I sit on my couch snuggled up with my little YorkiePoo, Gizmo, wondering where to even begin when writing this blog post. I’ve been home for less than twenty-four hours, but couldn’t wait to share my vacation and accomplishments with y’all!
Let’s rewind to a couple months ago…
I was invited to Key West for Spring Break by one of my best friends, Amanda, at the start of the new year. Immediately, I wanted to say no. Not because I didn’t want to go or was scared of being away from home for a week, but because I didn’t want to be seen in a swimsuit. Or even summer clothes for that matter–shorts and tank tops. Even though I have become such a body positive person, I still have my insecurities when it comes to my weight, cellulite, and stretch marks that continuously multiply. I didn’t say yes to Amanda right away especially because a few of my others friends were invited, meaning more eyes to judge me. Deep down, I know everyone would be supportive and complimentary. But, everyone is a lot skinnier and more fit than me, naturally causing my insecurities to surface.
A few weeks passed and everything started to fall into place. The other girls invited already had plans for the break, so that meant it would only be Amanda’s family and I. I’m sure I would’ve eventually said yes if my other friends would have been able to make it. But, when I found out I was the only one that could go, it made it that much easier to commit to the trip with less anxiety surrounding the whole clothing and swimsuit situation. Now came the challenging part, finding clothes and swimsuits that were flattering, but still stylish.
In the couple months leading up to the vacation, I made several runs to Nordstroms primarily purchasing from their BP and TopShop sections. I have to admit, I was a bit frustrated when I was forced to buy almost all large or extra-large, but at least they fit properly, and I felt confident. For a girl that’s 5’4″ and nearly 170 lbs, Nordstroms offers a wide variety of clothing options for the warmer months. The swimsuit portion was a bit more laborious. Since I’ve always had a thin and athletic build up until these past few months, I have never had to go out of my way to find a swimsuit. After researching plus size swimsuit brands, I finally settled on the brand, Swimsuits For All. Their swimsuits are both fashionable and complimentary to curvier bodies, just what I wanted! I noticed that plus size model, Ashely Graham, was a spokesperson for the company so they must be cool suits. I ordered six different suits to try, some bikinis and others one piece, but all in size fourteen.
I knew this was too good to be true… none of the swimsuits fit. I couldn’t pull some of the bottoms up over my hips and a couple of the tops wouldn’t latch in the back. The devastation set in and tears began to rush down my face. After a few (maybe more than a few) tears, I had to remind myself that the number on the tag did not matter. Just because I didn’t fit into a size fourteen, didn’t mean I was fat or ugly. It just meant that I needed to go up a size, and that’s exactly what I did! I shipped all of the size fourteens back and ordered sixteens. Guess what? They fit my body perfectly–excentuating my curves and keeping my tummy tight in place. Having not put on a swimsuit since the summer of ninth grade, I was strong, confident, and certainly proud.
Now onto my fabulous trip…
Not to brag, but I have been on a good amount of vacations and I have to admit this one was probably one of my favorites. We stayed off of the coast of Key West on a private island, Sunset Key. I thought Amanda’s parents were joking when they said we had to take a ferry to our own island…to my surprise, they weren’t! Amanda and I shared our own spacious bedroom on the first floor of the cottage, where a lot of room service was ordered and memories were created.
After waking up at 3:30 a.m. along with two flights, multiple car rides, a golf cart ride, and a ferry to our island, we spent the first day relaxing. Our second day started out quite memorable. Y’all won’t believe what I did… I wore a bikini! I know some of you can relate and others are wondering what’s so challenging about wearing a swimsuit in public. Since I started gaining weight over a year ago, as anticipated, I’ve become more self-conscious. Although I still dress nice and stylish, I don’t expose too much of my body in fear of judgment. So, wearing a swimsuit hasn’t always been ideal. That morning, I “consulted” Amanda about my swimsuit options and she chose the bikini. I wasn’t expecting that, that’s for sure. I was certain she would choose the less revealing one-piece. She always gives great advice, so I listened. As the day went on, I kept pleasantly surprising myself. We both had mini photoshoots in our bikinis, not to show off our bodies, but rather to celebrate them. I even posted a candid photo of myself on @keelie9 on Instagram (now my most liked photo). Remember a couple blog posts ago where I didn’t think I would ever post a picture in a swimsuit? So proud of how far I have come.
Amanda and I continued to create wonderful memories as we went parasailing south of Key West and took a seaplane to Dry Tortugas Island. We even toured Ernest Hemmingway’s house… I think I was more interested in the cats than the actual history of the home haha. After a visit to the Southernmost Point and a trolley Ghost Tour to see Robert the Doll, I think I can say we did it all. My feet are still sore from all of the walking we did!
Y’all are probably wondering what diet I have most recently jumped on. Well, after about a year of straight of jumping from diet to diet, I have decided to not be on a diet at all. I made this decision a couple weeks ago after I found myself spending my Saturday meal prepping for over two hours, trying to get my macros just right. I’m not saying that counting your macros is a terrible method, for some people it works. And, who knows… maybe it would’ve worked for me. I’m saying that as a teen, I have realized that I need to devote my time to better things, rather than thinking about food the whole day. Of course, I still eat healthily, but I don’t worry if I accidentally have too many carbohydrates or proteins in one sitting. Instead, I eat when I’m hungry and stop eating when I’m full. I guess you could call it intuitive eating (I know Amanda hates this word, but I couldn’t find another word to summarize my eating patterns). I recently started a Type Two Diabetes injection called, Victoza. I’ve been loving it. I can be a little painful and make me a tad bit irritable afterward, but it’s totally worth it because I haven’t gained any weight since starting it. It does leave tiny scars on my stomach, but those go away fairly quickly. Thanks to Victoza and my new mindset regarding food, I was able to enjoy myself in Key West, trying key lime pie and maybe a bite or two of rum bread pudding 😉
My vacation in Key West was by far more than just a vacation. I learned that overcoming my fear surrounding wearing a swimsuit and “revealing” clothes is possible. I’ve always had the courage to take on literal adventures such as parasailing, but on this trip, I donated some of that courage to my mindset surrounding my body. I definitely became more confident with the help of the most supportive friend, Amanda. I learned, once again, that I am not alone as I had a lovely conversation with Amanda’s grandma educating her about PCOS soon learning that she too had Hypothyroidism and Type Two Diabetes. I want to encourage all of you to gather enough courage and bravery to overcome your fears and to knock down those boundaries. Times like Spring Break are when you’re supposed to take on new adventures–small or large. Be yourself and learn about yourself while challenging yourself to do new things, try new foods, and overcome your anxieties surrounding your apprehension towards a fear of yours.
I want to thank Amanda for inviting me on such a fabulous trip and being so supportive along the way. We had so many laughs and a now a crazy amount of memories (& photos) to share. Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Howard for all of the outstanding accommodations and for taking me under your wing for a week. I know, I can talk a lot 😉
And thank you to all of y’all that commented lovely compliments on my Instagram photos. It truly brightened my day!
Cheers to more adventures ahead….
Xxx Keelie Lyn
Quote of the Week: “Live life by the ABC’s. Adventure, Bravery, and Courage” –Walter Mitty
Links: Swimsuits For All