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The Day I Wore a Swimsuit without a Cover-up

elephantI came short of my goal again this year. It was in March, right before the weather turned warm, that I decided to join Weight Watchers online and lose 25 pounds by the summer. Realistic? Probably not. But I didn’t care, this time I was going to do it. College weight, here I COME!

Yeah, that didn’t happen.

To date, I’ve only lost 11. Small victory without a doubt, but not the numbers I wished to see. So it was with massive trepidation that I pulled out my navy blue swimsuit. To be honest, I love my swimsuit. It’s a halter tankini with these adorable ruched sides that have little tie strings on them. The color works great for me, the material’s sturdy, and I have to say it really enhances the ladies. Yes, I love that suit, but I have a real problem with the body it covers, or mainly that it doesn’t cover enough. My stupid thighs are still showing.

Oh, my thighs, the part of my body that every morsel of fat seems to migrate to and set up camp. They are always the last place I lose weight, the first place I gain it, and even when I starved myself to unhealthy proportions, they still touched in the middle. Yeah, no thigh gap here. They rub together enough to eventually wear the material thin in the inner part of my pants, and they are the ban of my existence.

So when my girlfriend called suggesting we head off to Wild Waters, mild panic set in. Everything else in the suit looked great, but those six inches of my upper thighs looked to me like a horror story. I searched in panic for a cute cover-up. I even rushed out and bought some little bootie shorts by Nike that only served to make me look worse (those will be going back). All I had was a pair of peach cotton shorts. But the thing is, I despise wearing wet cotton shorts. I mean, does anyone like the feeling of wet fabric clingy to them, dripping down their legs? However, total embarrassment and shame vs. personal discomfort? Obviously the cotton shorts won. In the bag they went.

lauren bradfieldWe claimed some loungers by the kiddie slides and the kids dove in with total abandon. As I laid back and watched them play in the water, I noticed the other mothers around me. Boy did I see a lot of cover-ups. Obviously most of these women are suffering the same body issues I was. I saw women wading through the water, long cotton dresses trailing behind them. I saw shirts long enough to reach the knees. I even watched a mom try to catch her son in the large pool while wearing wet jeans. Jeans! This was insanity, and here I am, sitting on the sidelines, stressing about my stupid cotton shorts getting wet, embarrassed by my thighs, and worst of all, missing my son playing in the pool. So I did the unthinkable. I took my cotton shorts off and went to join the kids.

Guess what? Nothing happened.

There were no looks of shock and cries of disgust. In fact, no one even noticed except my son, who told me I looked beautiful in my swimsuit. As the day wore on, I grew bolder. I went in the lazy river, I went on the huge water slides, I went in water tubes, I ordered food, all without my cover-up on. All in all, I went four hours in just a swimsuit with nothing covering me, a feat I haven’t done since I was tubbing down the Truckee in my bikini before kids. Seriously, writing that down is so amazing. Four whole hours. It was the most fun I have had doing something involving water in years. After the initial jitters I forgot to be self-conscious and just had a great time. It was like being a kid again.

Look, this post isn’t about how I’ve suddenly decided I will accept my body, flaws and all, and love every part of it. I wish I could say that, but realistically, it isn’t happening. I am going to make a change, however. I’m not going to stay on the sidelines for pool outings and splash parks anymore. I had legitimately forgotten how much I love being in the water. I let the hatred of fat on my thighs take that away from me for years. I’m reclaiming that small bit right now. No more silly cover-ups and wet cotton shorts or worse, avoidance altogether.

So here’s to a summer full of water adventures. Bring it on. My navy blue tankini and I will be ready.


About Lauren Bradfield

Lauren Bradfield
Lauren Bradfield is a Nevada transplant from the Great California Migration of the 1990′s, where her family moved to Incline Village. She attended UNR and graduated with a BA in English Writing. Shortly after, she and her now husband moved across the world to begin an adventure with the US Government where they lived in multiple countries and did cool things that she can’t openly discuss. All that came to a head during the Arab Spring Uprising in 2011 when they were evacuated out of Tripoli, Libya under gunfire. Realizing this probably wasn’t an ideal environment to raise a family, they left the government and moved back to Reno in 2012 to work in the family business and hopefully rule the world (she kids, but seriously…). Apparently, leaving Reno and moving back once you have kids is a common trend since a majority of their college friends have done so, proving that Reno truly is the best place to raise a family. Now Lauren is mom to two crazy boys and a labrador retriever who has decided that he will remain a puppy indefinitely. Lauren loves to travel, write, read, pretend she’s amazing at pilates, eat high-gluten foods, and basically anything that gets her more involved in Northern Nevada.


  1. Great read Lauren. I didn’t realize how much someone’s thoughts and worries about their self-image could really hamper their involvement in raising their children. Or at least add to great memories.

    I’m a dude and I notice or heard more and more men concerned about taking their shirts off in public because their six pack is looking more like a pony keg. I was at a water park last year with my brother and his family and had reservations about doing so. Just silly but true.

    And you’re 100% correct, once you let go and do it, you get over the fear pretty fast. Sometimes it may be in baby steps like at the beach with your kids. The big challenge would be if there was a company beach or pool party how many people with a little weight issues would be not wear cover ups or take their shirts off?

  2. Lauren Bradfield
    Lauren Bradfield

    Thanks Roy! I appreciate the comment.

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