Before summer hits, women are inundated with images, messages, routines, tricks and trickery on how to get "ready for the beach" also known as - lose weight! tone up! hide body flaws! get a better ass!
Living in Italy for the past couple of weeks has left my body feeling a bit soft. I don't have a scale here and my pants all still fit, but I have a feeling that I've put on a few pounds.
People often say that talking about the weather is boring; I think talking about weight is equally banal. What person of substance sits around and discusses how she shouldn't have had that piece of cake, or how much she will have to walk in order to burn off a slice of pizza? Isn't it narcissistic to believe that someone besides your mother cares about what you eat?
And yet I do it.
I joke about how much gelato I eat, or how I polished off a large plate of pasta, or how I shouldn't take an Italian pastry with my macchiato. I make these jokes daily and then I realized how ridiculous I sound.
The relationship we have with our body is always a personal one. I believe in living an active lifestyle. I believe in getting your heart rate up. I like what exercise does to my brain. I like the way my mind operates after a workout. I like feeling strong.
But, to enjoy food is to also enjoy life.
To sit with someone and share a meal means to be fully aware of the person in front of you. To not just passively inhale food, but to actively find pleasure in the experience around you. To truly taste food, you need to stop badgering yourself for having it in the first place. Also, I don't believe in depriving yourself while on vacation. To experience the culture of a place, you must let your stomach be your guide.
I took the train with some friends to the beach this past weekend to San Vincenzo in Tuscany. I let the sun wrap around my bare skin. I doused myself in salt water, and floated on the ocean like a upside down seashell. I had two scoops of gelato, in my bikini, while laying on a towel.
And so I realized that all anyone needs to be "beach ready" is as follows:
1. A really hot day
5. Good people
I had all five and never felt better. Post-beach, I returned home to my roommate at 11 p.m. and since I hadn't had dinner, she made pasta for us.
And I ate every last piece. Quietly.