The Zero-Effort Way I'm Getting My "Bikini Body"

Amanda Montell

I went on my first diet when I was 12 years old. I don’t remember exactly what inspired it—maybe a smuggled issue of Cosmo or something I saw on MTV. All I know is that one day I decided it would be a really grown-up idea to lose a little weight before summer. My family had booked a 10-day beach vacation in August, and I knew I’d be spending a lot of time in a swimsuit. I had recently learned that women were supposed to be this thing called “thin,” especially when bikinis were involved. I did a little googling and found out that to be thin, you had to eat less. So that’s what I did.

At some website’s recommendation, I decided to stop eating meat and to restrict my calories to 1200 a day. By summer, I had lost five pounds, which made me feel accomplished and adult, not to mention twice as confident in my metallic Roxy two-piece. Now I embodied this ideal that all women wanted: “the bikini body.”

Little did I know that inaugural diet would end up shaping my relationship with food and body image for a long time. I was only in sixth grade—another decade of trying to achieve the ideal “bikini body” lay ahead. Luckily, one day, things would change. To follow along, read on.

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