Bikini Ready in Costa Rica
When I was a kid and wearing my bathing suit, whenever it rode up a little and the cloth was not covering my bum completely, my mom would holler, “Peaches!”
“Peaches!” at the beach looking for seashells.
“Peaches!” to my three-year-old sister in her French bikini.
In Costa Rica, every bathing suit is peaches. All peaches, all the time.
Old ladies, people working out on the beach, mothers, everyone. I believe the proper term is “cheeky”, but I’ll always call it peaches. I credit J-Lo and Kim K. And I thank them, because quite frankly, I didn’t always love having these peaches. But body positivity has come a long way.
I was recently bemoaning how 42 is the age that I just didn’t feel good about my body anymore. I later realized that 42 was the first year I didn’t go to boot camp four mornings a week (thanks Caroline). So for me, it’s about working out, playing sports, staying active. I know I have imperfections, I often list them when I’m looking in the mirror. (For example, lately the loose skin on my tummy looks like a winking otter),
But for me, it doesn’t diminish the whole. I think I look great (#thanksmom). I have reverse body dysmorphia. In my mind I look better than I actually do. I’ve consciously decided not to mess with it, ride this train of lies as long as I can. Until I see a picture.
When I took my surfing lesson (post soon) there is a guy on the beach that takes pictures. He took a picture of me from the back, with my hands up, victorious, when I caught my first wave. It should have been a great picture. But my peaches, well, I didn’t like what was on display.
I had to do something. Lots of people talk about how they move to Costa Rica and the pounds melt off- they’re walking more, eating healthy, etc. This has not happened for me. Ticos are definitely more fit than Americans; they don’t eat out as much, don’t eat processed food, and often walk or ride their bikes for transportation. Typical lunch is beans and rice, grilled chicken, and salad. It’s called casado. We eat this a lot, and don’t eat fast food (there isn’t any), but we do go out to the amazing restaurants they have here a couple times a week.
The weather is great so we’re outside a lot, but it’s hot for exercising. I’d been running, but to avoid heatstroke, I had to go before the sun came up. I don’t love getting up in the fives. I did it, however, to train for the Tamarindo Marathon, but only the 10K. Still, the saggy bum.
Many people also said, when I told them I was coming here, that the yoga studios here are the best anywhere. I believe that to be true. The yogis are from around the world and seriously trained. I think I would like it, except I hate down dog. Down dog is done so often that it really puts a damper on my yoga experience. If I did like yoga, I’m sure it would help my bum and I’m sure I would love Ser Om Shanti yoga, where I went for a lovely yoga time with too much down dogs. I also did Pilates there which I do enjoy, except In my twenties I broke my tailbone rollerskating, so the two days after I do Pilates my buttbone is so sore that I can’t sit down. Bruised peaches. There are tons of other amazing yoga studios here that I haven’t been to.
There are personal trainers that work with you on the beach, and crossfit, and gyms, and pretty much anything you want to do. Surfing is also great exercise.
I’ve found the place for me though, called Mermaids and Sailors. I ride my rusty, crusty bicycle a couple time a week to a barre class that kicks my bum, in the best way. They also have yoga, which I haven’t been to. My favorite parts are the cauuute boutique with clothes and jewelry and the icy cold washcloths they keep in the fridge for after class to wipe your face. First class baby. And also they have a water cooler and reusable cups.
So I’m thinking…a couple more months of this barre class and I may just get into one of those Costa Rican bikinis. Hell, maybe I’ll even wear one now (*repeats to self: “a bikini body is a body with a bikini on it”). I’ll believe the voice in my head that tells me I’m strong and fit, instead of the voices screaming from magazines. I’ll turn up the Nikki Minaj in my headphones. I’ll dive into the waves and run on the beach with my kids, and not worry about what my bum looks like when I’m doing it. Oh, but I’ll still wear my old suit when my mom comes to visit.