for women’s magazines when they host harmful health advice for their readers.
  6. REglam Blog REglam is a fashion magazine aiming to change the conversation around the industry, focusing on real women of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. Its blog comments on a variety of body image issues.

    0E6FCA243E254133B5E305EC6D7825C5About the Author: Madison is the Founder and President of the Ohio State University Chapter of Project HEAL! She is a senior majoring in Social Work and Psychology currently working as an addiction counselor for The Ohio State University Student Wellness Center. After graduating in May, Madison plans to stay involved with Project HEAL while pursuing a career in Social Work, hoping to help individuals struggling with mental health struggles. Madison runs a blog,, and paints in her free time.

My Beach Body

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tumblr_mmkbyfMMoN1qg6ez3o1_500-460x507By: Sarah Van De Weert

I think that every woman on the planet dreads summer for one reason, and one reason only–swimsuit season. Every woman that I have met, regardless of her level of body acceptance, has some insecurities arise when it comes time to shed her clothes and don a swimsuit to head to the beach or the pool for the day.

As summer begins, more and more women are headed off to stores in search of the perfect swimsuit, the one that will hug their curves in all the right places, that will hide each and every flaw, that will erase all insecurities they have about their bodies. Upon arriving at the store, each woman is in turn disappointed by the fact that no such swimsuit exists, and usually, whether or not a bathing suit is purchased that day, every woman will leave feeling horrible about her body because it doesn’t look attractive in a swimsuit.

This happens to women (and men, too, probably, although I can’t speak from personal experience there) regardless of if they have a history of eating disorders and body image issues.

Society as a whole puts so much pressure on women to have the perfect beach body. From the first of January, almost every woman’s magazine is filled with tips on how to lose weight and get in shape for summer. Tabloids like to point out the stars who have the best and worst beach bodies. Even the fashion industry adds to this idea of looking perfect in a swimsuit, adding things like ‘tummy control’ and more padding so women’s breasts look bigger (not to mention the majority of swimsuits are designed for attractiveness and functionality practically goes out the window).

Every year for many years, I have spent my time in bathing suits feeling self-conscious and insecure because I thought I did not have a beach body. Most days, I wore a one-piece because I wanted to avoid being judged for my stomach. I have never been able to enjoy any time spent in and around the pool or the ocean because I was too busy comparing myself to this perfect beach body ideal and counting all the ways that I did not measure up.

If I was uncomfortable in years past, I am more so this year. I am more insecure than ever right now, having just been weight restored. But I’m not letting my bathing suit insecurities get in the way of enjoying my summer, and it’s not because I have suddenly decided to love my body unconditionally (I’m still far from that!). It’s because I am refusing to believe the lies fed to me by society that tells me I have to look a certain way in order to be accepted in my swimsuit.

There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to look when wearing a bathing suit. There is no perfect bikini body, no rules about who can wear a two-piece and who must always wear a one-piece, and definitely no requirement of needing to be sexy and beautiful to wear a swimsuit at all.

All of us are born with beach and bikini ready bodies… All that is necessary is to put a bikini on our bodies and take ourselves to the beach!

The Summer I Decided To Stop Hating My Body

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cece1By: Cece Olisa (re-published from Refinery29)

One summer day, I spent 40 minutes struggling to get dressed. It took me one minute to choose the perfect maxi dress, and 39 minutes to find a cardigan that would cover my arms without making me melt in the summer heat. Turns out, there is no such thing.

Sitting on the subway, I caught a reflection of myself in the window. Everyone around me was wearing shorts, tanks, and sundresses, and there I was looking like I was waiting for snow to fall.

I pushed the sleeves of my cardigan up to my elbows for some relief, and as I moved my arms, I noticed something. Even though I was wearing a stifling hot cardigan to cover up my arm fat, I could still see my “bat wings” jiggle inside the fabric. Growing up as a big girl, I’ve tried to cover my body with everything from baggy clothes to tight shapewear, and then there’s the plus-size cardigan trick.

I realized that even if I bought a short-sleeved shrug of some sort, my arm fat disguises weren’t fooling anyone. They might be covered in fabric, but every time I moved, my arms were waving “hellooooo!” I was trying to hide something that is impossible to conceal. And, my cardigan-come-comfort-blanket was making me hot and uncomfortable.

I would like to say that in that very moment I stripped off my cardigan and liberated myself from the chains of cardigans and shrugs, but it wasn’t that easy. Even though I considered going sleeveless and letting my arms flap in the wind, I still had stretch marks to consider. I had been hiding those since the 7th grade! My tangled web of body image issues needed to be unraveled slowly. Was the world ready for my arm jelly? Even worse, was I prepared to show my stretch marks in all their striped glory?

Over time, I’ve realized that no matter how many crochet “summer sweaters” and flowy tops I buy, the truth is: You can’t hide the fat. I’m a big girl with big arms and stretch marks. I can waste 39 minutes every morning trying to shield the world from the horror of my arms, or I can throw on the cute summer dress in one minute and save those 39 minutes for something more productive.

It took me about a year to get comfy with sleeveless clothes, but since then, I’ve felt pretty liberated. I no longer ruin beautifully made formal dresses with intrusive shawls and boxy taffeta shrugs. I wear tank tops to the gym. And, I even went sleeveless on a first date once — a huge accomplishment for me.

Of course, I still do my favorite fitness workouts that strengthen my arms. But, even if I never have Michelle Obama guns, I’ve liberated myself by refusing to hide my body.

Summer is coming. Will you be going sleeveless?

RELATED: How To Set The Right Kind Of Standards

On her blog, Plus Size Princess, CeCe Olisa has detailed everything from what it’s like to be the only big black girl in a yoga class (fine, thanks!), to her adventures in plus-size dating in the Big Apple. Now, the New York City transplant is lending her poignant, often-hilarious voice to R29.